weigh in . sexualizing children

September 16, 2011 separator Fashion

This Gap ad is cute. I daresay it’s even adorable. Actually, I kind of wish that panther sweater came in grownup sizes. But I digress. Point being, this is a tasteful ad for children’s clothing. The kids are goofing off, and they are quite adequately clothed. 

Moving on though. What about all these 14 and 15 year old runway and high fashion models? The girls in this picture (below) are so young, yet they’re pictured here living the party life in Tel Aviv for a magazine feature. This goes back to that whole example-setting thing. This isn’t what kids should be seeing other kids do. In the scope of the rest of this piece, however, it’s small potatoes. 

What happens when children, kids who are still years out from awkwardly darting through the halls of a middle school, begin taking on the high-fashion role? This ten-year-old is all over the media right now for her incredibly revealing and adult feature in French Vogue. I’ll let you Google the details if you’re interested. This situation alone isn’t the point I’m trying to make. What I’m wondering here is when is enough enough? When is a child no longer a child, and when does that quit being socially acceptable? Why are we sexualizing children in fashion magazines and differentiating that from the cheap, dirty pictures that people get in trouble for?

What do you think of all this? How do you feel about using children in these revealing, overly-made-up capacities in the name of “high fashion?”


  1. As a child, wearing half a shirt and denim underwear are the last things that should be on their minds. It disturbs me that so much morality has been destroyed in the name of fashion, and not just in the children and their parents, but the adults who serve as role models to these children as well. When they look in fashion magazines, they see older girls wearing strips of clothing caressing a shirtless guy with no emotion on his face; They think, ‘Wow, I wanna be like that!!’, and soon enough, they are dressed the part. If you really want to wear that sort of clothing, wear it when you’re older and you’re working at a strip club.

  2. I agree completely! I can’t imagine what’s going through the minds of these people who come up with these concepts. I feel like a pervert just looking at these images!

    We’re so careful in this country to avoid child pornography but I think these types of images are just one step away.

  3. XandY – Nice to hear a differing opinion. I definitely get where you’re coming from, and it’s a good point. I do think, though, that we have made many advances as a society in the past 200 years – advances that have enabled us to give kids today the childhood that earlier generations couldn’t afford to lavish upon them. I think that our standards are, or at least should be, different today.

    I’d love to know what everybody else thinks of the point XandY has made!!!

    – Lindsay

  4. 100% here too, they should not “use” chldren and make them appear 15 years older and desiderable, just to sell.

  5. I’m totally with you on this one, what happened to children looking and acting like children?!
    I think there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to the portrayal of children in fashion ads and editorials,
    and many of these photographers and fashion editors just don’t get how inappropriate these images are. Not just for adults to look at but the effect it may have on children themselves.
    This is a great post by the way, I found you on the LALM thread and am now following 🙂 xoxo

  6. I am surprised they aren’t getting in trouble with child pornography laws! I think that It’s just gross.

  7. I completely agree with you. That’s just wrong and sad that society is the way it is. I can’t believe the parents would allow their child to portray themselves like that. I guess money talks and that’s what some people care about.

  8. I agree with you. This is not how children clothing advertisment should look like, children should stay children as long as possible!
    Those ads are horrible. 🙁

Comments are closed.