Emma Rush and Caroline Norma—Sexed up tween advertising shows fashion needs to grow up

Posted by Kendall Harmon

'Corporate paedophilia' is a worrying global trend on the rise.

For those who might have missed it, Witchery has just launched a new clothing range for eight- to 14-year-old girls called "8fourteen". In a brilliant stroke of imagination, the launch occurred on Valentine's Day – because, of course, girls from the age of eight need to understand that male romantic approval, and attracting it through your physical appearance (euphemistically termed "personal style"), is what really matters in life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMediaSexualityWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

8 Comments
Posted February 19, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Formerly Marion R. wrote:

A very important article.

Notice the three “models” in the upper right photo, with the fempunk stares so predictably ubiquitous in fashion photography of all kinds. It’s that annoying mix of detachment, defensiveness and transgression that is so obviously posed and thus so obviously taught.

When you read:

because, of course, girls from the age of eight need to understand that male romantic approval, and attracting it through your physical appearance (euphemistically termed “personal style”), is what really matters in life.

written in an appropriately negative tone by the author, keep also in mind that:

1. boys in this age group are completely oblivious to “romantic approval”, which means that

2. the “romantic approval” is (disturbingly) coming from somewhere else, and that, therefore,

3. the romantic and sexual responses of boys in this age group are being just as manipulated and trained as that of the girls.

Also, as sick as the junia aidoru cult is, it is, in the big picture, a small, dark, back alley, and its injection into the story is thus misleading. The practices the article describes are in no way rooted or eminating from the junia aidoru. Rather, they are actually completely mainstream, and envisioned and implemented largely by fashion industry women pursuing profit, prestige, status, and an outlet for their own neuroses.

February 19, 3:40 pm | [comment link]
2. Second Citizen wrote:

There’s an easy way to avoid these “Amber Alert Collections”...learn to sew and make appropriate clothing for the young girls in your family yourself. Our granddaughter loves getting clothes made by Nana.

February 19, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
3. Teatime2 wrote:

#2—There’s no need. First of all, quality fabric is expensive and it actually costs more to make clothes than it does if you shop the sale and clearance items. Secondly, take a look at Kmart. They have adorable, modest clothing for girls at very affordable prices. When I see their Christmas and Easter dresses every year, I actually wish I had a little girl to outfit, lol.

The discount retailers have plenty of appropriate, nice clothing for kids. It’s the trendy mall stores/boutiques that peddle the ridiculous stuff. So, it’s simple—don’t patronize them.

February 19, 6:26 pm | [comment link]
4. MichaelA wrote:

Good point Teatime2. There is just no need for this sort of advertising and one of the main things parents can do is not patronise it and explain to their girls why they won’t shop at those stores.  Teenagers do actually absorb the values you teach them even though it may not seem that way at the time!

February 19, 7:20 pm | [comment link]
5. KevinBabb wrote:

MichaelA, I know first hand that what you are saying is true. My wife does not wear make-up.  I believe that is directly causative of the fact that my 15 year old daughter also does not wear make up, despite having been given “starter kits” in the past by well-meaning aunts. Good thing, too…looking at some girls of my daughter’s age, I’m not sure how they get the money to support their mascara habits!

February 20, 12:39 am | [comment link]
6. Second Citizen wrote:

Teatime2,

I understand your point about shopping the sale/clearance items at retailers, but I disagree about the expense. In my judgment it used to cost more to make clothing, but I’m not convinced that’s true anymore. Also, quality cloth/notions can be found on sale/clearance as well. As for retailers like KMart, I don’t think the quality is there…mass-produced clothing tends to use cheaper fabrics and notions. And it’s mostly not made in the USA. If one is determined to buy locally-produced clothing, then most retailers are not an option. Besides, there’s no substitute for something actually made by a family member. Maybe this has to start early in life to be meaningful, but the effect is real when it’s there.

February 20, 11:57 am | [comment link]
7. Teatime2 wrote:

Second Citizen,
We’ll probably have to agree to disagree, lol. I buy a lot of clothes at Kmart and they last a long time. Last year, they had racks of Lee Riders jeans in an assortment of styles, cuts, and colors for $3.99 per pair. I bought 3 pairs and they’ll last me many, many years. Can you make a pair of jeans for $3.99? No way. And quality denim is notoriously difficult to sew.

Most young people won’t accept an entirely homemade wardrobe (or home haircuts) into their “tweens.”  My point was that there are perfectly good clothes that are both affordable and modest available. And I used Kmart as a good example because they have great clothes for kids and the celeb they chose for a “tween” clothing line is Selena Gomez. Miss Gomez is a positive role model for young girls and her clothing line is cute, affordable, and stylish, not slutty.

Yes, “Nana-made” is special, indeed! smile There’s no substitute for something made with love and care. But we need to teach and model good consumer values for our kids, too. Paying a lot of money for exploitative clothng to companies that sexualize children is wrong. There are good choices out there, though.

February 20, 5:29 pm | [comment link]
8. Second Citizen wrote:

Well, Teatime2, I understand that you have been successful in buying clothing that is sturdy at a retailer such as KMart. That doesn’t address the issue of not-made-in-the-USA. As for teaching good “consumer values” I’m afraid I’m a spoiler, since I think “consumerism” is at the root of many of our current difficulties. The official word has been “you have to buy or the economy will tank” for quite some time. Teaching (and modeling) that it’s OK to buy items made in places where people would like to eliminate us from the planet is not my idea of a good thing to do. And, celebrity role models. nay, celebrities in general, should be irrelevant to one’s family. Lest you think I’m some kind of isolationist, I confess to occasionally buying items made in Europe and other places where the people and governments don’t wish us ill. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a foreign policy conservative…if we don’t get that right, I don’t think anything else matters much.

At least we agree that expensive clothing that sexulizes children is wrong. We’re in sync there.

February 21, 2:14 pm | [comment link]
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