Turning women into little girls and little girls into women
Here’s actress Jennifer Aniston in a photo shoot for Allure’s February issue :
She is posed childlike, with a childish fringe and in her pyjamas which are open at the top to reveal just a little breast but not too much because that would undermine the illusion of Aniston being young and sweet. In the first image, her nose appears to have been airbrushed to make it look more button-nose in appearance. The teddy bear is the final touch, further suggesting carefree innocence.
In the second image she is reclining with the teddy, possibly topless, looking even more pre-pubescent, her face doll-like. But notice the expression in the first – perhaps she knows more than we think? Borrowing from an increasing popular genre of pornography, which Gail Dines exposes in Pornland, the suggestion is that girls like this really aren’t so innocent. They can’t wait to ‘grow up’ and to be initiated into adult ways.
Thanks Jennifer. You could have said no. You could have said, actually can I appear as myself rather than as hybrid child-woman? How come Brad Pitt is never asked to pose as a little boy with a toy fire truck? Could I be represented as a professional actress and not as an infantalised woman and (radical idea) – could I also look like myself please? (extreme airbrushing has rendered her barely recognisable).
Beauty Pageant Child Abuse
And here’s a 5-year-old girl being tortured in preparation for a beauty pageant in which she will be made to look much older than she is. Watching this hideous clip, from the TV show Toddlers & Tiaras, I felt like a witness to child abuse (“don’t tear it!”, the little girl pleads). The child is powerless. She has no control, her desires over-ridden by powerful adults. The mother admits that on a previous occasion her daughter was burnt by the hot wax and that she holds her down.
Melissa Wardy at Pigtail Palls has written to the producers of the show and the station that runs it, asking them to pull it.
“Toddlers & Tiaras” is a petri dish of sexualization. Little girls are taught, often times forced by their domineering mothers, to act coquettishly, learn suggestive dance routines, wear sexualized costumes and bathing suits, endure hours of hair and make-up, and are even put on restrictive diets in order to lose weight for competition. This is perverse. While TLC continues to air “Toddlers & Tiaras”, the network becomes an agent of this sexualization.
The toxic culture of the pageant world, the judging of beauty, is confusing to young children who have not yet reached the emotional-intellectual milestones of understanding reality and competition. These little girls become infantilized women as their parents and coaches do whatever it takes to win that crown and of course, the money. The time alone spent prepping for pageants robs girls of their childhood, time that should be spent learning and playing and socializing with friends. Teaching young girls a very narrow version of beauty, transforming their bodies so that their beauty can be measured and judged, or to use their sexualized bodies to earn money for the family is disgusting…When you add to this the chemically dangerous spray tans, butt glue, nail glue, eyelash glue, hairspray, and cosmetics applied to these tiny, developing bodies, it is not a stretch to say these pageant programs are both emotionally and physically abusive.
Girlish Jennifer. Womanly child pageant entrants. Two sides of the one coin.