What do you see when looking at this picture?

Image: Child Model Thylane Loubry Blondeau http://intentious.com/2011/08/12/provocative-poses/

Take a look a second time, focusing on the seductive pose of this child.


Now what do you see?

Is it possible when viewing the image a second time, you began to think of this child of being posed seductively, without first believing so?

Everyone’s interpretations are different, as they depend on “history, experiences, and encounters” (Turnbull, 2012). Therefore, when skimming over the image the first time, majority of people would have failed to notice how the child was posed, nor considered it seductive. The sexualisation of children has erupted, creating a moral panic. However, “determining what constitutes ‘sexually suggestive’ content is a highly subjective task, and one that is open to wide interpretation” (Lumby & Funnell, 2011, p285). I put forward the idea, how sexualized are these images, and are these images actually of children?

“Sexualisation can be defined into two broad categories. One- direct sexualisation- How children are portrayed or posed in advertising. Two- Indirect sexualisation- What children are exposed to in their environment, including advertising intended for an adult audience”    

Gale, 2001, p21

Miley Cyrus was a beloved child star, known more commonly as the Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana. However, as her singing career developed, so did Miley’s body. In 2010, Miley released a hit, ‘can’t be tamed’. Parents were outraged. The youthful girl their children idolize had grown up, parading around in minimal clothing.

Miley Cyrus was 17 years old.

Image: Miley Cyrus film clip ‘Cant Be Tamed’ (http://www.2snaps.tv/98110113)

In Australia, a person either male or female only has to be 16 years old to give consent to have sexual intercourse. An individuals biological clock would have them believe a girl becomes an adult when she gets her first period, around the age of 13, whereas a boy usually 15, when he has his first ejaculation (Turnball, 2012).

Is it possible we should be more concerned with the baffling issue of biology vs. culture, and first understand this, before we break out in a moral panic about children’s poses in clothing advertisements?

It all seems a bit overdramatic to me.


Gale, J 2001, ‘Sexualisation of Children and Young Teens’, Journal of Educating Young Children, vol. 17, no. 2, pp21-23, 7th May 2012 http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/fullText;dn=329034934872440;res=IELHSS

Griffin, M 2012, “Why teens should read raunchy novels and straight-up smut’, Sydney Morning Herald, 1st February, accessed 7th May 2012,  http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/why-teens-should-read-raunchy-novels-and-straightup-smut-20120131-1qr97.html

Lumby, C & Funnell, N 2011,’Between heat and light: The opportunity in moral panics’, Journal of Crime Media Culture, vol. 7, no.3, pp277-291, 7th May 2012 http://cmc.sagepub.com/content/7/3/277

Rush, E 2011, ‘Response to Taylor: The Full Picture of the Sexualisation of Children Debate’, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 36, no. 4, pp111-119, 7th May 2012 http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/fullText;dn=755226885995587;res=IELHSS

Turnbull, S 2012, Emerging Issues in Media and Communication, Lecture, BCM310, Sexualisation of Children, University of Wollongong, delivered 7th May