You have to wonder what Vogue was thinking. In its recent photo shoot for Enfants magazine, 10-year-old Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau is tarted up in heels and jewellry. Pouting suggestively, the daughter of a famous French actress and soccer star, lay on a leopard-print bed wearing a distinctly come-hither look.
Although mom, Veronika Loubry, defends the shoot ("My daughter isn't even naked, no need to blow this out of proportion"), it's clear that our portrayal of girls is changing, and not for the better. Little girl beauty pageants are rampant in the southern States. On this side of the border, we don't do our tweens any favours either, sexualizing them with padded bras and the like, often before the onset of puberty.
Even though Thylane may well remain blissfully unaware of the sexual signals she's sending out, viewers of the magazine certainly won't. As Heather Mallick recently wrote in the Star, such photo shoots make it "socially acceptable for the gaze to take in girls, too, to assess them for the sexuality slapped on them by grown-ups".
While I wouldn't go as far as to suggest that the Enfants photo shoot is a "harbinger of bad things" for Thylane, it most definitely isn't something of which we as parents and consumers ought to be proud.
Women have long been valued -- and, arguably, victimized -- by how they look. That being the case, why would we want to speed up this process for our daughters?
Shouldn't we do all in our power to defer the (inevitable) sexualization of our children for as long as possible? We do this by boycotting such magazines and by telling the editors what we like, and don't like, seeing on their pages.
Little girls are undeniably beautiful. But as Vogue seems to have overlooked, that beauty stems in the main from their innocence.
Another yummy mummy weighs in here: I Don't Want To Look 13