Oh, how far we have come.
Taught our young girls well, allowing endless opportunities, mere decades ago unthinkable.
We have fragmented traditions of female value being inextricably linked with the oven or ironing board. No longer are they taught as a female tradition that their duties are stringently domestic. We have helped our young girls up from the kitchen floor, removed their aprons and walked with them, hand in hand to the front door –
Turned around, whisked them to the bedroom and locked our girls in.
Our children, young females in particular, are perceived as the new age sexual agent. Taught value is dependent upon sexual prowess and validated by the adherence to conventions of beauty.
Naturally, a child’s imagination is an endless field, imitation a favoured game. It is not uncommon for a child to fantasise about the adult lifestyle. Exploring the fabric of a mothers dress, canvasing ones face with her favoured lipstick and falling from the great heights of her shoes. Yet – at some stage the imitation game always ended. The transition of the child into the sexual agent has altered this state of imitation, into a reality.
Children are bombarded with images of digitally retouched ideal bodied women, scantily clad and seemingly joyful about it. Such messages intertwine happiness and self-worth to sexuality. Beauty and fashion industries awareness of this has led to a mass depiction of sexual images, ensuring business efficiency by realigning what values females should strive for.
Here, one must question –
What would occur if every western woman woke and decided she loved herself just the way she was?
However cynical, it can be argued media in presenting images previously designated to adults, to instil a sense of dissatisfaction at a young age. Self-image issues developed within developmental years become fundamental to the individual’s identity, ensuring within adulthood a likeliness to engage with product.
The child as a sexual agent has had unprecedented marketing directing to them, often with the use of similar aged models. Differing to adult messages, children do not have the maturity to distinguish marketing tactics. Taking advantage of impressionability and childhood innocence for the dollar value leads to the questionability of ethics within media and questions accountability within said field.
Notable campaigns depicting the over sexualisation of children include Vogue magazines use of Thylane Blondeau at ten years of age, provocatively lying on leopard bed sheets in a revealing gold dress. Marc Jacobs’ use of fresh-faced Dakota Fanning for Oh Lola! scent has enraged many, with Fanning depicted holding the delicate pink flower shaped bottle between her thighs. Use of makeup, lighting and artificial alterations presents Fanning’s youth as a focal point of the advertisement. Public dissatisfaction led to the banning of the advertisement within certain states. Singer Sia’s use of Maddie Ziegler within Elastic Hart choreography has also sparked debate about age appropriateness.
Child over sexualisation is in arguably contributed to by the media. The effects include the continuation to the western woman syndrome of psychological and physical problems caused by low self-worth.
Other unintended effects include effects on the age and rate of young people’s sexual experiences. With such pressure placed on sexual prowess, sex might occur with those not mature enough to understand a sexual relationship and/or safe sex. This is a cultural issue, perpetuated and fed by the media.
Indeed, how far we have come –
But look how far left to go.