UPDATE: Jane Pratt’s New Beauty Website Says ‘Toddlers Are Effing Hot’ – Because Child Sex Abuse Is Just Hi-Larious

IMG_5166I’m not a raging fan of some of the content on XoJane. As a woman of a certain age, who has children, I just couldn’t get behind some of the articles that the editors of the website choose to publish. As a feminist I believe that woman can do whatever the hell they want with their bodies, it’s their business, and I really don’t care if adults want to act like idiots their entire lives. It’s just not my jam. But what I do care about is the abuse of children, so when I was linked to this article on Jane Pratt’s new beauty website, XoVain.com, I was pretty appalled:

If Mason Disick has taught us anything, it’s that toddlers are super effing hot.

Yeah, you read the above correctly. And it goes on:

 Hello Kitty, knee-highs, baby tees, ring pops, those stupid stuffed animal backpacks; I literally just came up with the word “infanstyle,” so you can compliment me on it in the comments, and hashtag it or whatever. Point is: looking like a small child has never been cooler or sexier, so get with it.

The last time I wore pigtails was in July, to a birthday party. It was one of those extremely common five-year-olds-on-acid-themed parties, and, yeah, I dug it. Stylish babes love looking like children and dudes love babes that love looking like children.

 

And there is a video, starring Jane’s nine-year-old daughter Charlotte. I think at some point most moms would probably say “Hey, can you keep my adorable daughter away from your child sex abuse jokes?”

Are you all feeling it? It’s edgy, no? Edgy and cool and subversive and dirty and oh, oh-so-bad-girl because “Lulz, it’s totally hi-larious to make fun of kids being sexualized!”

Except no, it’s not. And I would like to remind the lovely people at XoVain that 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. Children with a prior history of sexual victimization are extremely likely to be revictimized. Some research estimates an increased risk of over 1000%. Every year at least one million children worldwide, mainly girls, are forced into the sex industry. That on the day this article was published a man pleaded no contest to over 300 counts of child sex abuse. I want everyone to agree that we, as adults, can do whatever the hell we want. We can wear pigtails and find them sexy. We can also agree that kids are off-limits. 100%. We shouldn’t call them “sexy” or sexualize them under the guise of beauty or fashion articles. And this type of thing is dangerous, because the more it’s acceptable, the more that society becomes numb towards the victimization of children. Even under the guise of humor or “irony” it seeps into the collective consciousness and we start to dilute the real-world realities and ramification of the abuse of children.

I’m not expecting beauty websites to be political or have a stance on feminism. I do sort of expect them, especially when they are run by an iconic 50-year-old self-indenitifying feminist, to maybe not promote or glorify or attempt to “humor-ize” the abuse of children.

Some of their readers also weren’t “feeling” this whole ” infanstyle” vibe and let their thoughts be known in the comments. The editor of the website was quick to tell them all that they are like totally dum-dums and that the author is actually a huge activist for women:

Guys, I honestly feel like Annie was sarcastically pointing out how so many entertainment/fashion/media outlets sexualize kids–she definitely wasn’t saying it’s OK or making light of fucked up things, and it sucks that that’s how it’s being interpreted. She’s one of the good ones, so let her take a mulligan if you didn’t like this particular article.

I totally understand where you’re coming from, but knowing Annie’s satirical intentions (and her genuine sensitivity towards topics like assault), I respectfully disagree with the interpretation. I’m glad we can talk about this, though; we really are listening to you guys.

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    • CMJ

      If you need someone to explain the “writer’s intent” then the writer wasn’t clear in getting their “satire” across. Ugh.

      • http://twitter.com/Lunashademom Meagan Leavitt

        Exactly. I don’t understand how the writer is a senior editor of anything.

      • http://www.sarahcooksthebooks.com/ Sarah

        Because everyone else is even worse?

      • Shea

        I’m fairly sure that the “editors” over at xoJane don’t actually edit anything ever. I like some of their content, but the constant typos and glaring grammatical errors make me want to rip my hair out.

      • whiteroses

        The true definition of satire is to make someone laugh, then make them thing. You’re not writing satire if you’re just offending a bunch of people. I agree, CMJ.

      • whiteroses

        *think*

    • http://www.sarahcooksthebooks.com/ Sarah

      There’s a reason I quit the xoJane website. I’ve been back a couple times to read things by people I especially like, but I avoid the comments like the plague.

      When I discovered the new beauty site, I figured it would be more of the same, and of course, I was right. It looks like it’s marketed to the 9 to 16 set, and it’s just more of the same ridiculousness. Jane Pratt needs to grow the hell up, in my opinion. But that’s just me.

      I haven’t watched the video that went along with this article, but I felt like I needed to go take a shower after I read it.

    • http://twitter.com/Lunashademom Meagan Leavitt

      Agree completely. I enjoy reading xojane most of the time, and I read this article too- and was taken aback. I have kids too- and I just feel like why EVER bring kids into it? Even if it’s supposed to be ‘parody’. Just because it’s supposed to be ‘funny’ doesn’t mean it’s automatically okay. I think the writer probably didn’t even realize the implications in what she was writing, and was maybe just trying to be ‘edgy and cool’ or whatever- but it’s just gross. And those statistics about child abuse are horrifying.

      • whiteroses

        Yeah- satire is Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”. It basically mocks common attitudes toward the poor in the 18th century and the idea that a single cure-all will suddenly fix everything. Satire is not this dreck.

        If a bunch of different people of different genders, races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and life experiences are telling you that it isn’t funny- then chances are pretty good it actually isn’t. I know that these days it’s cool to be vulgar and shocking, but this is taking it way too far.

    • radicalhw

      You are neither humorless nor old to find such exploitation disturbing and disgusting. You’d think that Pratt, who sifted through hundreds of thousands of “It Happened to Me” rape and assault essays at Sassy magazine, would know better. It’s sad that not even parenthood has dulled her desperate need to be seen as cutting edge.

      • chickadee

        Parenthood has actually scared her into becoming more desperately hip because she is afraid that being a parent really isn’t as cool as celebrities make it appear.

      • http://www.sarahcooksthebooks.com/ Sarah

        She likes to refer to herself as being “The Worst Mother in the World” when she lets her kid. . .eat cereal for dinner or something.
        I’d like to introduce her to my cousin who traded custody of her kids for a 12-pack of Mountain Dew after she stole and pawned her own mother’s wedding rings.

    • Justme

      Who the hell is Jane Pratt?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-Zwack/8400539 Kris Zwack

        Val!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-Zwack/8400539 Kris Zwack

        Daria joke aside, she’s the former editor of Jane magazine and current editor of xojane.com.

      • http://profiles.google.com/holly.slavic Aitch Slavic

        And she was a “role model” for a new generation of feminists.

      • whiteroses

        Ha!!! High five!

    • chickadee

      The whole xojane vibe is just too, too hip for me. They are exhausting in their attempt to be cooler than everyone, and I find the authors’ frequent use of such professional words like ‘fucking’ and ‘sucks’ to be a good indication that I am not their target audience. Of course these people are going to talk about the hip aspect of sexy babies, because they define themselves as puncturers of sacred cows and edgy and all thqt. It’s the home of Cat Marnell worship, who is so so so brave for doing tons of drugs and writing bravely about being brave in the face of public contempt because regular people don’t understand how hard and brave it is to have tons of money and lots of drugs and no discernible purpose in life.

      You can’t expect too much from a site like that.

    • ladybugG

      It kind of seems like you’re spending a lot of time/articles dedicated to what Jane Pratt and XOJane or XOVain, etc., are doing. Why? As another commenter noted “Who the hell is Jane Pratt?” Unless you work in publishing, or were once a die-hard fan of Jane Magazine, you’re talking inside baseball to a bunch of readers who have no idea what you’re talking about, nor do they care. They come here for parenting content. Move on and stop obsessing about Jane Pratt. Was she mean to you when you were an intern at an old job in the 90′s or something? You’re better than this. Stop it!

      • Chris98501

        Gotta disagree. The sexualization of children is a pervasive and dangerous trend, and it bears commenting upon. If Jane Pratt is doing it in such an outrageous way, it doesn’t make sense to avoid using her name just because she’s Jane Pratt.

      • LadybugG

        “The sexualization of children” is unfortunately, and sickeningly, pervasive all over the internet. Singling out Jane Pratt repeatedly for bad choices just seems like an over-the-top interest in what Jane Pratt is doing.

      • Pekoe

        Tell you what. We’ll all just stay quiet every time we see something like this, a story with a traceable and held-to-accountable target to reach out to, cos never speaking out against anyone in case it looks like you’re obsessed with them is MUCH BETTER than calling out someone for being an insensitive, irresponsible asshole. HEY INTERNETS STOP BEING BAD HMMKAY? Yeah, I can see how that works. I can see the drop off in chat room grooming that has come from me typing that sentence. I CHANGED SOCIETY.

        The fact this is aimed at teenagers – ie speaking to them in their language and thus assimilating these ideas subtly into these young ladies’ brains, much like advertising does – makes this whole thing even more dubious. White Knight all you want, Ladybug, but if you want to swim in denial, don’t expect the rest of us to drown with you.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        amazing.

      • whiteroses

        Exactly. And people wonder why more and more girls get sexually abused? The answer is simple. Because among a small subsection of society, shit like this article is considered acceptable.

      • Katia

        It’s satire and I don’t think pedophiles read it. I believe the author is mocking the trend. Have any of you seen the hilarious 30 rock episode with the “sexy baby ?” (no children in the episode but it is fantastic)
        Sounds like this Jane Pratt person is not the best at making her satire articles funny but neither is mommyish. Try LaineyGossip or celebitchy for articles that are actually funny and very well written.
        I don’t know that this Jane Pratt satire article is irresponsible or disgusting anymore than family guy or the aforementioned 30-rock episode (written by Tina fey).

      • whiteroses

        This is not satire. Satire pokes fun at acceptable behaviors, makes people laugh and makes them think. The authors of satire know that there’s a fine line between humor and offensive. 30 Rock is classic satire. The main reason that show worked is also the main reason Family Guy has been on the air for so long. It never took itself too seriously. Slapping the name “satire” on this is a lot like calling Seth Macfarlane another Mel Brooks. It shows that you really have no grasp- at all- on what satire really is.

        One of the reasons why this article can’t be considered satire is because it was so damn earnest. This article was just serious enough to not be taken as humorous. It included a tutorial video for getting the look, for God’s sake. If she was mocking the trend, then why is presented as part one of a five-day series? I’m sorry, but were we reading the same article? “Pigtails are a subtler version of those freaky sex bracelets?” How is this okay to you?

        Look, I could care less what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom. But a 16 year old (which is apparently only two years outside of the target audience for this article) isn’t an adult. Toddlers are not now, nor have they ever been, “super effing hot” (and I don’t care how you use the word ‘hot’ here). As a parent, this article infuriates me. As an aunt (and one of my nieces is nearly old enough for this target audience) this infuriates me. Hell, this infuriates me as a human being. And part of the reason why people are pissed off (admittedly, it’s probably a small part) is that Jane Pratt is a parent. With a daughter. She should know better. And for those of you who keep saying “well, teens aren’t the target audience”- 12, 13, 14, 15 year olds have older sisters. As has been pointed out to me, the Internet is free, and teenagers can read whatever they want to.
        You want to know why people are pissed off? Because promoting a behavior- saying its okay to dress up as a child to have sex- is only a few steps away from saying “hey, it’s cool to meet that guy you’ve been chatting to on the Internet!”.

      • whiteroses

        *inacceptable behaviors”. Sorry. I was so confused by someone actually defending this I could barely type.

      • Katie

        It is ok for me to wear a plaid skirt, knee highs and pig tails and have sex with my husband. It’s absolutely ok. It’s also absolutely ok for a consenting adult to meet another consenting adult they’ve been chatting with on the internet.

      • whiteroses

        Key word there? Adult. Quite a few 18 year olds barely qualify. Some more than others, but it’s a pretty slippery slope between a 16 and an 18 year old. And the site’s authors and editors freely admit that their target audience starts at 18.

        What bothers most of us is the idea that this is being marketed in teenspeak. It’s the fact that the site editor’s daughter was featured in the how-to video. It’s the phraseology that was used. Once again, toddlers are not “super effing hot”. Never have been, never will be. What people do in their own bedrooms is their own business. But it’s NOT okay to promote the idea to impressionable young women that it’s cool to dress up like a child so you can have hotter sex.

        Frankly, it disturbs me how many commenters on this article don’t seem to get that.

      • whiteroses

        Also, Katie- I don’t care about two consenting adults (let’s just say for the sake of argument that they’re both in their 30s) who meet off the Internet. You’re old enough to do whatever. Doesn’t matter to me.

        But if you’re a 16 or 17 year old and a 30 year old has been grooming you on the Internet for months? I have a problem with that. And you should too.

      • Katie

        Where did they tell 16 and 17 year olds to go meet 30 year olds on the Internet? That didn’t happen. You’re upset at them for saying things they NEVER SAID. Get a grip.

      • whiteroses

        True. They never said that. But it’s something that they should, perhaps, consider when they know that their website is being read by teens and tweens- and they’ve acknowledged that it is. Grooming- Internet grooming, that is- happens every day. And articles like this make it easier. Because if an adult says its cool, then it must be. I’ve been a teacher my entire professional life, and I can tell you that teenagers and quite a few young adults- even those *gasp* legal adults- don’t make the best choices.

        Or perhaps, as Pekoe says above, we should all just stay silent because hey, censorship isn’t cooooool, man. We should all just “parent up” and not talk about things that bother us. We should, instead, put our children on lockdown- because after all, you’re not supposed to read this part of the Internet, little Jenny! If you don’t think that people outside the target audience are reading this, then you are desperately naive.

        My point is now and always has been that a “writer” and her editors, not to mention her boss, shouldn’t be talking about how sexy looking like a child is. And, again, if you dressing up like a 6 year old is what gets you and your husband going (and why on God’s earth do you think anyone wants to know about that??), more power to both of you. Then the article should be on a fetish site and not on a site that purportedly talks about mainstream fashion.

      • Katie

        Their target audience starts at 18. Well, 18 year olds are legally adults. If your 16 year old is reading these articles and you have a problem with that, parent up. The rest of the world should not and will not censor itself. Expecting that to happen is unreasonable.

      • whiteroses

        I don’t have daughters. I do have a son. I do, however, have nieces. And I will tell you that while I agree that the rest of the world shouldn’t have to censor itself, expecting everyone else to think that stuff like this is hip, fun and cool, and totally okay— is not going to happen either.
        16 year olds can’t be constantly monitored. No children can. And, for me, it’s not even so much about the kids. It’s that I,as a married woman in my 30s, finds the phraseology behind this article disgusting. And I am clearly not alone.

      • LadybugG

        “The sexualization of children” is unfortunately, and sickeningly, pervasive all over the internet. Singling out Jane Pratt for repeated bad choices just seems like an over-the-top interest in what Jane Pratt is doing.

      • whiteroses

        Doesn’t make it okay for Jane Pratt to do it, though. And maybe- just maybe, mind you- with enough articles like this, she might actually think about what she writes before she posts it.

      • chickadee

        That’s why they include links. And if a writer here is offended by something she reads and thinks it deserves attention, she should write about it. And if Jane Pratt’s products tend to crop up more than once in the ‘offensive’ column, then that could indicate that Pratt has a problem with the ability to discern quality writing.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Actually, we haven’t covered her at all in ages. I wouldn’t have mentioned the website unless I found the child abuse content gross and offensive coming from a woman with a daughter.

      • Katia

        I recall an article where mommyish Koa got really nasty about Jane even in the comments then disappeared . (ran away from argument)

    • http://whatsongisinthatcommercial.com/ Jessica Thompson

      Love you, Eve!

    • MaisPourquoi?

      These people are OBVIOUSLY not XoVain’s target. If you’re so close minded that you can’t even understand that this is an entry about hairstyles and not the romanticizing / glamorizing of child abuse then don’t even bother in criticizing. I don’t understand the ”hate read” drama with Jane, if you don’t like it just don’t read it, and in the meantime keep your kids out of The Internet.

      • CMJ

        There are a lot of comments on the article from the target audience that thought it was pretty icky too…

      • Pekoe

        There is a line that can be crossed, past which it doesn’t matter who the intended audience is.

      • whiteroses

        I’m sorry, but in no right-thinking person’s universe is the sentence “toddlers are super effing hot” considered acceptable, no matter the context. Neither is “looking like a small child has never been cooler or sexier”. Or even “as we found out when we got dressed up for the Barn Dance in eighth grade, pigtails=boners”. If sexualizing kids isn’t really what the author meant to do, then she needs better editors. When you combine those sentence with the reference to “tent-pitching”, it’s pretty obvious why people are upset. If this is what passes for edgy, I will quite happily stay desperately uncool.

        Also- yes, it’s the Internet. Which means that people can criticize at will. You’re entitled to your opinion- and those of us who think this is badly edited, poorly written, and downright disgusting are allowed to say so.

      • chickadee

        Translation: humor can’t cross any lines (xojane’s columnists have defended the Onion tweet calling a child a c*nt and a white comic whitesplaining why no one can get upset about white people using the word ‘n*gga’ because it’s cool and also lighten up! Comedy!) and you have no sense of humor because OBVIOUSLY you don’t ‘get’ us so keep off the grass.

      • Justme

        Just because I’m not the target audience for child pornography or a “vacation” to countries that are known for child sex slaves doesn’t mean that those things aren’t terrible acts of exploitation.

      • Kelly

        This is not child pornography or child sex slaves. Try to stick to the topic instead of going for shock effect.

      • Justme

        I’m responding to the part about “if you don’t like it, don’t read it.” There are things in this world, that regardless of intent or target audience, are still wrong and must be addressed. The sexualization of children is one, whether it is through pornography or something as seemingly innocent as a poorly written article such as the one mentioned in the article.

      • Kelly

        An adult wearing pigtails is not sexualizing a child. There is no child there being abused. Just an adult in pigtails. If they were saying to go dress children up as whores then sexualization of children would be happening. It’s not.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        What do you mean we aren’t the target? jane Pratt is 50 years old, and has a kid. I am 43, and have kids, I am right in the demographic. what target are you talking about? A group of twentysomethings who find child sex abuse funny? That ain’t a lot of people.

      • Kelly

        She didn’t sexually abuse any children.

      • whiteroses

        Not personally, no. But she still doesn’t get any prizes.

    • http://profiles.google.com/holly.slavic Aitch Slavic

      I just read the original article and it is about instructing the reader in how to get the look of a girl child using hairstyle, fashion, and posing–all to mimic the look of female children. Why do this? The author Annie says it is because men get turned on by it. (notice the paragraph ending with the Marlboro bearded man reference) I do think it contributes to the sexualization of children. Maybe I am over reacting but that is how it strikes me too Eve.

      • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks
      • http://profiles.google.com/holly.slavic Aitch Slavic

        Thanks Abbey. I can’t wait to read your piece.

      • Kelly

        So when i wear my hair in pigtails I’m sexualizing children? Yeah, you’re definitely overreacting.

      • http://profiles.google.com/holly.slavic Aitch Slavic

        I wasn’t talking about you wearing your hair in pigtails was I. my comment is about the article instructing women how to look sexy for men by mimicking a girl child. I realize now I am not over reacting Thank you.

    • http://profiles.google.com/holly.slavic Aitch Slavic

      I read the original article and it is most clearly about how to look sexy and hot by mimicking the look of a female child; a little girl. The writer explains how it worked for her one time, that men are very turned on by this look so you too–dear reader–can have men lusting all over you by using the hairstyle, clothing and makeup to infantalize your look.
      Seriously, read her article carefully tell me you don’t agree!

      But this is the kind of thing “fashion” is turning into.

    • CMJ

      Also, are we still using “Tent-Poling” as a euphemism for boner??

      • lea

        And boner as a euphemism for erection (sorry, couldn’t resist *hangs head in shame*)

    • http://www.suburbansweetheart.com/ Suburban Sweetheart

      The rest of this disgusting balagan aside, Charlotte seems to be smarter than Annie. Poor kid probably hasn’t gotten a decent conversation with an intelligent adult in her whole nine years of life.

    • Diana

      Prat by name…

    • Scoop007

      I’d like to introduce this author to some little victims of abuse and see how funny she finds her little article then. Only thing worse than idiots, are those that don’t even realize they’re idiots.

    • Kelly

      I look damn sexy in hello kitty knee socks and pigtails. If you don’t like it, that’s your problem.

      • whiteroses

        Um, good for you? Congratulations? Here’s your cookie?
        I’m sorry, what reaction are you looking for here?

      • Kelly

        Well, that makes me some kind of pedophile according to many of you. Look at all the children I’m sexualizing by wearing hello kitty knee socks and screwing my husband. All those children… Oh wait, there’s no children here. Adult women wearing kid gear and getting freaky with other adults doesn’t affect children, it doesn’t sexualize them, it doesn’t have anything to do with them.

      • whiteroses

        It does if you put it on the Internet and market it as cool and fashionable.

        You are aware you’re on a parenting blog, right? With people who have toddlers? Some of whom are girls?

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