By Maya Brown

This month images of 10-year-old Thylane Loubry Blondeau started making their way around the Internet. This young model posed for French Vogue a couple months ago and pictures were recently published in a two-page spread alongside two other preteens. The pictures are very much in line with Melissa Campbell’s awesome blog about Loungerie for young girls for SPARK. They are highly sexualized and have adult undertones, yet with a 10-year-old model.

These images obviously have something wrong with them. Thylane shouldn’t be lying around in her underwear looking like a miniature 20-year-old woman. She is being objectified and made to look much older than she is. So, if this image and others like it continue to cause a stir, why do they keep popping up in magazines? The media often blames the girls’ parents, but who’s really at fault?

In my opinion, we should be blaming the fashion industry as a whole. Every day, girls like Thylane are made to look older than they are and put in outfits that are far from age appropriate. Younger and younger girls are modeling, but instead of treating them as the nine and 10 year olds they are, they’re made up as mini-adults. Why can’t we enjoy taking pictures of little girls being and looking like little girls?

Thylane, like many others, started modeling when she was five years old. I don’t know if it’s just me, but that seems way too young. At such young ages these girls are very impressionable. They are being taught that what they look like is all that matters, instead of what’s on the inside. They are being brought up in an industry that values their appearance and pressures them to grow up too quickly. Instead of going to college and grad school to achieve their dreams, they must rely on staying skinny and posing in raunchy photos. Fashion itself isn’t bad; it’s when the images stop selling the clothes and start selling the girl.

The industry isn’t hurting just the girls who model in photos, it is hurting girls everywhere. Young girls read these magazines, and see girls their age posing in heels and underwear. When they see girls that look like them in sexualized images they start to think that it’s okay. It puts their focus on what they look like, instead of what choices they make. Girls who aspire to be models will see that the only way is to pose like the girls in the magazines.

We need to keep questioning this industry so we can stop the idea in its tracks and show girls that there’s so much more to them than what they look like.