Model’s age sparks debate

August 4th, 2011
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Ten-year-old Thylane Loubry Blondeau in Paris Vogue.

So I open the Yahoo browser today and see this story on this 10-year-old model Thylane Loubry Blondeau who’s the source of an uproar because of the provocative, adultlike photos of her in Paris Vogue.

The move has been hailed as being clever and creative, but ho-hum, it’s been done before. Here’s the Brooke Shields and Jon-Benet Ramsey story all over again. I tend to go through life being pretty cynical and non-reactive because I feel like I’ve seen everything before.

I was close to Brooke Shields age when, as a 12-year-old, she played a prostitute in “Pretty Baby.” It was no biggie to me then because when you’re that age, you want to be older and think of yourself as being more worldly than adults give you credit for. What you don’t think of are the repercussions of your actions, which is why adults try to protect you from yourself.

These days I just wonder what parents are thinking when they allow their children to be used in this manner. Yes, there are child models, but they are, for the most part, presented in age-appropriate style. To dress them as adults can be playful when they’re dressed in oversize or conservative adult clothes, but the Thylane photos cross the line in presenting her as a sexy young woman. To me, it feeds on every parasitic, pedophile dream.

Given the recent local story on a teaching assistant sexting a 12-year-old girl, we don’t need any more of what amounts to proto-pornography. It’s not like images make pedophiles act. I believe it’s in their nature to be attracted to children. But if editors, stylists and photographers produce images that sexualize children, it looks like we’re condoning the behavior.

Children grow up fast anyway, why push it? And there are plenty of equally beautiful women 18 and older.

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