Children in Fashion

My Personal Response to “The Poignant Legal Issues about Children Fashion Models”

Many of the girls we see walking down the catwalks and displayed inside the covers of magazines aren’t even legally able to drink, smoke, let alone drive, but they sure could have fooled us. Yes, fashion is about fantasy, but when does the fantasy go too far? Where should the line be drawn?

As children most of us enjoyed playing dress up and pretend, but the innocent notion of dress up is not so innocent in the fashion world. Many of the underage models in the fashion industry are dressed and styled sometimes in very sexually suggestive clothing, clothing that in some cases would be inappropriate for even a grown woman to wear in public. Not only is the clothing suggestive of behavior that a young girl shouldn’t be advertising, but the staged scenes and photographed postures are also sometimes very suggestive. This continued use of sexualized poses in fashion makes me consider how much influence the porn industry actually has on mainstream culture. It also makes me question this idea of whether or not these sexualized images of young girls could be considered child pornography. Apparently, under federal law these sexualized images of young girls do not fall under the legal definition of child pornography, but I personally feel that they walk a very thin line.

In our culture this idea of wanting to grow up fast, and become adults is very prevalent among young Americans. This desire to be older than you are is constantly being advertised to the youth culture in the United States, especially by the Fashion Industry. The Lingerie sector of the Fashion Industry has always been targeted to grown women, but now some companies are designing lingerie targeted towards children. Strange? Yes, but what is even stranger is that there is a market for it.

At the end of the article some very interesting questions where posed.  The author asks, “If it is legal for adults to dress up as minors and pose in sexually suggestive photographs, why would it be illegal for minors to dress up as adults and do the same?” I personally don’t agree with adults dressing up as children and posing in sexually suggestive photographs, because it gives the illusion that it’s okay for people to think of children in a sexual way, which it is not. Legal issues regarding minors dressing as adults, should be enforced to stop minors from being in a position where they have to pose in sexually suggestive, and/or explicit photographs.  The problem in both aspects of this question boils down to this term sexual. Children and the idea of children should in no way, shape, or form be associated with anything sexual.

– Chelsi

 

link to article

http://cosmolawlitan.com/2011/08/22/the-poignant-legal-issues-about-children-fashion-models/

 

 

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“The Beauty Myth” and “The Look”

Beauty.

What is it?

How do you define it?

Is it truly definable?

When most people define beauty, they are rarely specific. When asked any of the above questions, I usually give or hear the response “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” After reading excerpts from “the Beauty Myth,” the term beholder really stands out to me. Who is this beholder? Who and what influence this beholder? If I were to examine this statement from the context of the Beauty Myth, and the idea that the term beauty is a political weapon of social control over women, I would have to place the male dominated system in which we all as human beings operate in as the beholder. The beholder in “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” sets the standard of what beauty is, and in our current society it has been transformed from a preference into a currency. Women have been programmed to believe that their worth is subject to whether or not they embody the characteristics of what society (the beholder) views as beautiful. Most women are forever in pursuit of an unattainable ideal, constantly playing into the role designed by the master creators of our cultural systems.

 

If I tie in beauty vs. the look in fashion, what are women trying to attain? If in the fashion world “the look” is not necessarily beautiful, and it is developed and cultivated from the hard work and collaboration of many individuals, how can anyone successfully emulate that ideal on their own. These images of beauty and “the look” that are repeatedly introduced to women and girls everywhere are grouped and presented under this idea of glamour. I personally use this term to define the characteristics of a person, as well as inanimate objects such as clothing.  I’ve never thought much about using the term glamour, or glamorous, but it’s fascinating that a term rooted in medieval alchemy, used to describe a spell, or illusion created to make something appear different and/or better than it’s true natural form, is used to describe a true state of being. All the images shown in the media are described, as glamorous and subliminal messages are sent out to women pounding at them everyday saying, “you need to be glamorous, glamorous is beautiful, if you attain this beauty you’ll be happy.” But how can you attain something that is an illusion? Many women are constantly trying to transform the illusion they’ve been presented with into reality, and this is where problems arise such as low self esteem, eating disorders, body perception disorders, and so on and so forth.

Counterfeit Brands

Counterfeiting.  This concept of real versus fake is a very complex issue. It’s complexity stems from the evolution and creation of brands in society. The power of brands within our culture as well as its outreaching power into overseas culture is truly amazing. I believe that because of the rise of brands this term counterfeiting has taken on new meaning. In the past when I would hear the word counterfeiting, the production of fake money would come to mind. Now, although the meaning is still the same counterfeiting has come to represent not only fake money, but fake fashion as well.

Fake fashion. What a bizarre grouping of words. Fashion is fashion; its real, how can it be fake? With those two words alone it’s hard to grasp the concept that fashion can be fake, I believe fashion in and of it self can never be fake, but fashion brands can. Whenever the notion of brands comes into play, the relationship between fake goods and real goods become more tangible. It’s real because it was produced under the brand with all the qualities and components of the brand. It’s fake when the producer is not the brand, and the product appears to have all the elements of the real product, however, its essence lacks the quality and components of the real product. Counterfeiting is not a new term, or a new crime, but it appears to be a hard one to prosecute when it comes to brands.

Right now counterfeit brands are everywhere, and the big question is who do you punish and how. According to Mr. Harley in the short story “Bag Man”, counterfeiting is more profitable then selling narcotics, but if you get caught selling drugs you can go to jail for life, but if you get caught selling a fake bag, you may or may not get 3 months at the most. It is strange that the repercussions of one crime can vary so drastically, especially when the crime with a higher penalty is less lucrative, but I believe this is mainly due to the newness of brand power. Many countries around the world hardly enforce anti-counterfeiting laws; however, countries that have a strong brand market like the United States and countries in Western Europe like France take stronger actions to prevent and stop the counterfeiting of brands.  In China where a large majority of counterfeit goods are produced and sold, counterfeit merchandise accounts for a sizable portion of consumer goods in the country, so the Chinese government has no substantial benefit from taken actions to stop counterfeiting. In reality most brands that are victimized by counterfeiting only seek monetary damages, but many of these brands are multimillion dollar entities, that are and will continue to make million upon millions of dollars without recovering damages. So the question becomes whether or not its right to put counterfeiters (who are usually immigrants and poor laborers) out of work to give more money to people that already has a surplus of funds?

 

-Chelsi Russell

Space of Consumption

My chosen space of consumption today was Barnes and Noble in Union Square.  Barnes and Noble has designed it’s store layout, amenities, and experience around the concept of Leisure. The process of finding exactly what you want on the shelves of Barnes and Noble should be a leisurely experience.  Yes, you can quickly walk in find what you want and leave, but that is totally up to you. The Barnes and Noble store offers you the option to browse leisurely, meet up with friends, sit down have coffee and chat, or read. They offer you the option of having a leisurely experience within their walls if you so desire. You can read an entire book if you wanted!

-Chelsi Russell