Last week I posted photos of the Justin Bieber/Kim Kardashian photoshoot for Elle. I compared it to my earlier post on the sexualization of Jaden Smith. In both I argued that we accept the sexualization of boys at younger ages than girls, seeing it as adorable and proof that they are sufficiently heterosexual and masculine rather than that they are in danger of sexual exploitation.
Yesterday Rob W. sent in a photo that I think illustrates this point well:
Who is the adult woman wearing this shirt? That’s Karissa Shannon, who is dating Hugh Hefner.
Imagine, if you can, if this were an adult man associated in some way with a famous producer of pornography widely known for dating groups of much younger women, and that adult man’s shirt had this same message but about two teen/pre-teen girls (or, for that matter, imagine a famous gay man wearing this exact shirt). And then imagine the concern and horror that would ensue, the apologies through the man’s agent, and so on.
A short google search did turn up a post (re-posted in several other places) calling the shirt inappropriate, but given that Shannon is referred to as “sloppy seconds” in it, I’m not sure how to take it (since “sloppy seconds” reaffirms a sexual double-standard itself). A lot of other sites, on the other hand, found it adorable and/or funny, and asked readers to weigh in on Team Justin vs. Team Jaden.