Given the chance to reflect on the past 6 weeks, I can honestly affirm, BCM110 as been an adventure. Especially with such a badass lecturer as Sue Turnbull. From discoveries of the Media Effects Model to controversial advertising being compared to porn, and a whole ‘Brave New World’ of media ownership and mediated public spheres, to finally, the all too miss-understood idea of corporate pedophilia, BCM110 has been a particularly interesting screen capture and introduction to Media & Communications. By looking through the lens of BCM110 and using these five components, we can view the world as the critical and observant students we were born to be.
One such ‘issue’ worth discussion is the sexualisation and exploitation of children in the media, controversially known as ‘corporate pedophilia’. With moral panic over corporate pedophilia being similar to the idea of ‘leading the sheep astray’, I can’t help but argue against companies deliberately targeting children with regards to racy clothing. If we blame companies for all too ‘grown up’ clothing, then we may as well blame the type of clothes a girl (or guy) is wearing when they are raped.
But what exactly is ‘corporate pedophilia’? According to The Australian, Journalist, Philip Adams, ‘corporate pedophilia’ is “the targeting of ever-younger children by marketers determined to turn kids into customers, into little economic units, a new form of child labour” & “accelerated adulthood before their teenage years”. Makes sense right?
Well… not really. I don’t know about you, but up until around age 15, my Mum was buying everything for me. Her card, her choice. As you can guess, I wasn’t much of a trendsetter… I was also “protected” from those pedophiles out there in the corporate world… but that didn’t stop me wanting to try on Mum’s stilettos and make-up.
Slammed for being ‘sexualising a child’, the ‘Oh Lola’ by Marc Jacobs advertisement reveals a 17 year-old Dakota Fanning, although fully dressed, “provocatively” staring at the camera with a bottle of ‘Oh Lola’ perfume between her legs.
In my opinion what makes this advertisement truly controversial isn’t the stare, the length of her dress, nor the perfume between her legs, it’s the meshing of innocence and sensual. It seems, at 16/17 years old, there is a trend of young ladies wishing to move away from the innocence of childhood and enter the adult world; a concept all parents are stereotypically afraid of.
By rendering this image as ‘pedophillic’, we are forced to wear view the image with a particular lens, thereby revealing connotations of ‘child sexualisation’ and the ‘Lolita’ concept. Although, perhaps it is worth noting that if advertising wasn’t controversial, it wouldn’t be as highly debated inside any public sphere. Similarly to Miley Cyrus’ ‘coming out’ into adult hood at the VMA’s and “making history“.
In terms of causality, the bottom line is that it is so easy to blame a faceless entity: the media, corporations, the government. When rather what should be in question is parenting. Yes, parents should be teaching their children to express themselves, be true to themselves and love their bodies, but they should also be teaching the right and wrong context to wear certain things, such as bikini wear. But also parents, especially overprotective fathers, should realise that when their child grows up, they aren’t a child anymore.
Your child can’t be ‘daddy’s little girl’ forever. Let kids be kids… but don’t keep them that way.
Adams, P 2006, ‘Corporate pedophilia’, The Australian, 18th November, viewed April 2014, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/news/corporate-pedophilia/story-e6frg6rf-1111112542099>