I’m writing this post because we’re getting an awful lot of search engines pulling up our site when people search for the words “Brooke Shields 10 year old.”
This means one of two things.
1. For those of you who clicked on this because you are appalled by the photos of Brooke Shields that were taken of her naked as a 10-year-old and curious about what kind of 10-year-old would be asked to pose in a sexual position and maybe wanted to see information about these photos, then you’ve come to the right blog. I recently wrote about another 10-year-old, Thylane Blondeau who has been widely photographed in over-sexualized outfits. You can read about that here. In the post, I wrote about the eerie resemblance between the young Brooke Shield and Thylane.
2. For those of you who are getting your rocks off by looking up old KIDDIE PORN photos that Brooke’s mother commissioned and allowed to be taken of her, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m not showing you photos of a fully naked 10 year old girl. Call it what you want. But naked pictures of a 10-year-old kid in a bathtub with makeup on isn’t art. It’s kiddie porn. Her mother–who allowed these pornographic photos to be taken of her–now has dementia.
How Brooke Shields turned out to be a fairly normal person is a big credit to Brooke Shields.
Okay, but let’s get back to topic. Why am I writing about this if this is a dirty topic? Because we need to understand what we are seeing when it comes to educating our girls. Or when we’re educating ourselves. We’ve become so accustomed to looking at provocative photos at young girls in adult poses and adult clothing that we’ve become desensitized to what girls are supposed to look like. As a culture, we all have. It’s part of the evolution of sexual society. But it’s more. It’s pushed upon us in subtle ways. It’s as if teenage girls–and us, as their mothers–are being marketed do directly. There are underlying messages. It’s okay to look older. It’s okay to act older. There are no consequences to looking like this.
For instance, this photo shoot of Elle Fanning (Dakota’s 13-year-old sister, in photo above) seems pretty innocent upon first look. That jacket is cute. Color adorable and flirty. She’s a beautiful girl. But click on the link here and take a look at the rest of the photos. Is she playing dress up or are we being sold an image? She is meant to look older–much older. Those heels. Those short shorts. Something is too concocted here. And then I go back to this cute one above of her in the pink fuzzy jacket… and she all of a sudden doesn’t look like she’s at the early end of the teenage years. I don’t know ya’ll. These are pretty adult photos.
On her blog, Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter writes about this shoot:
Elle Fanning has nothing on Brooke Shields circa 1978, but that at least raised a ruckus. This is so common as to be mundane. I look at this and I forget that she is 13–I see an adult-looking woman (though no adult woman could look like that) in iconic Marilyn/Twiggy etc poses with clothing I’d love to have and then, yeah, I go…HOLD UP! THIS IS A CHILD THIS IS A CHILD THIS IS A CHILD!
Look, I don’t have a 13-year-old daughter. I have a 2-year-old daughter and I can keep her looking like a little girl because she’s a temper-tantrum taking toddler. Yet, still. I don’t have a problem with teenagers wearing short skirts. Wearing short shorts. Part of this is style. Part of this is girls experimenting with fashion. With their bodies. But there is a line crossed when a young girl is designed to look like a woman. When she is heralded for looking like a grown up. This is when the problem occurs. This is when the over-sexualization occurs.
And unless we say to ourselves, “Hey a 13-year-old shouldn’t be wearing 4-inch heels because it’s just inappropriate” or “Hey, a 10-year-old shouldn’t be made to look like a grown woman because it’s unnecessary,” then we’re never going to be honest with ourselves and our daughters about what is really happening. You are being marketed to. You are being told what is acceptable. And so are your daughters.
Did I ever tell you how much I hate it when people tell me what to do?
More, I wish I had information as a teenager on how to arm myself from this onslaught. Full Frontal Feminism author Jessica Valenti says in her awesome book for teenage girls:
“You’re not too fat. You’re not too loud. You’re not too smart. You’re not unlady like. There’s nothing wrong with you. I know it sounds simple, but it took a hell of a long time to understand this.”
When girls are seeing these perfect images of other girls like Ms. Fanning or Brooke, that they’re not perfect, that it’s in a magazine, that they are being made up to look like adults and more that you don’t have to buy into this. You can look adorable and cute, without looking sexy town.
You can look your age.