Although Blondeau, the daughter of soccer player Patrick Blondeau and reporter-turned-fashion designer Véronika Loubry, appeared in the Vogue Paris shoot with other young models, her looks were more mature and for many readers, more discomforting.
Wearing makeup, high heels and haute couture, Blondeau looks very different from a typical 10-year-old. Even in childish smocks and cotton tees, her expressions are oddly adult — a product, perhaps, of living half her young life in the fashion world.
Little Blondeau has been at this for a while, frequently photographed for editorials (Fashionista has several here), the cover of Vogue Enfants and even walking in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2006 runway show as a child extra.
In a photo not affiliated with Vogue, Blondeau poses topless on a bed with a young male playmate propositioning a pillow fight. And in another, she wears hip-slung jeans and no top with beaded necklaces covering her would-be breasts.
Photos of Blondeau, some in pink tutus and others in bed, illustrate the disparity. “[The photos] clearly create an image of the girl as an adult woman, both in the clothing, the postures and emotional content of the images,” said Miller. “The message is that very young girls can be dressed and viewed as young adult women.”
Reactions to the recent, jarringly-adult editorial have ranged from perplexed to utterly appalled, with most questioning the appropriateness of a child consistently photographed like an adult and sexualized in the process.
“We don’t want kids to grow up too fast,” said Shari Miles-Cohen, senior director of women’s programs for the American Psychological Association. “We want them to be able to develop physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially at appropriate rates for their age.”
At the same time many in fashion industry have defended the work as art. Others say it crosses a line.
Blondeau is not the first mini model to stir up the sexualization debate. In 2007, a 13-year-old Dakota Fanning posed in a controversial campaign for Marc Jacobs. Now 13-year-old Elle Fanning has followed in her sister’s footsteps as the face of Jacobs’ Fall 2011 campaign.
Brooke Shields created plenty of controversy in 1981 when the then-15-year-old posed provocatively in Calvin Klein jeans and declared that nothing came between her and her Calvins.
Janna Sauers, editor at Jezebel.com notes the images are disturbing, but that they’re “purposefully, knowingly disturbing” and aimed to provoke a reader to question the fashion industry’s treatment of young girls.
“Models only three or four years (and one middle-school growth spurt) older than Thylane grace international runways, glossy magazine covers, and ad campaigns for luxury brands regularly,” she writes.
“Only they are not styled as children, which Thylane and the other child models so obviously were in this spread, with their too-big shoes and their white, little-kid cotton undershirts peeking out from too-big designer outfits,” she added.
She says that she believes that the spread was published in the knowledge that outrage would follow, which it seems to have done.
So, Dear TheBlogIsMIne’s Readers, what do you think, though? Should a ten year old be modelling adult fashion in this way, even if it IS intended to make us question the industry, or is it just too young? [via Huffpost, ABC News and Jezebel]