How young is too young for a child to be striking a provocative pose?
That seems to be the big question as the suggestive images of Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau, a 10-year-old model who is pegged as the next big thing in the fashion scene, are reigniting the debate over the sexualization of young girls.
The controversial photo spread, which appears in a recent issue of Vogue Paris, features Blondeau firing off seductive looks at the camera in a number of sexually charged poses one of which she models a skintight dress, laying on her stomach atop a tiger skin rug, with stiletto-clad feet kicked up behind her.
While the fashion industry’s interest in a younger generation of consumers and models is nothing new, many believe Blondeau’s grown-up beauty is giving other young girls unhealthy ideas about how they should look.
“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.”
According to the APA, sexualizaton by the media directly affects how girls view femininity and sexuality, promoting “appearance and physical attractiveness” as key values. It’s also linked to low self-esteem, eating disorders and depression.
“The research clearly shows that the fashion industry affects girls and women’s images of themselves and their self-esteem if they do not meet the industry ‘image’ that is currently in vogue,” Paul Miller, an associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University, told ABC.
“Even the very young are quite conscious of media images of what is ‘pretty’ and desirable.”
For more information watch the following video as ABC News covers the controversial 10-year-old vogue model story: