Hot on the heels of the controversial 10 year-old French model Thylane Loubry Blondeau, the country is once again making waves surrounding the sexualization of young girls.
French company Jours Apres Lunes has recently come out with a lingerie line for young girls. They include silk, satin and lacy pieces for babies all the way up until teenagers. While some do take issue with the clothes themselves, the main uproar is over the marketing campaign and the way the young girls are being presented.
In overly stylized hair and make up, the young girls are photographed in a way that seems to be selling more than just lingerie. It is very hard to look at the pre-pubescent models stretched out against couches, lips pouting, and not think that they are being sexualized in order to sell undergarments.
Pigtail Pals, a company aimed at empowering young girls, had a lot to say about this most recent accusation of sexualization out of France. Their blog post about the Jours Apres Lunes line goes beyond the idea of sexualization and exploitation of these young girls, and discusses the potential impact that these marketing techniques have on the girls they’re aimed at. It also deconstructs at a lot of the arguments swirling around these kinds of marketing campaigns.
“Lingerie, from its beginning, has been used to seduce and titillate while the wearer is being gazed upon. In modern days, it is meant to be gift wrapping for bedroom play and sex. Alluring, erotic. And now it comes in Size 4. ”
They are not the only ones speaking out. In the wake of Thylane Loubry Blondeau and Jours Apres Lunes kiddie lingerie line, blogs, magazines, and news outlets alike have been speaking out about the ramifications of portraying young girls in a sexualized way.
One of the main concerns over ads like these, or the modeling photos of Thylane Loubry Blondeau, is that these sexualized images can have a detrimental impact on children, as well as increase sexual violence against young girls and women worldwide. Professor Gigi Durham of the University of Iowa discusses this claim in her book, The Lolita Effect: Why The Media Sexualize Young Girls and What You Can Do About It.
Professor Durham’s book came out in 2008, yet its message is still just as relevant today as it was three years ago, especially in light of these recent occurances. Nobody is suggesting that little girls can’t play dress up or even model. The issue is that grey line that is starting to get fuzzier when these little girls are given the clothes or direction to behave in a way that is nowhere near natural for their young selves.
Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals sums up the entire debate with an excellent reminder,
“Girls are allowed to want to feel pretty and should spend a small portion of their girlhood experimenting with hair and make-up and dress up and that kind of stuff. That is not what this is about.
It is all about allowing our children to be children, and not rushing them in sexuality and adulthood. It is about seeing the value in our girls enjoying and thriving in girlhood. If we do that, we’ll be raising a great bunch of young women.”