By Melissa Chapman
About the Writer:
Melissa Chapman and her brood of three live in the urban, concrete jungle of NYC – that’s two kids and her dog. Oh and she’s got a husband too.
There's been a hailstorm of controversy brewing over a recent French Vogue photo shoot involving a 10-year-old girl essentially equating it to the early sexualization of our little girls. To be honest -- the images of this little girl, with her lips parted ever so slightly, and a come hither look in her 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 this 10 year-old girl around in her high heel pumps and couture that belongs on the body of a fully developed woman 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 10 years old, we can still wield a fair amount of control and influence over our daughters. They still want to hear our opinion. They still want our approval. Five years from now -- they 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, while I don't endorse these magazine spreads with young girls, acting far older than they appear, 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.
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