Looking back on the last 6 weeks I’ve encountered many new concepts, ideas and theories in regards to the media such as The media effects model, Controversial ads, Media control, Semiotics, The Mediated public sphere and most recently the controversial idea of ‘corporate pedophilia’. Each of these concepts can be considered when we tackle the perverted idea of sexualisation and exploitation of children in the media.
Via the mediated public sphere everything is debatable due to different perspectives out of which arise different interpretations. Take Eden Wood for example, a former “Toddlers and Tiara’s” star, who started pageants at only 14 months, and now has her own Televison show “Eden’s World” at only 9 years old. The child star is a huge topic of debate in the mediated public sphere constantly featured on television, radio, and discussed on online chatrooms by fans and conflicted viewers of her shows. There is a growing concern of the exploitation and sexualisation of Eden as a young child, according to Joanne Faulkner “The depiction in magazines and on television of children adopting apparently ‘coquettish’ postures, the wearing of make-up or adult-looking clothes, and the products marketed to children are all identified as signs of the decline of childhood innocence” – ‘The Innocence Fetish: The Commodification and Sexualisation of Children in the Media and Popular Culture’ Media International Australia, No 135, pp. 106.
The idea of the media being blamed, derived from the media effects model, also links in with Eden as she’s compared to the former 6 year old murdered pageant star, JonBenét Ramsay, who has sparked continuous debate that by putting a young child, sexualised on display her innocence was stripped and contributed to her sexual abuse and murder, as quoted by her Father “I now believe with all my heart that it’s not a good idea to put your child on public display.” It is controversial as Australia lobbies against pedaphiles, demanding that predators be punished, yet media allows and therefore condones the sexual display by children such as pelvic thrusts, heavy makeup and outfits that frame the child’s underdeveloped body as arousing and mature.
Perhaps we must consider the changing ideology of the world. Children are a focus of so much debate around the role of the media because they’re seen as innocent and vulnerable (their behaviour can be influenced by media, and what they view to be ‘popular’ or ‘trending’ and wish to conform with) yet we must realise that with an advancing world of technology children are growing up faster and therefore physically advancing. There is less privacy surrounding child lives, now with the introduction of Facebook as a necessary means of communication, social media has become essential to life therefore between generations different conservative ideologies are emerging between what is ‘right’, and what is ‘wrong’.
JonBenét Ramsey’s Father Criticizes Toddlers & Tiaras: It’s Very Bizarre | E! Online UK. 2014. JonBenét Ramsey’s Father Criticizes Toddlers & Tiaras: It’s Very Bizarre | E! Online UK. [ONLINE] Available at:http://au.eonline.com/news/300881/jonbenet-ramsey-s-father-criticizes-toddlers-tiaras-it-s-very-bizarre. [Accessed 09 April 2014].
MICKIE AND EDEN WOODS – A BLOODY JOKE – Topix. 2014. MICKIE AND EDEN WOODS – A BLOODY JOKE – Topix. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.topix.com/forum/au/brisbane/T93MHHFOJRPC0NCLH. [Accessed 09 April 2014].
‘The Innocence Fetish: The Commodification and Sexualisation of Children in the Media and Popular Culture’ Media International Australia, No 135, pp. 106-117 [Accessed 09 April 2014]