“Today children are building their identity based on a reduction of equality between men and women and a return of female stereotypes through music video clips, toys and TV reality shows,” says Jouanno. “We are seeing a generation that from a very early age, not through education, but by default, accepts inequality between the sexes.”
The result, says the report, is that children are being psychologically damaged making them more vulnerable to serious problems such as anorexia.
The report follows scandal in the media last year when Vogue fashion magazine used a 10-year-old girl in a photo shoot. Thylane Blondeau, wearing heavy make-up and revealing clothes, was photographed in a series of provocative poses.
“The banalistation of pornography has become so commonplace that we are not even aware of it anymore, far less are shocked by it and its is very shocking,” explains Jouanno.
She has put forward a number of proposals to fight the problem. These include banning beauty competitions for children under under 16 or 18, preventing brand names from using children in their advertising campaigns and bringing back school uniforms for children of primary school age.
France is not the only country to raise the red flag over the problem. Last year British Prime Minister David Cameron commissioned a report called Let children be children and Belgium and Canada have also carried out surveys on the same issue.
Fortunately for France, the report concludes there is still time to act now to prevent the problem from escalating. It says overall there is a resistance from parents who still exercise control over their children’s appearance.