There’s been a hailstorm of controversy brewing over photo shoots involving underage girls essentially blaming them for the early sexualization of our little girls. To be honest — the images of these little girls, with their lips parted ever so slightly, and a come hither looks in their body language and facial expressions is a little off-putting to say the least. But honestly, I think the entire modeling industry’s practice should be called into question, and parading young girls around in high heel pumps and couture that belongs on the body of a fully developed women is just one of so many flaws inherent in the modeling industry’s practices. In my opinion, would it be any better if she were 15? Some might say yes — and I say no.
I don’t think I’m prudish by anyone’s standards; I’m in touch with my sexuality and of course I want my daughter to be able to have an open and honest dialogue with me about hers. But, what is the rush? Why would I even want her to fathom taking on such issues and ideas at an age when there is so much yet to be discovered and uncovered that has nothing to do with sex. Why would I want to even have those thoughts penetrating her consciousness at an age when her head should be filled with pursuits like ballet, math, cooking, friendships and well — so many more important, life affirming experiences.
When you start introducing high heels, makeup and tight fitting clothing and encouraging your daughter to don a belly shirt (or not railing against the idea of it) whether you care to admit it or not — you, as a parent are contributing to the early sexualization of your child. And that’s the key point here — as a parent — at 11 years old, I can still wield a fair amount of control and influence over my daughter. She still wants to hear my opinion. She still wants my approval. Five years from now — she might not. So now is your chance, parents — to keep your daughter a kid — to keep her from even adventuring into the realm of sexuality and having to see her body as anything more than its utilitarian uses — that it gets her from point A to point B. So truthfully, I don’t endorse these magazine spreads with young girls, acting far older than they appear and I certainly won’t be encouraging my daughter to follow in their footsteps. And ultimately her early sexualization, as far as I’m concerned will be staved off for as long as possible, by me, her mother.