First it was Britney, prancing around in her tarted-up school uniform hitting our screens for the first time back in 1999 with Hit me baby one more time. Now it’s Miley Cyrus who has been transformed from sickly sweet, sugarplum to raunchy dancer. These good girls gone bad have been subject to the Lolita effect – the premature sexualizing of young girls
The Lolita complex has been written about in books and depicted in Hollywood movies. American Beauty is a classic example, you know how it goes – the Dad has an obsession with the young cheerleader and the twist at the end is when her innocence is revealed and he finds out she is still a virgin (I hope I haven’t ruined the story for anyone). The scary truth is that in today’s society young girls are growing up too fast and becoming sexualised too early. Many parents are almost ‘buying into it’.
Abercrombie & Fitch caused controversy when they released thongs for their 7-14 year old range with phrases such as ‘eye candy’ printed on them. Their advertising slogans are packed with innuendos such as ‘wake up sandy’ and ‘if in doubt flirt’. Sure, sex sells everyone knows that, but using that tactic with a kids range is perhaps crossing the line. After receiving around 120,000 complaints, the company assured their customers that the thongs would be taken off the shelves. This still didn’t please everyone – campaigners tried to boycott Abercrombie by creating signs such as ‘Ditch Fitch’ and ‘Abercrombie Exploits Children’.
British high street brands have also been at the centre of controversy. ASDA were forced to remove pink and black lace underwear and push up bras that were marketed at girls as young as nine. WH Smith sparked anger when they sold playboy merchandise and stationary to school kids and Lingerie retailer La Senza created a range for children as young as five. Tesco sold a pink plastic “Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit”. A sick marketing plea indeed but this ‘Lolita Complex’ can’t all be blamed on the shops.
Disney’s sweetheart Miley Cyrus is a role model for lots of young girls but caused anger among her fans and Disney boss’ when she did a suggestive semi-nude shoot for Vanity Fair at the age of 15. Poor Miley. It can’t have been her fault, she didn’t know what she was getting herself into and was exploited by Vanity Fair in order to sell magazines. Renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz was accused of manipulating Miley into taking the photos. Or not, she knew damn well what she was getting herself into and is no stranger to getting her bits out for the camera. The Disney princess who’s recent song claims ‘she can’t be tamed’ is less sweet but more seductive, flashing her bra at webcams, indulging in lap dancing and kissing a dancer on stage. She is still only 17. Bad Gal.
But it’s not only pop stars that young girls want to be like but also their mothers. BBC recently ran a series called the Adult Season that looked at topics such as teenage pregnancies and child beauty pageants. But the most disturbing episode was with glamour model Alicia Douval and her 13-year-old daughter Georgia (Alicia changed her name to Destiny because she felt it would enhance her chances in showbiz). Alicia has had over 50 cosmetic surgery procedures and the bug seems to be rubbing off on her still developing 13-year-old daughter who asked for some perfume, an iPhone and a boob job for her birthday. Alicia was allegedly delighted at her daughter’s request. Of course she was. Wrong on so many levels. Are little girls’ idolizing the wrong role models in magazines, will they grow up wanting to be the next Jordan or god forbid Alicia Douval instead of wanting to be doctors and dentists.