The December 2010 issue of Vogue Paris features girls as young as five years old, it seems, posing in hypersexualized ways, clad in high heels, tight dresses, bright red lipstick and lounging on leopard print pillows.
Is this high-fashion? Or just highly wrong? It's clearly over-the-top and disturbing in more ways than one. These young girls are photographed in a spread clearly meant to mimic the allure and beauty of adult female models. How is it that these horrific photos made it past numerous editors, onto the pages of one of the most widely-read high-fashion magazines in the world?
This sort of exploitation of girls in the media is not only wrong - it's harmful. According to the American Psychological Association, the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is undoubtedly harmful to girls' self-image and healthy development. Published reports and well-documented studies show a negative impact on the development of girls' healthy sexuality, these sorts of over-sexualized images can also lead to eating disorders, depression and anxiety.
The good news is that we can combat the hypersexualization of girls' in popular culture. Thanks to positive images and portrayals of young girls in magazines like New Moon for girls, and reports that acknowledge how important "safe media" is to the development of healthy self-esteem in girls, we are on our way towards remedying the situation. Now, we have to speak up and tell Vogue Paris and Conde Nast, the publishers of the magazine, that images that exploit young girls by attempting to sexualize them for a mass audience, are harmful. They are not artistic, fashionable or acceptable.
Tell Vogue Paris and Conde Nast to issue an apology to all of its subscribers, and consumers of the magazine and to promise not to publish exploitative and harmful images of young girls ever again!