Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau is the latest "in" model to hit the fashion scene. In her latest pictures for French Vogue, she stretches out on leopard-print pillows and dons a gold dress with a neckline that's slashed almost to her waist. She fixes her dark red lipstick in another photo. But this "sexy" model is only 10 years old.
Thylane's burgeoning career is causing outrage among UK government family campaigners, who believe premature sexualization of young children is dangerous and psychologically damaging. The UK government is working on an initiative to restrict the sexualization of children in the media and advertising, and Thylane is a perfect poster child for their cause.
British organization the Mothers' Union told UK newspaper the Daily Mail, "We have grave concerns about the modelling agency who represents Blondeau, which clearly does not know if it represents a child or an adult. Photo shoots requiring her, a 10-year-old girl, to dress in full makeup, teetering heels and a dress with a cleavage cut to the waist across her prepubescent body deny Blondeau the right to be the child she is."
The Mothers' Union also said they hoped that when their initiative passed, these sorts of pictures would not be allowed to feature in magazines, street advertising and other forms of UK media.
A survey by the Mothers' Union indicated that most parents feel their children are pressured to grow up too fast: 88 percent think so, and 58 percent think this is because of celebrity culture. Thylane has celebrity parents: her mother is an actress, and her father is a French soccer player.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Emma Gray told the Daily Mail that Thylene's pictures show "a child being exposed to a world she is not yet equipped to deal with, solely to serve the needs of the adults around her. If children are to develop into happy, grounded and psychologically balanced people, their childhood needs to be spent appropriately preparing for the demands of the adult world... Prematurely exposing a child to the adult world is dangerously preventing the completion of their development into a person who can survive it."
So what do younger kids think of Thylane? They don't seem to be bothered by the idea of a 10-year-old posing for sexy pictures. She has 700 Facebook fans, and one Facebook admirer calls her "absolutely stunning."
It will be interesting to see how Thylane grows up, and if she later believes that posing for these provocative pictures has affected her psychologically. Will she think she grew up too fast? And will it damage her? Only time will tell.