Too, Too, Too Soon: When Playing Dress-Up Pushes The Limits

August 9, 2011


Society tries to shield children from violence. We wouldn’t show “Inglourious Basterds” to tweens. But with sex, lines blur and critics spar. The indecent can pass for alluring, and French Vogue proved this sad fact. In a recent issue, 10-year-old model Thylane Blondeau wears 5-inch heels, slinky dresses and a sultry pout so sensual it rivals Angelina’s. She looks like pure sex, yet she still looks 10.

Some critics defend the photos, blaming the audience for seeing “S-E-X” in shots of a red-lipped child lying on a tiger pelt with her Louboutins and rear in the air. They claim the photos are merely suggestive.

But would the fashion world tolerate a spread that features child soldiers? Young boys holding machetes and Louis Vuitton holsters parading through the Louvre? Or children armed with AK-47s in former French colonies now struggling with their own revolutions?

Child brides are no less tragic than child soldiers, and glamorizing either is wrong. The fashion world has long hidden sexual fetish under the guise of art, but sexualizing prepubescent girls is always horrific — whether done in Vogue or a Calcutta brothel.

Photo by Vogue Paris

Katherine Boyle reports on arts, museums and culture for the Style section.
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