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Annamari Vänskä

Debates about little girls' loss of innocence, and the sexualization of girls have become an integral part of media in contemporary culture. Fashion advertising representing young girls and certain types of clothes are specifically prone to generate debates about sexualization. This article looks at the sexualization argument through two sets of fashion editorials, one in a December–January 2011 issue of French Vogue, and another in the December–January 1978 issue of the same magazine. The article exposes the problem of sexualization discourse that relates images to lived experiences of girls even though fashion advertising rarely, if ever, is interested in depicting reality. Sexualization is revealed to be a value statement—the Other of innocence which is set up as the norm. Furthermore, fashion photography is shown to be intertextual; images refer to other fashion photographs. In looking at these issues this article opens up space for discussing the visual and sartorial history of the sexual girl.