Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau: Making ‘Sexy’ For Little Girls Acceptable

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In January of this year, I was flipping through the French issue of Vogue when I remember coming across a collection of very disturbing photographs of little girl models. Featured in a theme about age, the little girls were depicted in a Vogue-esque reinterpretation of girls playing dress up with make-up and heels — only without the playfulness. The girls were photographed in makeup, heels, clothes, and jewelry befitted for an adult model, with only their little bodies to remind viewers that these were in fact children.

One of the featured children in the spread was Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau, a 10 year old French girl, who now has quite a few sexy-themed photographs to her portfolio.

What makes these images problematic is not so much the makeup and dresses, as many children like to dress in the clothes of adults in an innocent exercise of imagination and play. These photographs of Thylane are inappropriate because they not only suggest the presence of an adult viewer, inciting “come hither” stares and pouty lips, but they also invite said viewer to regard her as having an adult’s sexuality.

Lipstick and jewelry are not the culprit here, as even in photographs where Thylane is depicted in a mere jeans and t-shirt, a sexual intent and focus is present. Her low gaze and hands to her hips mirror an adult sexuality, and don’t convey anything genuine or authentic about girlhood. Thylane’s mimicking of adult poses and facial expressions is obviously something that she has mastered, but her tiny child’s frame bring these gazes and gestures into dangerously questionable context.

Parents often worry that their daughter’s premature interest in fashion or makeup will garner unwanted attention, and so they seek to steer them away from suggestive clothing and beauty products. While those parenting tactics are valid, Thylane’s photographs show us that hair spray and flat irons alone don’t make a particular depiction of a child inappropriate. Ultimately, the sexualization of children is defined by viewership, perception, intention, and more specifically, the person who is choosing to characterize her that way.



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  6. martina robinson

    August 5, 2011 at 9:42 am

    there really should be a law against it 16 or 18 upwards for modelling.

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  8. kristina

    August 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    while i disagree with the heels and low-cut dress, and actually anything making her what is stereotypically sexy, she is gorgeous and probably wants to be a model, so I say let her do it. Poor judgement on behalf of the magazine, but when looking at other pictures of her, very few of them are trying to be sexy, so I definitely do not see the harm of her modeling. There are tens of thousands of child models in the states (look at gap, gymboree, gerber, the list goes WAY on), and it’s not problematic. So judge the magazine’s judgement, not her mother’s. She’s gorgeous, and has a long long career ahead of her. Stop putting too much thought into these things.

  9. John Dyson

    August 6, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I dont see what the big deal is. Shes a beautiful girl and deserves to be seen. Most of the people who have a problem with it are women who are jealous that they will never look that young and beautiful again. Pathetic.

    If you see sex in thee photos, that is a personal problem. I see a beutiful little girl who has a bright future as a model. Seek help.

    • felicity

      August 6, 2011 at 7:14 am

      yes, she is beautiful but she is being pictured as a sexual being. is that appropriate for a child? i suggest you need help!

    • Lindsay Cross

      August 6, 2011 at 7:16 am

      She’s a 10 year old girl and she deserves to be protected by the adults around her. If they aren’t willing to do that, then I think its appropriate for others to comment.

      As for the jealousy comment, its too ridiculous to discuss.

      And its not just a problem for one child. Not when those pictures are being used in advertisements that everyone else can see. This has a damaging affect on how we, as a society, see young girls. And it changes the way that young girls view themselves.

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  11. Mahendra

    August 6, 2011 at 4:22 am

    She has the talent for modeling, and many are against her because they are jealous of her if her parents dont have any problem why should others have.
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    • felicity

      August 6, 2011 at 7:15 am

      since when do parents always know what is best for their children? if you use your child in this way, is that not exploitation?

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  13. Alex

    August 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Well, at least she’s wearing more clothes than I see most girls her age wearing when at the mall…

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  15. Pallavi

    August 12, 2011 at 3:55 am

    This is rubbish. Childrens should not be used in such provacative photographs. Things are good only at its right age.

    To the fashion world:
    Beauty is in the eye of beholder. There are many beautiful women in the world and there is no shortage of that. So please don’t hunt childrens to pose as adult. Let them live their age and do things that is meant for them like going to school and playing with other kids.

  16. Jennifer

    August 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    She is beautiful no doubt about it. Although as a mum of three children and a person with common sense, I would like to think that none of us are naive enough to believe that there isn’t at least one (if not hundreds/thousands) of pedofiles through out the world who use a photo of Thylane to arouse their sexual desires from start to finish. You know exactly what I’m talking about & you know darn well that it happens daily. Just curious, are you okay with it? Oh, I’m sure it happens all the time with pedo’s getting their “nightly fix” with a cute photo of Elle Fanning in hand among many others. Just writing this completely disgusts me more than I can put into words. I’ve been a parent for 10 years and not ONCE have I put a front face photo of my kids online for the world to see because pedofiles have no limits. I mean come on people, somebody’s got to be thinking this through! These are precious children we are talking about and we as a society are saying that “there’s nothing wrong with putting photos out there to arouse child predators.” No we can’t change the craziness of the world, but this is something we CAN control and say NO to! Even mommy bloggers out there need to realize that some of the most faithful “followers” of their blogs might just be SICK people who really enjoy seeing the adorable pictures posted of their children. If you are one that still doesn’t see the harm in putting photos out there for pedofiles to use for their pleasure, well I don’t even know what to say…

  17. Melissa

    September 9, 2011 at 8:18 am

    She’s a very beautiful girl and these are awesome, artistic pictures but I don’t find them very age-appropriate. I really love them though, just that these girls are growing up too fast and it’s quite weird to see young kids with sexy, pouty stares. Hmm.

  18. Sterling Grey

    October 14, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Get your head out of your 18th century morals. What ‘childhood’ do you want these kids to have? Playing with jacks and marbles? It’s a different world. There isn’t anything…ANYTHING a 30 year old can do that a 10-year old can ‘t do better.

    • mona thompson

      November 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      @sterling grey – Im just wondering if you know how sick you sound when you keep repeating that there is NOTHING that a 30 year old can do that a 10 year old cant do better. I know one thing this 30 year old can do better…kick your disgusting ass you sick piece of shit! Im sure you do know how bad it sounds and thats why you put it on here instead of letting your friends and family know what you really are. The next time you see a child that you have these thoughts about you should walk right up to their parents and let them know what your thinking so they can kick the shit out of you the way you need it to be done.

  19. Sterling Grey

    October 14, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Get your head out of your puritan past. What kind of childhood do you want for them,? Playing jacks and marbles? Throwing snowballs? Why not just give them the freedom and respect you would want for yourself? There isn’t anything a 30-year old can do that a 10-year old can’t do better.

    • Phendraana

      November 3, 2011 at 2:22 am

      Funny how pedophiles always out themselves. You sir, are disgusting. I hope you get thrown in jail & shanked. Pig.

  20. Mohsin Shehzad

    October 24, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Bhete anso ke zaban nahi hoti
    Lafzo main dosti bean nahi hoti
    Mele jo dost to to qadar karna
    Qismat har kese par mehrban nahi hoti

    • Victoria Lynn Hicks

      January 24, 2013 at 12:06 am

      im 10 and i dont think anyone my age well really under 15 should be dressing like this i want to enjoy my childhood not be in such skanky clothes for the world to see and most of the people who say its ok our guys probally wierd creaps who like seeing a little girl dressing so skanky because they probaully never had a girlfriend or wife

  21. Gymnasticgurl

    November 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I do modeling to but i do not wear ALOT of makeup.And i am older that her im 11 lol but she is wearing heels i cant even fit in heels yet but my kitty heels.Shes beatiful but no BOO BOO to much makeup .I

  22. MissW

    November 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I agree. If you look at all of them and think they are sexual then you need some help. Everyone has their own opinion and think certain ways… I look at it and say, wow, she is a very pretty little girl. Good for her for landing this shoot! If you were asked to have your kids take pictures because THEY WANTED TO MODEL and would be paid for it then you know you would do it and you would be proud of your child. Not everyone thinks about sex all the time. Of course there’s creeps out there, as sick as it is, that’s always going to be the case. If she were modeling lingerie, it would be a different story …but shes fully dressed. People that say, “Thats so wrong, omg!” need to mind your own business and worry about your own life. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it!!

  23. MissW

    November 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I can say though, I would not allow my child to wear high heels and a neckline like the one in the gold dress pic and allow for the pic to be taken on a bed. The three of those things together would not happen, for my child anyways. Unfortunately the photographer was probably doing this on purpose to get a reaction.

  24. D Long

    November 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    People wouldn’t have to worry about pedophiles, or children being kidnapped if parents would do their job. Children are supposed to be watched 100 percent of the time. When my children are with me at no time are they out of my sight. Even when we’re in the house and my oldest boy is in the other room every few minutes I call out to him just to ask if he’s alright. I do not worry about pedophiles at all because I do my job.

    • Suzi

      November 11, 2011 at 3:05 am

      I’m sorry, but this isn’t how we stop ‘worrying about pedophiles’ – all you’re doing is wrapping your kids up in cotton wool. Do you ring the school every 10 minutes ‘just to ask if he’s alright’? What about when he wants to explore the big, wide world beyond his mother’s apron-strings? It is our duty as parents to equip our children to become independent, inquisitive adults. Your arrogant tone also makes it sound as if it’s the parent’s fault if a child is abducted/molested – nice victim-blaming, there…

      I’m a mum myself, and I also work in a prison that holds convicted pedophiles and sex-offenders, and the *vast* number of offenders are uncles, fathers and grandfathers, or family friends of their victims – people who were put in a position of trust, and most likely watching that child ‘100% of the time’. But keep up the pretence that by not allowing your kids to explore their world, you are the only one out there doing your job right.

    • Chris

      January 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      An you’re doing your job wrong. That is definitely not the best parenting habit. I agree with Suzi below.

      P.S Keep that up when your kids are preteens/teenagers, and you’ll have a lot more to worry about that pedophiles

  25. Joe

    November 12, 2011 at 8:13 am

    you know what people? you are all getting your panties, in a twist, again, over something that in 5 to 10 years, maybe 20 will be a footnote in history. Remember the 50’s? Anyone? now look at the world, the media, our culture. Now in 2040 I will say, “hey, remember back in 2011 when everyone was freakin out about child sexuality? and do you know why I will be able to say this? here is exactly why –People in power shaped culture, no one has the guts to stand up and stop culture going in a direction they don’t like–. So, there you go……and for young people who know nothing about the 50’s it was a sexually repressed time, or in nicer terms it was a morally expressed time, there were no sluts, skanks, whores, or bitches, no one cursed on tv, and everyone was nice to each other.

    • D Long

      December 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

      What??? No sluts, whores, skanks, or bitches in the 50’s? You my friend are a dumb ass. Your whole paragraph is a bunch of babbling bullshit. Most of it is just your lame opinion with no factual basis and the rest is just outright lies. Let me ask you this. When you say there were no whores, bitches, etc. in the 50’s, where did you get your information from? Stick to the RandR section on CraigsList. The audience there is a little closer to your intellectual prowess. They don’t bother checking the facts, they just blindly follow.

  26. Sara C

    November 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    These pictures are sick, and it’s not about my perception. It’s about the fact that the photographers decided to dress a child as a sex kitten and take pictures of her as a sex kitten. I’m so unsurprised that the replies mocking the people who are concerned about this are mostly from men. After all, that’s what she’s dressed up for.

  27. Byron

    November 23, 2011 at 12:04 am

    That’s not sexy at all. Beyond the creepiness factor it’s like fancy opera-viewing dresses and whatnot. Even on adults that kind of clothing would never be sexy as far as I’m concerned.

    For me it looks like some stupid mom had her daughter dress like her so they’d look alike and she’d feel younger, nothing more.

    • dan

      June 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Hey lesbians are just as welcome to look at her as the men, or even the bisexual women. In fact, maybe they could find another little girl, just like her, and they could take some pictures of them kissing.

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  30. Angel

    January 31, 2012 at 12:28 am

    People She Is 10 years old
    there are photos of her Half NAKED
    there is deffinatly something wrong here.
    Yes she is beautiful but she Could be wearing more apropriate clothes
    like a NORMAL kid
    and don’t say she’s not just coz she’s a model

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  32. awesomebro

    August 21, 2013 at 5:32 am


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