Eight readers — Christine B., Hermes, Yvette, Hope H., Tyler D., Pris S., John G., and Dmitrity T.M. — alerted us to a photo spread in the December issue of French Vogue. The series of photographs is another piece of evidence of the adultification of young girls, an adultification that looks suspiciously like child porn, given the sexualization of adult women. New York Magazine reports that the girls are 6 years old. Don’t miss the lipstick, high heels, and disinterested pouts.
The thing is: the adultification/sexualization of young girls is paralleled by a infantilization of adult women. This adds up to a conflation of women and children which serves to uphold prejudice against adult women and the exploitation of girls.
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For more on the adultification/sexualization of young girls, see our posts on sexually suggestive teen brands, adultifying children of color, “trucker girl” baby booties, “future trophy wife” kids’ tee, House of Dereón’s girls’ collection, “is modesty making a comeback?“, more sexualized clothes and toys, sexist kids’ tees, a trifecta of sexualizing girls, a zebra-striped string bikini for infants, a nipple tassle t-shirt, even more icky kids’ t-shirts, “are you tighter than a 5th grader?” t-shirt, the totally gross “I’m tight like spandex” girls’ t-shirt, a Halloween costume post, and girls in the World of Dance tour.
And, yes, it happens to boys too. For examples of the sexualization of young boys, see our posts on Lil’ Wayne’s virginity loss, the depiction of a 13-year-old boy having a relationship with his teacher, the sexy marketing of both Jaden Smith and Justin Bieber, with a follow up here.Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and Gender, a textbook. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.