Sexualized Young Girls? Don’t Act Surprised

August 16, 2011

I stumbled across an article not long ago about padded push-up bikinis marketed to 8-year-old girls. In light of the recent controversy regarding risqué photos of a 10-year-old model in French Vogue, I can’t help but wonder why we act so shocked to see this happening. Can we really say we didn’t see this coming?

Young model Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau newly came into the spotlight after posing for French Vogue, sprawled out on leopard print pillows, wearing a gold dress with a disturbingly low neckline, sky-high heels and a face covered in make-up while donning a sultry look far beyond her years.

You’re probably thinking, this is ridiculous, right? Well maybe it will make a little more sense after you hear this: A few years ago, Abercrombie & Fitch presented thongs for 10-year-olds with the words “wink, wink” stitched on the front. More recently, Abercrombie is responsible for the new “push-up triangle,” a padded push-up bikini top for young girls. According to ABC News, Tweens spend roughly $24 million on beauty products each year. (Abercrombie has since dropped the “push up” description from the product.)

We live in a society where girls as young as 4 are being targeted to be sexualized creatures and we glamorize things such as teen pregnancy by creating not one, but several TV shows about it. We claim to be trying to promote a more positive body image to girls today by teaching them to value themselves based on intellect and achievements rather than looks, but if you ask me, we’re failing, big time. How is a girl supposed to love her body the way it is when our society is sending these mixed messages? Love your body the way it is, but only while wearing tons of make-up, push-ups & scandalous outfits?

There is no question in my mind I would not let my daughter wear make-up or push-ups or revealing outfits as a young girl. Would you? These marketing techniques aimed at young girls are obviously working to a certain extent; otherwise we wouldn’t be having 10-year-olds showing up on magazine covers and being called “sexy.” But if a 10-year-old can wear a thong and a 7-year-old a push-up bra, what’s next? Where will it end?

What do you think of the messages our society sends to young girls? Would you let your young daughter own these products? What do you think needs to be done to portray a more positive body image to young girls in our society today?