Thylane Loubry Blondeau: is a 10-year-old too young to model adult fashion?

This is Thylane Loubry Blondeau. She’s ten years old, and she appeared in a deliberately-provocative editorial in French Vogue last December, which appeared to be intended to play with the idea of “dress up”, and perhaps to satirize the fashion industry’s obsession with youth.

The images in question, however, have caused something of a stir, with some people arguing that, however knowingly it was done, the sexualization of ten year old girls in this way just isn’t cool.

(We’ve no idea why this outrage is all happening NOW, when the photos in question were published several months ago, but for some reason it is…)

Thylane herself now has a Tumblr dedicated to her  photos, (the owner recently changed the name from “F*** Yeah, Thylane Blondeau” to the slightly less controversial Thylane Blondeau pictures, although as of this morning, that site seems to be down, too), many of which showcase her very “grown up” poses and a much more sophisticated sense of style than we’d usually associate with a ten-year-old.

While some are excitedly declaring her to be “the next big thing“, however, others think Thylane’s sultry pout and “sexy” photos “go too far” – and not just in the French Vogue spread, but in many more of the child model’s shots.

Here are just a few of the contrasting opinions being voiced about Thylane:

“This isn’t edgy. It’s inappropriate, and creepy, and I never want to see a nine-year-old girl in high-heeled leopard print bedroom slippers ever again.”

~ Feministing

 

“…she looks more self-aware and confident than most models working today — to say nothing of grown women in general.”
~ Stylite

“there’s no lightheartedness or playfulness there. There’s
none of the unselfconsciousness that let childhood be so much fun… There’s just Blondeau’s dull eyes and pursed, painted, parted lips of a hard-to-get siren, laid out on a tiger-skin rug or placed in a chair with her skirt carefully tucked out of the way to bare her legs nearly to the hip.”
~Feministe


“I personally found the Vogue Paris editorialrefreshing. Sure, it was disturbing, but it seemed purposefully, knowingly disturbing — “
~ Jezebel

As for us? We think Thylane is one beautiful little girl, and one day she’s going to be an amazingly beautiful woman. And when that time comes, we’ll have no problem seeing her lying on an animal skin in stiletto heels. But there’s plenty of time for all of that, and for now we have to admit that we do find it a little unsettling to find adults drooling over photos of a child.

What do YOU think, though? Should a ten year old be modelling adult fashion in this way, even if it IS intended to make us question the industry, or is it just too young?

50 Comments

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Terry

    There is something very freaky about seeing a little girl dressed up like that.

    It very much reminds me of a Girl in a film that I cannot mention as it will destroy the twist, but if you’ve see it you’ll know the one!

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Lil

      I know the film you’re talking about, great film but freaky as.

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Stef

      If it begins with an O then I know the film you’re on about, kinda dull until you get to the end.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Lana via Facebook

    Yuck, this is disturbing …

    • Reply August 7, 2011

      Sally

      I totally agree. Very disturbing. Not to mention the fact one little girl now has no childhood as we would know it.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Claudia via Facebook

    way too young :|

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Ottilia via Facebook

    dont like it :( sooo unnatural!

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Moni

    A loud and clear NO to pictures like these!
    While I acknowledge the artistic execution, and I’m not generally averse to the idea of children modelling adult clothing by means of playing dress-up, the way this is done is just wrong on so many levels.
    Not only is this appealing to pedophiles, children already have less and less “childhood” nowadays.
    Even if this editorial was intended in an ironic way, there’s the danger that other magazines will take it seriously and also want to take pictures like these.

    If I was in charge of said editorial, I would have shown several girls (not just one, and still distinguishable as girls), playing dress-up with each other. Not looking into the camera, not wearing professional make-up, and having their usual hairstyles. None of these children would have been in a suggestive pose or showing bare skin above the knee.

    On the other hand: Why can’t anybody be “edgy and provocative” by showing women over 50 in such an editorial?

    • Reply August 5, 2011

      Tali

      Agree with every word!

      There’s not enough in this pictures to show it was made “disturbing” on purpose. Editorial clearly shows a 10 year old as a sex object. I can’t shake off the feeling of looking at some inappropriate pictures on some pedo site( kind of want to click on the X button immediately.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Emily

    If it is satire, then it’s missed the mark a little bit. Also, a spread in a fashion magazine intended to satirise the fashion industry is never going to go down a storm.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    k

    To state the obvious: this is disturbing.
    But how is this any different than The Freak-show Channel (aka TLC) which airs “Toddlers and Tiaras”? Being appalled and shocked at this doesn’t make it any better when you’re unknowingly consuming it yourself.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Louise

    I agree that she’s a very pretty girl, and that one day she’s probably going to make a beautiful model… but now is not the time. I personally think there’s nothing wrong with girls going into their mothers wardrobes and playing dress up, sure I did it when I was a child, but that’s not emblazoned across the pages of a fashion magazine. The photographs are too provocative, the fashions too grown up and there are too many sickos out there to be publishing this sort of stuff. Definitely more disturbing than anything, and I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable to allow my daughter (if I had one) to post in those photographs.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Rachel Gray

    Rompers, playsuits, and onesies – those are appropriate for a ten year old. Stilettos and tiger skins with come-hither poses… gross! What is wrong with people?!!?

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Tali

    My best friend is a mother to a 10 year old girl, who is also very pretty and we always say she can be a model WHEN SHE GROWS UP.
    This girl does have a grown up look in her eyes, but this make up and jewelry look too much and fake on her. A child should have childhood.. And I’m sure at this age she cannot decide herself what kind of photos she will agree to do. It’s what the adults say, especially when they add some bling present or something yummy to their words.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Rhiann

    There’s nothing wrong with little girls playing dress up, but that isn’t what this is – this is a child who has been purposefully dressed up and made-up to look like a grown woman, which makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Kady

    I appreciate the message they are trying to send but surely there is an older girl out there who looks like they are ten without actually being ten. We are obsessed with youth and looking young telling teenagers they need to start anti-aging treatments when their biggest skin concern is acne. For some reason the most disturbing thing in these photos to me is that her feet are way too small to wear stilettos. As most of you probably have realized the smaller your feet are the smaller the heals have to be.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Regia Repeller

    Well the way pictures were taken doesn’t give the suggestion of girls playing to be adults, but girls acting like adults in a serious way.

    If you look for the complete session in google, you will even see a lot of elements that imply sexualization of the infants models

    for example, in one shoot there are lots of rabbits, which are symbols of fertiliy, one of those even looking at the crotch of the girl

    in others there are words like cadeaux, which means gifts, and then a young children under a christmas tree

    so ver wrong

    there is the roumor that carine roitfield, who was the editor of vogue at the time this pictures were released, was fired after this incident

    so

    maybe people were really complaining a lot about this issue!
    why? because it is wrong

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Minka

    As many of you already have mentioned, these images are truly disturbing. But there are loads of images of 13-14 years old girls in the same magazines, in the same positions and wearing the same outfits, they are legitimate models . And people look at them, idolize them, want to be them – because that is what is fed to us every day, this image of youth and sexuality. I see children, younger and younger, acting in a sexualized manner, acting like adults at their innocent 8, 10, 12, whatever. And I can’t help but to think what the hell is wrong with us, the society?

    • Reply August 5, 2011

      Itzel

      It’s very disturbing, what the hell were her parents thinking? Are they proudly displaying these photos at home?

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Heidi

    Two words: kiddie porn.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    royalpriestess

    I literally have a sick feeling in my stomach when I saw the first photo… if these images were found on a paedophile’s computer, they’d probably be criminally charged for it.

    Where are the girl’s parents?

    Not surprised to see this from the fashion pack though, where anything goes – soon it’ll be bestiality…

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Rebecca

    Thylane is the same age as a few of my sisters’ friends. These 10 year olds don’t wearing skimpy clothes and high heels to pose for pictures — they pose for pictures in actual dress-up clothes, i.e. wizard costumes and fairy wings. If it’s not okay for regular 10-year-olds to dress up like miniature prostitutes, it’s not okay for Thylane.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Jordan

    It’s disgusting. Not only is it sexualizing a 10 year old, which is disturbing enough, it is ruining the “normal” innocent childhood she could have had. Sad.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Ophelia

    It is disturbing, but it meant to be so. As Minka said, a lot of pro-models are 14-16, so legally children, yet they apear in campaigns in sexy poses. So the same thing happens, but nobody seems to care, that actually the ARE drooling over a child. As to take someone who just looks the age, would be missing the mark, as it would turn in a “as if” and not in a “show things as they are and highlight them”.
    And the stir this spead provoked, is a case in point that the intention worked. The comments above are a proof that we are reflecting and thinking about the industry and the the way very young “women” are portraied and percieved.
    As for ruining her childhood: if she is modeling in generell, than it has affected her childhood already, no matter if it is a high-fashion spread or an ad for toys’r'us or some other child apropriate item. It is work, not playtime, even if it can be made to look like one.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Regina via Facebook

    Poor kid, she looks like those weird kids plastered in make-up at American child pageant contests.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Jen

    I find this so incredibly sickening. We live in a society that is appalled by people such as pedophiles and yet here we are creating them by making little girls into models and sexualizing little girls in pageants. I realize that she isn’t the only young model that is being dressed and posed like this but that doesn’t change the fact that this is absolutely wrong. The way I see it, if we don’t want to have creeps like pedophiles in the world then we shouldn’t have non-adult girls as highly sexualized models or have shows on t.v. such as Toddlers and Tiaras where little 2 and 3 year olds (along with the older children in the pageants) are treated like little adults and made to look like them. Whatever happened to the days when a little girl could run around in a t-shirt and a pair of overalls or a jumper and have childhood adventures? I’m not saying that little girls can’t dress cute or anything, I’m just saying that what they wear needs to be age appropriate. Like one of the comments above stated, these little girls need to be dressing up in fairy wings or dressing in wizard costumes, etc. They don’t need to be dressing like they are already sexy adults. Our world seriously needs to wake up and let these CHILDREN keep their innocence while they can and experience the little bit of childhood that they have to experience. Don’t rip it away from them and make them into something that they aren’t!

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    LJ

    disgusting. period.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Maria via Facebook

    Wow she has a name and a half – she has to do something big with that name…I think this is a bit weird but I can see it’s in the name of pushing boundaries and it gets people talking which is good. I doubt they’ll make it a habit although some of the other models I see don’t look much into their teens…

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Mara

    Where the F**K are the girl’s parents?
    I would NEVER allow my child to be sexualized like that. It’s a crime, really.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Terrah

    Her parents have lost their right to vocalize in any way against or about pedophiles. They have used their own child to feed the perpetrators, the pedophiles, the illness and injustice. Shame on them.

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Mary

      whoa that’s a bit ridiculous. “the illness and injustice” my god… The parents have not lost their right to vocalize against pedophiles. God I bet if something did happen to the girl you’d blame it on the parent’s decision to let her be a model and not the pedophile.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Terrah

    Shame on her parents, shame of French Vogue and any magazines or media that publishes and promotes this kind of sexualization of children. I say boycott any purchase of all and any publishers to petition and speak out.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Couture Coco

    Totally irresponsible of the parents and shows disturbing (s)exploitation. Just no.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Emsk

    When I look back on photos of my 10 year-old self, I see a tomboy in jeans and sweatshirts. My mum wanted me to be girlier and she did allow me to dress up in her Biba slingbacks and short frocks once I started to appreciate fashion, but it was within the privacy of my bedroom with my school friends. Once over the threshold of my bedroom door I had to be suitably attired for a 10 year-old girl. As someone who is now frock-mad, and alluring ones at that, I’m very glad my glamorous mother instilled those rules.

    I wonder how this little girl is going to feel looking back. Whatever “point” the photographer or French Vogue wanted to make, they’ve totally missed it, and like everyone else here I can see a beautiful little girl posed to look sexy. It’s not right!! And it’s not right that her parents have allowed it. One day she probably will be a beautiful, successful model, but the memory of these photos will mar it in my opinion.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Spooki

    Sexualizing children aside, the fashion industry really needs to stop using children and pre-pubescent teens to sell clothing and accessories to grown women.

  • Reply August 7, 2011

    Betty

    How about everyone asks Miss Thylane Loubry Blondeau how she feels about the situation? You claim she’s being “exploited” but maybe she WANTED to do it. It’s up to her parents to teach her right and wrong, and you to parent your kids.

    You probably teach your kids how to be mindless consumers anyway.

  • Reply August 7, 2011

    Emsk

    To Betty:

    If we were talking about a 16 or even 15 year-old, I would agree with you. However we’re talking about a 10 year-old who was probably nine when the photos were shot. And 10 year-olds often want to do a lot of things that their parents shouldn’t allow. I wanted to sneak out and meet my friends in the middle of the night, but my parents discovered and that was the end of that.

    Maybe she did want to dress up and have her photos taken, but even if she thought it would be fun to wear adult women’s clothes and make-up, it doesn’t make it right. She hardly looks like she’s raided her mother’s wardrobe here, she looks like a little girl made to look sexy. Very wrong!

  • Reply August 8, 2011

    Stef

    This is disgraceful. I know models start young but this is ridiculous. I know there was a bit of bother about was it Hailee Steinfield? Modelling for Miu Miu at 14 but those pictures were done tastefully. This isn’t. At her age she should be doing catalogue shoots.

    Also she is way too thin and starting so young she is already in the high risk category for eating disorders. I saw a programme on TV once about an 8 year old who was anorexic. Wouldn’t really surprise me if Thylane here is ill already. :(

    And am I the only one angered by the tiger rug? I hope it is either fake or that it died humanely, preferably of natural causes…

  • Reply August 8, 2011

    cmap

    It’s kind of cute, but more funny. These look like beauty pageant photos. I bet she had loads of fun dressing up and playing grown up for these photos.

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    TAYDE

    SHE SURELY DOES NOT HAVE THE EXPRESION OF A CHILD, IT´S LIKE SHE´S LOSING SOMETHING, THAT´S SAD, AND SHE´S ONLY TEN…

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    jeans

    This is terrible, and I feel awful for this little girl, despite the “fun” she might be having with all the attention, dress-up, etc. Although I object to this very much (along the vein of robbing one of a childhood, or mocking women for their quest for eternal youth), I do not think this type of image appeals to pedophiles. Pedos like kids to look like kids, right? Not an expert on the subject, but I don’t think these photos will incite crimes against children, necessarily. Still, IMHO, they are completely inappropriate and demeaning to this child who may only feel worthy when complimented on her appearance from now on.

  • Reply August 10, 2011

    maz aka MallyMon

    I think she looks incredibly sad. Her eyes have no life. Too much, too soon, too young. Poor child, her life isn’t going to be the same ever again.

  • Reply August 10, 2011

    maddy

    it`s nothing different than the kids at Toddlers and Tiaras. kids shouldn`t look like plastic adults.

  • Reply August 10, 2011

    Stef

    Just seen a photo which concerns me more http://kennedymonster.tumblr.com/post/8576872317/henriettapussycat-phenomenali-inatyzzie she is actually topless with just her hair and a beaded necklace covering her. This is disgraceful. What decent photographer or agent would do such images with a 10 year old?

  • Reply August 11, 2011

    Chips

    The make-ups, the clothing, the poses screams ‘adult’. The model is not.10-year-olds are children, and children should not, in any way, be ‘attractive’. At least that’s not what I find remotely ok. It is unsettling for me, and not what I would like to do at my age.

    That said, is she aware of the consequences of her actions? She may have done it for fun, she may have done it for job. But did the adults around her – the people involved with this – tell her how it’d affect her future? Did she ever think of when she grew up, how’d it feel to look back at these photos? How’d she walk in streets with having her pics floating around the Internet, causing controversy?

    I don’t find it right either if it’s meant to satirize the fashion industry’s obsession in youth and beauty. The pictures can easily be exploited for indecent purposes, and given how some people behave in the society, It makes me feel worry for her.

  • Reply August 12, 2011

    bec

    Aren’t they being hypocrites? They are trying to prove a point yet exploiting this TEN year old. Far too young! I have no problem in girls dressing up away from the public eye but these photos are really disturbing and shouldn’t have been used. Why didn’t they use an 18year old who looks young for her age?

  • Reply August 12, 2011

    Lily

    If she wasn’t a model this would be considered illegal and the photographers would be arrested for pedophilia

    • Reply January 13, 2012

      Tristan runn

      But she is a model. An amazing one too.

  • Reply September 2, 2011

    Alessandromack

    This photo shoot appeared in CHILDREN’S Vogue in France only, get over yourselves. Bunch of friggin’ witch hunters.

  • Reply January 13, 2012

    Tristan runn

    I think what she is doing is beautiful. She is so lucky to be blessed with such a great opportunity. So many models are scammed and cheated but she is doing so well. If she enjoys it and her parents allow it she should share her talent with the rest of us.

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