I want you to look at this image carefully. What do you see? What do you think?

It’s an ad for Mexx children’s clothing, the jeans in particular, taken by photographer Beatrice Heydiri.

Personally I think this image is great. Why? Because it does not sexualise the girls. The first thing I noticed was that the girls are dressed exactly like the boys. Same jeans, same hands in the pockets pose. In other words, the two girls have not been forced to conform to conservative gender stereotypes. No pink. No cutesy dresses. No sexual differentiation. Equal to the boys.

Yes, the girls are topless like the boys, but this is as it should be. They are years away from having breasts and to demand that they cover them would be to treat them as sexual objects. How old are these child models? 7? 8? Why should such a young girl be made self-conscious about her chest? And this another thing that I like about this photo. They don’t care. Just in the same way the boys don’t care. As I have often said on this blog, a girl’s chest is physiologically identical to a boy’s. To emphasise this I’ve edited the photo. I dare you to be able to tell the difference now (apart from the long hair).

There have been some misinformed mutterings about this ad. The usual stuff: namely that the girls are topless and that this sexualises them (blah, blah). Nonsense. The opposite is the case. The blonde girl on the left looks androgynous and could be a boy. Indeed, by placing her hand on his shoulder she takes the more dominant role.

In my opinion Mexx and Heydiri are to be applauded. A great depiction of the natural child, freed from cliched gender expectations. Let’s hope there are more images like this in the future.

(note: thanks to Pigtails for drawing my attention to this ad)