By Christina Kelly, TODAY Moms contributor
Sharif Hamza / for vogue paris
Too young for couture?
Some girls who look to be about 7 wear heavy makeup, high heels, couture and diamonds in the current issue of French Vogue. The shoot is like a professionally orchestrated game of playing dress-up with mommy’s clothes -- if mommy happens to be French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld, a super-confident sexy older woman who swans around in bondage shoes, and mommy’s best friend is designer-turned-movie director Tom Ford, who guest-edited the issue.
Is this a new low for the sexualization of our young girls? I wonder if the parents of these girls knew what they were getting into, although if you sign your child up to be a model, you can’t be terribly concerned about her self-image. I don’t actually find these pics as disturbing as the video of little dancers performing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” that made the rounds several months ago. The girls in the Vogue shoot are not as scantily clad, but they don’t appear happy. They look a bit like children robbed of their innocence too soon.
Which is sort of what is happening in the culture at large. What bothers me more than this one wacky sitting in Vogue is the way regular, American, tween girls want to dress themselves: like 21-year-old "American Idol" contestants. Companies such as Justice market clothes to second graders that are, in my opinion, completely inappropriate for their age. Seemingly overnight, my almost-8-year-old started refusing to wear the cute little girl clothes that she had always loved. She desperately wants to dress like an extra from a Cyndi Lauper video. And she isn’t the only one.
My husband and I have been pretty strict about not allowing her to dress inappropriately. But you draw the lines, and eventually, the lines get crossed. Example: I had never allowed her to wear a bikini, until one day this summer she showed up at the pool after a sleepover wearing a hoochie-mama pink leopard bikini that her friend’s mom had given her. Once she got a taste of that, she never wanted to wear any of the modest, girlie suits I had bought from Garnet Hill again.
What about you? Where do you draw the line? And have you crossed it?
Christina Kelly is a freelance writer and the former editor of ELLEgirl and ym. She blogs at christinamkelly.blogspot.com.