They said/We said: We weigh in on the whole 10-year-old-model in Vogue Paris thing
We’ve all spent time playing dress-up in our mothers’ best dresses and heels, but photos of 10-year-old model Thylane Loubry Blondeau dressed and made-up like a lady in Vogue Paris have got critics in an uproar.
Though the editorial was published months ago, it has only been getting negative attention on our side of the pond recently. Good Morning America aired a segment about the sexualization of young girls, using Loubry Blondeau as a prime example. Since then, the corresponding headlines have been dubbing the photos sexually inappropriate and shocking while blaming everyone, from the magazine to the fashion industry as a whole to Loubry Blondeau’s parents.
While famous models like Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen started their careers by the time they were only 14, they were always portrayed as adults. Even 13-year-old Elle Fanning’s Marc Jacobs campaign and 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld’s Miu Miu campaign portray them as older and less sexual. What doesn’t sit well with critics is that Loubry Blondeau looks overly suggestive and—above all—undoubtedly like a child.
Is this media backlash refreshingly appropriate, or are critics just looking for a way to brutalize artistic liberties that they don’t understand? Everyone seems to be holding different opinions, but as the French would say, “C’est la vie!”
WHAT THEY SAID…
The Star: “The way we regard children and use them is changing, and infinitely for the worse. It’s wrong to single out the French. Little-girl beauty pageants in the American South are positively gut-churning but no one has thought to ban them. In Canada, the sexualizing of tweens with padded bras and a purchased pre-sassiness is a modern phenomenon, here to stay.” [The Star]
Alysia Lewis, director of model agency Urban Angels: “It’s my opinion that these photos show how truly beautiful this young girl is. It’s every young girl’s dream to dress up and wear make-up. Child models would always have their parents’ consent and all respectful parents would listen to their child if they weren’t happy.” [The Sun UK]
Fashionista: “Now, this is nothing new. Walk down the streets of Paris and you’ll see kids dressed up like mini-adults, in outfits identical to their parents. Popular French labels APC, Zadig & Voltaire, and Maje all have miniaturized collections for mother and daughter to play dress up together: faux python leggings, leopard print–you name it, they’ve got it. There is, in fact, an entire children’s market around mimicking women’s rituals. In other words, from a young age, girls practice being women….or rather, French women.” [Fashionista]
Veronika Loubry: “hey guys im the mum of thylane something going ‘s wrong at the moment with thylane and bad personn in usa about pictures she make’s 8 months ago for vogue ,,thylane doesn’t know about the buzz and i want to protect her from the deapest of my heart ,,, she’s so young ,, so we are going to close this accompte for a while ,,i know all of you are good person who like her so i send you a big kiss,,thanks [sic]” [The Cut]
WHAT WE SAID…
Nicole Stafford, photo editor: “I think the media had a slow news day and decided to make this into a headline since photos just like these were published eight months ago [in the Tom Ford–edited December issue]! Again, it’s sick that people even interpreted these images as sexual when clearly the concept is a girl dressing up her mother’s clothes. Meanwhile, there are shows on TLC about children’s beauty pageants and tons of chain stores selling push-up, padded bras for 12-year olds—now that’s something to talk about!”