No, I’m not talking about Louisa May Alcott’s literary classic of the same title, but instead referring to Daphne’s recent post on the story of 10- year-old model Thylane Blondeau, whose French Vogue cover caused uproar for its provocative themes and sexualisation.

Looking at the cover I see a young, lithe girl, plastered in make-up, with a gold dress clearly made for the curves of a woman, a vacant look coming from her eyes.

Her nails painted and bouffant quaffed to high heaven, it appears every effort has been made to create the allusion that the pubescent girl before us is a fully grown woman.

And that is where my personal issue lies.

What was the exact purpose of using this girl? Going only from what I see and the research I have done, I can deduce that this particular issue of Vogue had no running thread of a child like or youthful theme. But then why would it, when its target audience does not include anyone of the 10 year age mark?

So my educated guess or assumption would be that they would use a model, of at least 18 years old in order to appeal to their market and more importantly to model designers’ clothes on. I appreciate Vogue is a high fashion magazine, but there appears to be a huge discrepancy when you employ a child to wear the products that you want women of at least twice her age to take notice of appreciate and enjoy.

What dialogue between their product, brand name and readers is Vogue trying to create here? Am I the only one that is confused?

Thylane Blondeau on the cover of French Vogue

If it was attention they were searching for they definitely got it, but of course for all the wrong reasons. Why a highly established publication such as Vogue would need to court media attention is beyond me, but as I have been told many a time, it doesn’t matter what they say, as long as you are being spoken about that is all that should concern you.

I suppose there is the argument that little girls love to dress up and experiment with mummy’s make up which I agree is all good fun. If we want to examine it through the application of behavioral psychology, this is evidence of young girls, through the process of observation, imitation and reinforcement, copying their mother’s behavior and eventually creating a stronger bond with their same sex parent which assists in forming what many psychologists refer to as gender identity. Though in this situation the child knows that putting on mummy’s heels and make-up is temporary and it is still very much a child activity, much like when children put on fancy dress.

In the case of Thylane, my main gripe is that this is not a case of ‘let’s play dress up’ it’s a case of lets teach this girl and other little girls watching around the world that the progression from little girl to woman is a speedy one and that they should fall into line accordingly. It gives young girls, girls who are already insecure, who lack confidence and are constantly taught to trade in on their looks, the impression that these images displayed by Vogue are acceptable and more importantly what they should aspire to.





One Response

  1. nicola

    very nice post Wendy… totally agree with you, its not like theres not enough 18+ year old models who could do this shoot… and i dont know any ten year olds who read Vogue.. hardly targeting their readership here!


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