Thursday, August 18, 2011

"This Is Grotesque"

Kudos to ad man (and fellow UPenn '79 grad) Donny Deutsch for excoriating a recent ad campaign from France featuring young girls in lingerie. Asked for his opinion on the Today show, Deutsch was direct and unwavering in his outrage: "This is grotesque...I hope the authorities look at them." "Disgusting." And for me, the most important statement of all: "The kids are victims here."
Yes, they are. Everyone, every adult, who participated in the creation and distribution of the campaign is complicit in the victimization of the coiffed, adorned, photographed and viewed around the world children. I will not even link to the Today interview or accompanying article because doing so would further circulate the images.
Let's be clear: anyone who claims that this is all in fun, or girls just dressing up is lying. And the photographed girls aren't the only people affected by the images: every viewer, young and old, male and female, walks away with an image and a strong message, normalizing such sexualization. We have far too many pedophiles in the world now; we don't need to be offering further stimulation in the form of legitimized child pornography.
Child sexual abuse is an insidious problem, epidemic in its proportions. Part of my job is to wake up adults as to how their thoughts and actions, intentionally or not, perpetuate CSA. The other part is to educate them on what they can do to prevent it.
I encourage you to speak up, express your outrage. Refuse to purchase products marketed in such a manner and the outlets that feature the ads. Take a stand. Our children's safety and well-being depends on it.