IS THIS APPROPRIATE?
The latest Zara's Kids' Campaign has been causing controversy online with people demanding the brand take down the images they see as "inappropriate". I was sent these images and asked to comment. The main one being an image of a little girl in a dress, sitting on a bed with her legs slightly crossed and her thighs showing. The lady who sent it to me was outraged by how sexual the image was and asked if I would raise awareness and use my platform to call the brand out.
I stared at the image for a while and I went to the brands' page to look at the other images. In the other two images, the same girl is standing on a beach in a short dress, looking serious and rather sad.
I scrolled down the comments on Instagram and from what I can tell most people agreed that the images were inappropriate and unsuited for kids. People were upset by the length of the dress and by the pose and dark mood of the shoot saying that it did not come across as a 'kid shoot' but rather very grown up.
I have to say, I am torn.
While I agree that kids in many cases are sexualised and I absolutely am against that (remember my article last year about the Victoria secret fashion show using girls aged 5-10 to model sexy lingerie article?), I have to be honest and say that when looking at the images I personally did not see what the big deal was.
As a mom of girls I am very sensitive towards this topic so please don't think I am making lightly of it. Having said that, the pose itself and the dress did not come across as seductive or provocative, in fact - the long sleeves and flowery pattern reminded me a bit of a dress my nana used to wear, and she was in her 80's.
What got me, if anything, was the mood of the images - dark, depressing, and while I understand that it's "fashion", as a mom, I do not want to buy cloths that look like they may depress my kids.
The 'adult vibe' many of these shoots is the main the problem. In my opinion, kids should be running around outside, jumping in puddles, you know - being kids. Why would an eight year old be sitting in her room looking as if she just finished reading 'War and Peace' and is now contemplating the meaning of life. And yes, I know, brands want to be 'artistic' and have 'creative' campaigns but maybe they need to work with better advertising agencies if this is the best they can come up with? I urge Zara to get in contact with me, I have ideas...
What is more interesting to me is the fact that so many people took away from these images a 'sexual tone'. Almost as if we are programmed to go there and I would be tempted to say that the length of the dress and or the pose (which by the way, is exactly how my 7 year old sits all the time), have very little to do with it.
The thing is, and this is the real issue people, sexualising females is something that is so programmed to do that even when a female wears a nun costume there will still be those who will sexualise her (I realise this may be some strange fantasy, but you get my point). In fact, a woman can barely show any part of her body without having someone call her a 'whore' and I'm not just talking about tits and ass, I'm taking about knees, shoulders and other parts of our body.
You may remember that I did a video on this topic a few months ago called 'IS THIS MODEST ENOUGH?' addressing the absurdity of this exact topic. How women are now pressured into 'covering up' or risking being labelled as sluts.
Personally, I don't but into any of it.
As a female I will dress any way I want. The length of my dress has nothing to do with how slutty I am, and for the record - I'm very slutty and proud.
And as for kids - yes, there is a different line for children 100%, not just because they are kids and not sexual, but also because they are underage and need our protection. This line that should never be crossed and should include things like lingerie modelling, or poses that adult are sexual.
I'm not sure this is the case on this occasion BUT I also think it's good we are talking about it, just so we remember the boundaries and never cross them!
*Please note that Zara have since remove the images.