Playing dress-up has consequences

Lingerie for 6-year-olds? Adults should know better

August 24, 2011|Susan Reimer

My husband has this theory that because we let our son play with G.I. Joe as a little boy, we ended up with a Marine.

And because we let our daughter play with Barbie as a little girl, we ended up with a Paris Hilton — strawberry blond tresses flying out the door, cellphone and gold lamé bag in hand, off to another good time.

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

So the current international kerfuffle over France's sexy 6-year-old lingerie models has some resonance for us veteran mothers.

It began with Paris Vogue and the very grown-up bedroom posing of 10-year-old Thylane Loubry Blondeau in high-fashion duds. Soon after, a company named Jours Apres Lunes released similar photos of 6-year-olds romping in its "loungerie" line for little girls.

The photo shoot looked, frankly, like a Louisiana whorehouse sleepover, circa 1940.

Camisoles, frilly bras, bare midriffs. Beehive hairdos looking undone by bed play, ropes of pearls, big-girl makeup and come-hither expressions. And the models looked to be just out of full-day kindergarten.

Those French, everybody said. But the fact of the matter is, Americans are just as adept at trampifying little girls. Abercrombie & Fitch, for example, had a line of push-up bras for 7- and 8-year-olds. (Pushing up what?)

"Let me talk first as a dad with three daughters, two little ones at home, and also as an ad guy. This is grotesque," said Donny Deutsch of the advertising company Deutsch Inc. during an interview on "The Today Show."

"I have young girls and I remember shopping for a Halloween costume, and everything is like the slutty nurse and the slutty this. And like slutty is the new black," he said.

There is a dark side to this story, too. While searching the Internet for the details I needed to write this column, I stumbled on some pretty rough websites. I was worried that the FBI was going to kick my door in and arrest me for trolling for child pornography.

Did Paris Vogue and some French lingerie company looking for an explosive marketing ploy also end up adding to the cache of photographic stimulants for the naked men in raincoats? If I am the mother of one of those little models, am I thinking about that? Ugh.

So, I guess we can't go looking for parenting models in the fashion industry. Or in the world of sports either, all you pee-wee sports coaches who dress your little boys up like the Yankees or the Redskins.

The take-away message for parents of young children has to be: Do what you can to slow this growing-up to a crawl. No cellphones and Facebook pages for 'tweens. No T-ball batting cages for 4-year-olds. No pole-dancing classes for little girls. No high heels for toddlers.

Come on, moms. You know sexy when you see it. Don't buy it for your baby girls.

I would say that parents of young children should stick to Barbie and G.I. Joe. But we know how that turned out.

    Baltimore Sun Articles
    Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.