Une Fille Perdue: Lost Girls of Sexualization

The child may be beautiful. The photographs are certainly done with a keen eye for art and fashion.

She is so young, so baby faced and clearly pre-pubescent, that it feels awkward to consider the idea that these photos carry a sexual innuendo because we know we are looking at a very young girl.                                                  

               

Yet they do. Implied nudityand fetishized props and sultry, “Come hither” stares, arched backs, slightly parted lips or fingers playfully, suggestively around the mouth…..

We’re talking about a 10 year old girl. A child, ten years of age. Not old enough to babysit, but apparently old enough to be posed in photos so ripe with sexual innuedo it drips off of the page with a stank.

Sexual innuendo has no place near a 10 year girl, regardless of if she is wearing high fashion or the photographer is famous or that she is French and was posing for a French fashion magazine.  I’m not sure this can be considered “art”, as I think art loses it’s integrity at the expense of an exploited child.

None of this would come naturally to the little girl, she is being coached by the photographer to pose this way. She is being taught how to project adult sexuality. She is being coached to become an object of sexual fantasy. She is being sexualized. She has been shot this way many times, which tells me neither her parents nor her agent have an issue with the photographs they are signing off on.

She is losing her childhood, and the cultural acceptance of this actually consumes so many little girls and parts of their girlhood it has become a national health crisis. The issue isn’t just about Thylane, the girl you see above, or even her mother who was only upset over the expense of a necklace the child wore and begrudgingly shut down the child’s facebook and tumblr pages. The issue here is ALL girls. There seems to be a rush for our daughters to grow up, to become little women. Sexy little women. Their natural born right to be a child is being interrupted by apathetic adults.

There seems to be something about certain parents, who live vicariously through the youth and vibrant beauty of these little, amazing girl creatures. They find it acceptable to sexualize their little girls, make dozens of excuses for it, but then lash out at the criticism by those who know how very dangerous this is.  Dangerous both for the child’s self-worth directly receiving these age-inappropriate messages, and to girls everywhere who have had one more peg of taboo slide out; a taboo meant to protect them from what should be a universal truth that little girls are not sex objects nor sex partners.

We are losing our girls to sexualization as parents permit toys that look like hookers, magazines that eat up starving young models, celebrities to act as role models, and corporations and media who profit off of the whole mess by making it extremely difficult for parents to afford or find better choices. And those are just the girls lucky enough to be born in America. In other parts of the world they are turned into brides and prostitutes as young as the age of five.

Young Thylane and her mother are just a symptom of the problem. The problem, you see, is that there continues to be a market for sexualized little girls.

I fear there always will be. Until parents start to do better, and demand better for our daughters, our little girls will continue to get lost. I just wonder, can we get them back?