Hurting our daughters

It sickens me to think that these girls are the same age as my daughter. My reaction in seeing these photos was nothing short of visceral. Disgust. Sadness. Anger.

These are some of the images from the December issue of Vogue Paris, featuring models as young as 6 years old.

“Cadeaux”. Translated it means gifts. I am sure they title refers to the clothes these little girls are wearing. After all, Vogue Paris is a fashion magazine, and what 6 year old girl would be complete without their Bulgari bling.

Others have written about this much more eloquently than I have, including spelling out the reasons why these types of images are dangerous to our daughters. Therapist Ashley Solomon, who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness, said this on her blog.

Portraying girls in adult apparel and situations and portraying adult women as young girls (à la Britney Spears sucking on a lollipop in a Catholic school girl uniform) reinforces the sexualization of youth, something that harms both girls and society.

In fact, the American Psychological Association created a Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls and found that these media, products, and societal practices are significantly harming the healthy development of young girls. Dr Eileen Zurbriggen, Chair of the APA Task Force, stated unequivocally, “We have ample evidence to conclude that sexualization has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development.”

Jennifer Grant also makes a point about this particular issue and the guest editor, Tom Ford that I also think is relevant.

Fashion designer Tom Ford was the guest editor and designed the controversial issue, including “Cadeaux.” Is it relevant that Ford is a close friend to photographer Terry Richardson (whose work is featured elsewhere in the December/January issue), and that Richardson has been accused of preying on child models and has written and gleefully performed a song called “Child Molester’s Coming For You”?

I think so.

And just to put this in context so we don’t miss the blatantly obvious point that this issue and magazine are all about the sex and not fashion, let’s look at the other photo essays in this magazine – one entitled “Pussy West”, and the other entitled “”Forever Love” featuring two elderly people who (according to this sensitive description by Hilary Alexander of The Times) are:

…so wrinkled they clearly have never had an intimate relationship with Botox, demonstrate that you may be geriatric but you can still get it on….

Well, good on them for still being able to “get it on”, but when you position provocative photos of little girls between other photo essays so obviously sexual, well then this becomes more than just pictures of little girls playing dress-up.

Dads, we need to be aware of these types of images, and how they harm not only our daughters, but society as well. This has to become an issue that we Dads not only talk about, but shout loudly about. Our young daughters are depending on us.

So please, spread the word. If you are a Dad who blogs and has a daughter, spend a few minutes and write a post about this yourself and send a message across the Dad blogs that this type of portrayl of our daughters is just not cool.

7 responses to “Hurting our daughters

  1. Ashley Solomon

    Thanks so much for spreading awareness of this. It's wonderful to find your site and learn of what a dad is doing to protect girls!

    • Ashley, thank you for writing about it and bringing it to my attention. I was happy to read on your blog that there was at least one person (Carine Roitfeld, editor-in-chief) who lost their job over this.

  2. Hi Clint, as you know, at Shaping Youth (where we cover media & marketing's impact on kids) I went a bit ballistic on this one with a lengthy list of resources and evidentiary instances pointing to the APA side of harm…Here's the link, Jan 6, titled "Vogue Cadeaux: Children ARE Gifts. Not To Be Wrapped & Sold:

  3. As disgusted as I am with this photos, it is heartening to see sites like yours exposing these marketing companies for the scum that they are. What kind of parent would allow their child to be exploited in this manner?

    This crap needs to stop!


  4. I am constantly impressed and astounded at the way you have developed Clint. I happen to agree, as I also have an 8-year-old daughter, who through peer presser is already wanting to wear makeup. You can't tell me that these little girl don't grow up faster the more contact they have with the adult world ( and we have seen how that works out). Innocents and childhood are something to be cherished, not discarded.

  5. You're right Eddie, this is 'art'! In fact it is what is known as 'prostitution of the arts'. It has been around for a while now. Bet my life many people would like it to stop now! A lot more people than those who promote it! So, from now on we will speak up! And call things what they are and not what we're told they are.