Balenciaga Scandal Highlights Rampant Sexualization of Children and Larger Porn Issue in America, Expert Says

  • Post category:News / US News

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Calls to cancel Balenciaga continue following the company releasing an ad campaign featuring children holding a teddy bear handbag wearing a bondage harness.  

The images are proof we are in a “downward spiral” when it comes to the sexual exploitation of children, Lisa Thompson, vice president of research for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told The Daily Signal during a phone interview Tuesday.  

Balenciaga, a luxury fashion line, is being criticized for the sexual nature of the ads and concerns over the ads promoting child pornography and the sexualization of children.  

“Companies that engage in this kind of advertising need to be held accountable,” Thompson said.  

The fashion company has also come under harsh criticism for an ad promoting a handbag that ranges in price from $3,450 to $4,000. The ad showcased the bag tossed on an office desk laying on top of papers, including what appears to be a 2008 Supreme Court ruling on a child pornography case.  

Balenciaga has removed all the controversial ads from all its platforms and issued an apology.  

“We strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intent to include it in our narrative,” the company said on Instagram. “The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility,” Balenciaga said.  

Unfortunately, Thompson says the ads are representative of an ongoing issue within culture that normalizes pornographic images.  

“Those who are expressing outrage, I think are doing so very rightly,” Thompson said, but added that this “isn’t the first time we’ve had situations like this where children are being hypersexualized.”  

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Britney Spears was a minor, just 17, when Rolling Stone featured her on a 1999 cover of its magazine lying in bed with an open shirt to show her bra and holding a Teletubby. Thompson says French Vogue came under criticism in 2011 when it featured child models in sexualized poses.  

Despite criticism, backlash, and negative media attention over instances of sexualizing children, “it doesn’t stop,” Thompson said.  

Why?  

“The problem is there continue to be people who desire that content and people are willing and ready to consume it, and I think that’s a product of our pornified culture,” she said, adding that use of adult pornography can lead to the use of child porn. 

“We have countless numbers of pornography consumers, and they’re going to get desensitized to the mainstream content and they’re going to be looking for something new, something more exciting, and for a certain percentage of that population, it’s going to be kids.”

The Recovery Village, an addiction rehabilitation center, reports that 40 million American adults regularly visit internet pornography websites.  

It is the “mainstreaming of adult pornography that has largely led us to where we are,” Thompson said, adding that an additional issue today is children are becoming “their own exploiters.”  

The National Center on National Exploitation reports that “more than half of children in the U.S. now [own] smartphones by age 11.”  

Youths access to the internet has not only led to children being exposed to porn, but to kids “exchanging nude pictures of themselves,” Thompson said.  

At this moment in history, “the situation for children I think is absolutely dire,” Thompson said, adding that many people are working hard to stop the sexual exploitation of children, but “the public outcry is still not enough.”  

The one positive thing about the Balenciaga ad campaign, Thompson said, is that “it’s shining light on the horrible problem we have with child sexual abuse material and the mainstreaming of the sexualization of children.”  

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

The post Balenciaga Scandal Highlights Rampant Sexualization of Children and Larger Porn Issue in America, Expert Says appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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