A nine year old girl in Peru won a television station contest where she got to star in a remake of her favourite music video. Unsurprisingly, she chose a Britney Spears video, Toxic.
Once you get past the initial shock, as polarizing as stumbling upon a beauty pageants for kids, I think it’s a powerful statement, however unintentional on her part or that of her parents or the people who helped put it together. (Consider how many people must have been involved. Location, make-up, the teeny tiny wardrobe, cameras, post, etc. It’s more than just a few.) A significant number of comments criticize the video and her parents shouting child abuse, exploitation, and paedophilia, but very few have asked why this video appealed to her in the first place, why it’s normal now for children to be worshiping hyper sexualized pop tarts, a much deeper, dirtier manipulation, shameful yet largely ignored. The questions that should be asked are nastier, “since when did we start marketing Sex Sells to those under twelve? Why are teenagers our sex symbols and prostitots now just a matter of course?” Bratz dolls, the Spice Girls.. Remember when little girls in stripper-wear lip syncing to songs about sex was still weird?
William Strawn put it most concisely, over on my Facebook where I posted it last night, “Is this really sick? Or a reflection of all the little girls who imagine themselves in Britney’s position? Or even just an idea that we have a very vague line in our society where it starts being okay to exploit women, putting them in highly sexuallized roles. Britney was 17 when she started, look how well that all turned out for her.”