Things That Don’t Pair Well: Porn Creep and Teen Fashion

Unlike Bert & Ernie, peanut butter & jelly or Tom and Jerry, some things just aren’t better together.  At the top of that list is porn culture and America’s youth.   Its everywhere you look, from movies to toys (Bratz dolls outfits for example reek of sexual references) to fashion advertising.  Urban Outfitters, an apparel retailer popular with teenagers and young adults recently got sued by the parent of a fifteen year old model whose image ended up on a t-shirt the retailer designed and sold to adult men.  Although some models may believe being featured on t-shirt is a sign they “made it”, neither this model nor her parents were (they are suing UO for $20 million). Considering the pose and the fact that she was fifteen years old at the time, their discontent is pretty justified:

The model pose

The t-shirt

Sure, many may ask what kind of parents allow their daughter to even take a picture like this on set.  Having produced many fashion photo shoots, I can say first hand that there are always pictures that get taken and are not used for a myriad of reasons.  This is one of those pictures.  The real issue shouldn’t be how the picture got taken, but rather how in the world the Urban Outfitters merchandising team ever let a t-shirt like this get into its stores?  Clearly the retailer stated it did not realize the model was only fifteen, but that is hardly the point. More interesting is figuring out how we have gotten to a place of such desensitization that the appropriateness of an obviously young girl in an extremely sexual pose screened onto a men’s t-shirt is not questioned.

Urban Outfitters isn’t in the boat alone.  A few years back, Abercrombie, well known for the sexual and suggestive nature of its advertising, sold thong underwear embellished with phrases such as “eye candy” and “wink wink”.  At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be such a big deal,  especially because if the same design was sold at Victoria’s Secret. In this case,  girls all over would be snapping them up for bachelorette parties. But, they were sold at Abercrombie, and for girls  age 10-14:

If questioned, its fair to say the majority of fathers would probably take issue to their ten year old daughters wearing thong underwear, especially given its roots in sexual fetish apparel, but what is more alarming is that retailers have apparently forgotten parents’ role as the gatekeepers for their childrens’ purchases and perhaps parents themselves have forgotten.  If life is so busy that  parents aren’t paying attention to what their kids are buying Saturday afternoon at the mall, or simply chose not to contest a purchase because fighting with moody teens can be exhausting, or there may be bigger issues with more dangerous consequences to deal with, we as a society might be well reminded that most floods aren’t caused by a tap left on full force, but rather by a faucet not fully shut off, that drip by drip, fills a sink, overflows, and floods the bathroom, at which point, the damage is done.

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2 responses to “Things That Don’t Pair Well: Porn Creep and Teen Fashion

  1. Sexualisation of children (mainly girls) has become the norm and I definitely don’t agree with it. I watch a fair amount of Japanese anime for example, and I stop watching/switch series constantly because of the constant focus on the naked or semi-naked bodies of school children and putting them in provocative clothing and situations. It’s like the stages of growing up are being bypassed from child, prepubescent, teen, young adult, adult – to child, teen, adult and teen now encompasses ages 10-16 or 18 and has become an age period where people start looking at them and thinking of them sexually. No wonder there’s such a big movement for lowering consent ages and declassifying child porn lovers from perverts to just another orientation – there’s so many lust driven, base level, coarse perverts and out there who can’t wait and who shouldn’t be thinking or wanting such things in the first place. People have sex on the brain and think it’s natural to project and visualise those ideas on almost everybody, the world is full of many things yet they can presume boredom and frustration as an excuse for desperate instant gratification. I really hate the nihilist and hedonist plagues.

  2. Let them do what they want the way the worlds going right now girls will be working in strip clubs it useless to fight it every one of my girl-friends wear Victoria’s secret thongs and lacy pantries and there 13-14

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