An ad for Marc Jacobs‘ Oh, Lola! perfume featuring teen actress Dakota Fanning has just been banned in the UKby the Advertising Standards Authority because it appears to sexualize a child. “We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality,” the ASA said in its ruling. “Because of that, along with her [young] appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.”
For their part, the child admirers at perfume maker Coty UK said they had not received any complaints about the ad, that Fanning was not styled to appear underage (the fact that she is actually under 18 aside), and that the ad was “provoking but not indecent.”[tagbox tag="Dakota Fanning"]
Personally, I’m not sure why you would even want to be “provoking” when it comes to sexualizing a kid. From the little pink dress, the flower sticking out of her crotch, and the name of the perfume, it’s clear that the ad was intended to reference Lolita, which, need I remind you, is a book about the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl by a creepy old man who marries her mother in order to get closer to her. (And yes, Fanning looks like she could be 13.) Jacobs even admitted as much to WWD when he said “I knew [Dakota] could be this contemporary Lolita, seductive yet sweet.” Did he and I read the same Lolita? Because the version I read was pretty disturbing. It certainly didn’t make me want to smell like Lolita so that I could attract a rapey old man of my own.
Then, there’s the role Dakota Fanning herself is playing in all of this. It seems like she’s self-consciously pushing the envelope of how sexy she can get how fast, like a high fashion version of Taylor Momsen, and the fashion world is helping her to do so. The fact that a 17-year-old actress can act out some sort of nymphette fetish and a whole bunch of grown-ups will be into it (provided she’s wearing the right clothes), is a testament to just how fucked up the fashion industry is.
Then again, maybe I’m making much ado about nothing. What do you think?
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