Sexualisation vs. Art

We now live in a world were ‘moral panic‘ is gradually taking over. We live in fear of not ‘belonging’, of being taken over by a foreign country and we attempt to avoid the daunting thought of being judged. Society is becoming a subject to this fear where now the way we advertise is transforming into G rated marketing strategies.

But what do I mean by this?

Recently I was introduced to the concept of ‘corporate pedophilia‘, yes I was just as confused when I first heard this term. This term is narrowed down by Emma Rush and Andrea La Nauze; “Corporate pedophilia is a metaphor… used to describe the selling of products to children… it encapsulates the idea that such advertising and marketing is an abuse of children and contravenes public norms”. This is a term that creates moral panic. The sexualisation of children is a common topic of discussion when looking at marketing and advertising, it seems as if has become a major ‘danger’ and parents are becoming weary of how their children are being photographed.

I approach this topic witch the analogy of a woman’s make up, some people say she has a ‘cake-face’ while others think she looks ‘good and normal’. Prior to learning about this topic, we were taught about the concept of the public sphere and semiotics and how these concepts have ability to influence they way we interact and our opinions, views and ideologies. I think that this is a contributing factor that influences the way in which we feel about certain advertisements.


Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau, one of the most famous fourteen year old models the world has seen. The photo above is from Vogue’s 2011 January spread, where the young tween is posing for the renowned brand ‘Tom Ford’. There has been much public speculation about this young girl and the work she does. In an article from the Daily Mail, Dr Emma Gray states “This picture is the antithesis of what childhood in our society should be; a child being exposed to a world she is not yet equipped to deal with solely to serve the needs of the adults around her.” ‘Body image’ and the ‘media influence’, appear to be one of the biggest worries parents are having with their young children. When examining the image it is obvious that she is made to look older and this further highlighted by her clothing, makeup, hair and poses. Furthermore it is understandable as to why this young model can be viewed in a ‘sexualised’ way.

Although for those who are apart of the ‘high fashion’ public sphere this model can be viewed in a different light, some could call it art and have a profound appreciation for fashion. Analysing the above photograph from an artistic point of view, some would say that the young girl is show casing high fashion of the time, with elements of sophistication and poise.

It is evident that there are numerous views on this topic and the way we view these images and the harm that can arise. Due to moral panic we are being encapsulated in ‘bubble wrap’ – the idea that we are being shielded from everything because of the idea that the media has the ability to change the way we view and absorb everything we see.

It seems as if this panic is diminishing the notion of free thought by constantly reinstating negative views.

One persons fun can be another’s worst nightmare.


4 thoughts on “Sexualisation vs. Art

  1. This was a particularly fluent and easy to read post on the issue that can sometimes be confusing or dwell in the “grey area”. I totally agree with your points about how we could possibly be becoming a sheltered population and I believe it’s interfering with natural creative progression. The way you started by reintroducing past topics about semiotics and public sphere, really helped me understand and apply these themes to this week’s topic, which made the reading more fulfilling. The interaction between fashion and art vs. the sexualised is covered well with your example referring to make up and the 14 year old model used. Continuing on from this I thought what it would be like to have these particular children, who are exposed to the media for their choices, to be interviewed and asked their thoughts. It’s all well and good for the media and their parents to exchange opinion, but perhaps the individuals themselves could influence the way it’s seen in the public sphere? I found a video ( and article) that looks at kids responding to media hype over body image, and took it as inspiration for my calling for kids to be asked their opinion. Great post!


  2. Your blog post contains a lot of great content from our lectures and concepts from our readings. There is only a few things that I would change if your blog post was mine and that is a couple of grammatical errors.
    I don’t really blame the world for facing a sense of moral panic. Corporate pedophilia disturbs me and I personally think it’s twisted how young children are portrayed. Typical fourteen year olds aren’t lounging in provocative poses wearing stilettos. I definitely agree with Dr Emma Gray.
    I quite liked the following point that you raised “Due to moral panic we are being encapsulated in ‘bubble wrap’ – the idea that we are being shielded from everything because of the idea that the media has the ability to change the way we view and absorb everything we see”. It is something to really keep in mind when analyzing this taboo topic of children in advertising campaigns that challenge sexualisation vs art.
    Another debate that relates to this topic is young girls in beauty pageants. Here’s a link about this issue which is worth checkin out in relation to oyur post of exploitation through sexualisation vs art:


  3. This is a really good post! Nice work with the hyperlinks, really makes it easy for me to follow your research and check your sources. You also expand upon the sources you used very well, adding in your own opinion make for a much more interesting read.
    Maybe you could try embedding videos into your post to make for a more interactive blog post?
    I agree with your concerns over body issues. To me it’s obvious that the girl here has been portrayed to look much older than she actually is and I worry about what effect that will have on other young girls. I personally feel like the way men are shown in fashion adverts is an issues that isn’t as talked about enough. Is it normal for boys to grow up with the expectation that they have to have a six-pack or a ‘perfect’ jawline to seem attractive? How is this going to impact their self-esteem?


  4. Nice post, relating your post to the theories mentioned in the previous lectures made it easier to understand the relevance of the images you’ve used. It seems like you really did your research on the topic by the amount of quotes and links you added as well as the context you’ve provided on the model. Even though you’ve included hyperlinks in your post you should still insert a reference in your posts. I agree with the “Bubble Wrap” theory about the media’s influence on our perspective.


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