She looks out from the picture with hazel eyes, buttered blonde hair falling from her scalp in the kind of artful disarray only an expensive stylist could manage, her carefully painted lips pouting over her naked shoulder. Her name is Thylane Blondeau, the daughter of soccer player Patrick Blondeau and fashion designer Véronika Loubry, and she is an up-and-coming fashion model.
And she’s only ten years old.
Certainly she’s not the first young girl ever exploited by the fashion industry in this manner. I’m old enough to remember the ruckus raised by the risqué advertisement shot of 15-year-old Brooke Shields wearing Calvin Klein jeans. (This was the same year her first teen sexploitation film The Blue Lagoon was released … an ephebophile fantasy flick if ever there was one.) At the top levels of the industry, the fashion world makes its money by objectifying women; it would be expecting too much to believe they wouldn’t turn a child into a sex object … especially not if the designers and photographers can convince themselves they’re being daring and original by doing so.
It’s cute when a ten-year-old puts on pumps, a dress and a hat her mother wears maybe once a month in the act of playing dress-up. It’s disturbing when the dress with the low décolletage and the platform heels are the little girl’s size but designed for the vamp in a 1940s film noir (the woman with the killer legs and shady motives that Sam Spade can’t bring himself to trust until it’s too late for her).
But reading about Thylane and the controversy over her cover shoot for French Vogue was a bit of odd timing for me. This last afternoon I had just posted in The Impractical Catholic on B4U-ACT, a group seeking to take pedophilia out of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is due to be updated by 2013. Most disturbing in the Life Site News story was a link to a booklet put out by the International Planned Parenthood Foundation called Exclaim! Young people’s guide to “Sexual rights: an IPPF declaration”.
If we aren’t careful, we might get the idea these things aren’t happening by coincidence.
Tyler Ament, director of the International Youth Coalition (IYC), told LSN, “Everyone knows that the fashion industry frequently uses sexual attraction to market their goods. That isn’t unusual. What is unusual and disturbing about a 10 year old doing provocative modeling is that it is evidence of a shift in society’s sexual tastes.”
Of course. Hannah Arendt, author of Eichmann in Jerusalem, called it “the banality of evil”. Once you get past the piquant thrill of pushing the boundaries — or, once the boundaries have been removed — many acts of darkness are no longer as interesting as they seemed when they were beyond the pale. When doing lines no longer gives you a good high, that’s when you start speed-balling. When serial infidelity palls, that’s when you start looking for orgies. It’s almost a perverse illustration of Aesop’s old moral “Familiarity breeds contempt”.
It would be easy to write the IPPF pamphlet off at this stage. For one, as Ament says, there’s a clear financial interest in expanding the market for contraceptives and abortions; just on those grounds alone it’s hard to take their advocacy of youth sexual rights as pure public interest. For another, Planned Barrenhood is starting to feel pressure here as their lies and unethical business practices come under closer scrutiny, and as various states begin the process of de-funding them in defiance of the Obama Administration’s threats.
Again, it would seem to be the height of chutzpah for any organization to push for de-classifying pedophilia as a mental disorder in the wake of the Church’s predator-priest scandals. After all, statutes of limitations have been extended and even dropped to facilitate criminal and civil action against Catholic sees. (When I went looking for pedophile images for the other blog, I was dismayed to see how often Pope Benedict cropped up; it was like looking for a picture of Liv Tyler and coming up with shots of Keith Richards.)
However, pedophilia was a convenient stick with which to beat the Church; when actor Corey Feldman claimed on ABC News Nightline that “the number one problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” the Catholic League found only one newspaper that repeated the story: The International Business Times [H/T to Dave Pierre @ TheMediaReport.com]. Similarly, the IPPF has friends in high places who are more than willing to risk their political careers for this multinational factor of death.
If you like, you can consider children’s beauty pageants a dry run for exploitative sexualization of children. As the Culture Vulture put it: “These pageants are controversial at the best of times as they involve the adultification and sexualization of children, and there is no doubting that they present a standard of beauty that is both totally unrealistic and also based solely on physical attributes.”
Here’s the interesting question: By pushing a pedophile agenda, will the progs finally go too far? Would removal of pedophilia from the DSM push Americans back into the arms of the conservative movement with a vengeance? Or will we simply sit back in unease and occasional, ineffectual ire as they score one triumph after another … a dead society and culture floating with the current of events?
I’d like to believe the former. Especially now that, thirty-eight years after Roe v. Wade, the pro-life forces are finally winning some lost territory back.
However, with polygamists, bestiality fetishists and gender benders all crowding at the door waiting for the last shreds of decency to give way, it seems more prudent just now to buy a retreat in the hills, lay away canned goods, and retire from participation in the world while the servants of Moloch run rampant.
Except that who then would save the innocents from the sacrifice?