|Playing with mummy's perls and heels!|
I started scribbling this draft, already looking behind me; I had to dig out some old dusty screen shields from the stationery cupboard (and stole a pen), as I googled the first keyword I already looked shifty and suspicious, my Google search was instantly flagged as suspicious material and for fear of having HR and security on my case, I shut it down immediately. I kept writing using code words and shorthand, which I made up because I don’t know what shorthand is, just to avoid anyone reading from my screen! Dios Mio la paranoia!
I was sitting at a terrace the other day with a friend, he happens to have a daughter who looks older than her 10 years, in fact she looks just like the models on the banners we were staring at on the window shops of Miss Selfridges. My friend seems to be worried about the similarities and how his young child could be perceived as a model, a sexy model, regardless of whether Miss Selfridges might cater for teenagers or not, the pictures of the models used were those of very young looking frail little girls dressed very sexily and provocatively and Chris looked increasingly worried.
My first thought, self-centred as ever, was: “no wonder I can’t find a decent man” but I didn’t voice it for fear of sounding too shallow in the face of his fatherly worries over the fact, the high street and the fashion industry could be inadvertently or not, cultivating a paedophiliac culture. There I said it.
Could it be the case? Could it be that the fashion industry is brainwashing people into seeing children as sexy? Into the adultification of children? And consequently but perhaps not so relevant here, making us look and feel less attractive because we lack the freshness and firmness of our teens and strive to find the fountain of youth through indulging into this very consumerist and shallow tourbillion of fashion and trends.
Children (and blondes…and my friend Tania) are the most easily influenced demographics in terms of consumption, and marketers have an easy job steering their tendencies and trends, parents will undoubtedly find it hard to fight the “pester power”* and this massive fashion monster and logo culture that is everywhere you look, on TV, press, internet, buses, airport, trains and every last available space for advisement (one day they’ll advertise in our dreams).
Without digressing further from the topic, what seems to be happening is an inappropriate sexualisation through clothing and make-up and the fact all children want to look like their favourite pop star or footballer, which could engender other issues such as children being blamed for being molested or harassed following in the women-ask-for-it-old chestnut; the Guardian published an article quoting with no traceable source given, a piece published by the church where it appears they partially blame children for pedophilia, it says: "Methods of dressing which are almost next to sheer nakedness have hyperbolically** increased the incidence of rape and vilification of otherwise innocent children."
The main concern here is over the ‘adult’ styling of fashion for children, especially girls. Girls’ fashions can provoke anxiety about the sexualisation of young female bodies; a concerned parent said the following to me: “I mean if they are marketing bras to a seven year old, it’s a pædophile’s dream isn’t it?”
I chose to stop here, this is just food for thought for parents out there who need to recognise; first the impact of commercial industries on children (the new commodity) over their innocence, looks, welfare and how they are commodified, transformed into sexual objects and therefore targets.
And second that succumbing to their children’s nagging over the logos and the latest in fashion is supporting the commercial industries and the sexual offenders, who are like poised vultures who count on this very obliviousness on the parents’s side.
But you must often wonder; how did these predators come to be? Are they aliens from another planet where the way of life is different? Where children are sexual objects regardless of their gender?
Paedophilia has always been a taboo subject, but in recent years, as much as more awareness has been raised about this problem, instead of discussing the problem and assessing prevention and solution, it seems to have gone the other way, so much so that nobody can utter the word without fear or being stared at or chased with sticks, one would think there is a conscious effort striving to keep it taboo, to surround it with the utmost prudery and secrecy that victims wouldn’t talk and parents deal in secret whilst predators roam free; unnamed and unashamed.
Notice how most people are always wary of looking at a cute kid in the street or pat his hair, cannot smile at a child, how we consciously strive not to look or make eye contact for fear of being labelled a kiddie-fiddler. Yet nobody ever voices their concern or frustration, nor seems to question the over sexualisation of our children.
Notwithstanding, the physical and philological traits that exist within the offender, notwithstanding, the local, geographical and economical situation of certain cultures and countries that perhaps cultivate sexual perverseness not intentionally but more as a result of frustrations, segregation, poverty and more, or the intrinsic reasons for the paedophile to come to be. We should be concerned mostly with the protection of children and teenagers, from all the monsters of this world, the fashion, the religious and not just the outright perverse sexual predators.
You might find this all very controversial, but I believe you need to vulgarise the topic in all its terms and use when appropriate, regardless of the dreadful feeling it carries with it, regardless of people’s looks of horror and shock.
Dz-chick….philanthropist in training!
* pester power: nagging and pestering the parent for the latest trainers and the latest toy
** Big word!
Very interesting piece of research I found on an angle of this topic: http://www.consume.bbk.ac.uk/working_papers/Boden%20Working%20Paper2.doc
Very shocking material: http://www.beautifully-invisible.com/2011/01/children-and-the-fashion-industry-when-are-they-too-young.html