The 'complete little adult' look for 3-year-olds

Carolyn Moynihan
21 Jun 2010
Reproduced with Permission

It's bizarre; it's scary; it's unbelievable at a time when paedophilia has been starring as the worst crime in the world. I am talking about a new low on the slippery slope of sexualisaing little children.

We have seen the little bras, the little t-shirts with sexy slogans, the pole dancing kits for little girls; now we are confronted with the complete little adult look.

The picture from the London Telegraph shows Suri Cruise, three-year-old daughter of Tom Cruise and Kati Holmes, tricked-out as a twenty-year-old. This is not child's dressing up play, it is something contrived by commercial agents and her parents. Why, for heaven's sake? Do they want her treated as a young woman?

But it is the ballroom dancing heels that are causing ructions in Britain right now. Justine Roberts of Mumsnet, a parenting forum that is running a campaign to get retailers to buck the sexualization trend, says:

"Some of the shoes I have seen on sale look more suited to a lap-dancing club than the feet of a young girl.

"The items in question are prematurely sexualising young children. We are saying to retailers, 'Have a look at your range and ask yourselves if these items are appropriate. Some of the school shoes Tesco sells have got a two-inch heel. You shouldn't have a high heel if your feet are developing.

"It's not about being Mary Whitehouse. It's about not sleepwalking into a world where this is normal.

Well said; sleepwalking is exactly what some parents seem to be doing. Katie Holmes says her daughter "loves" the kid heels she "found" for her. Of course. That is not the point. The point is, what is this deliberate presentation of the little child as an adult doing to her psychologically, and to the others whose parents take her as a model? What of the vulnerability of little girls who may be less protected from predators than Suri Cruise?

Let's hope that parent pressure groups can kill this trend.