The Balenciaga scandal highlights child sexualization

Calls to cancel Balenciaga continue. They started after the company launched an advertising campaign in which children hug teddy bears dressed in sadomasochistic paraphernalia.

The images prove that we are in a “spiral” when it comes to sexual exploitation of children, according to Lisa Thompson, vice president of research at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She did a phone interview with the Daily Signal on Monday (28).

Balenciaga, a haute couture brand, is being criticized for the sexual nature of the advertising, as well as fears that it promotes child pornography and the sexualization of children. “Companies that engage in this type of advertising must be held accountable,” Thompson said.

The fashion company also came under heavy criticism for an ad in which it promoted a handbag whose price ranges from 3.450 to 4 thousand dollars. The piece showed the bag lying on top of a pile of papers on a desk. Among the papers was what appeared to be a Supreme Court decision regarding a child pornography case.

Balenciaga has deleted all controversial advertisements from all its platforms and has issued an apology. “We strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intention to include it in our narrative,” the company said on Instagram. “The two advertising campaigns in question reflect a series of serious errors for which Balenciaga assumes responsibility”, said the brand.

Unfortunately, Thompson says that the ads are examples of a cultural trend ongoing process that normalizes pornographic images. “I think those expressing outrage are quite right,” Thompson said, but added that “this is not the first time we’ve seen situations like this where children are hyper-sexualized.”

Britney Spears was a minor on

: she had only 17 years ago when Rolling Stone magazine put her on the cover photo, lying in an open shirt on a bed, showing her bra and holding a Teletubby. Thompson says French Vogue was criticized in 2011 when it posed child models in sexy poses.

Despite the criticism, backlash and negative media attention on cases of child sexualization, “it just keeps going”, Thompson said.


“The problem is that there are still people who want this content and who are dying to consume it. And I I think this is a result of our pornified culture,” she said, adding that consumption of adult pornography can lead to consumption of child pornography.

“We have countless examples of pornography consumers . They’re going to lose touch with common content and are going to look for something new, something more exciting, and for a certain percentage of that population, that thing is going to be children.”

Recovery Village, an addiction rehabilitation center, reports that 40 millions of US adults regularly visit pornography sites.

It was, “to a large extent, the trivialization of adult pornography what got us here,” Thompson said, adding that an added issue today is that children are becoming “self-abusers.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation reports that “today more than half of US children [têm] have a smartphone at years.”

The access of young people to the Internet not only led children to expose themselves to pornography, but also to “swap nudes of themselves,” Thompson said.

At this historic moment, ” the situation for children is absolutely dire,” she said, adding that many people are working hard to stop the sexual exploitation of minors, but “public outrage is not enough”.

According to Thompson, the only positive thing about Balenciaga’s ad campaign is that “it’s a spotlight on the horrible problem we have with child sexual abuse material and the trivialization of child sexualization”.

©2022 The Daily Signal. Published with permission. Original in English.


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