Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mothers' Let Kids Strip For Cash In Japan

She's wearing a sailor suit schoolgirl uniform blouse on top and a G-string below. On a page of her photo spread there's a shot where she becomes cheeky in more ways than one, thrusting out her butt and turning her head to flash a sassy smile. Another page has her holding her legs up to her chest and the camera focusing on what's in-between. These may be typically smutty poses found just about anywhere in Japan, but the model in this center spread is just 13, according to Josei Seven.

Growing numbers of young girls, some of them preteens, are being thrust into ever more provocative positions and increasingly skimpy outfits to try and get them a step ahead of the jostling pack in the cutthroat world of DVD and photo collection sales, with their parents backing them all the way.

"We've always had loads of kids looking to become celebrities, but the photos they send in to us have become more and more risque. Sometimes, you'll get photos of a kid dressed in a tiny, ultra-low cut tank top and micro-miniskirt, standing there spreading her legs wide. You have to ask yourself: 'Is this really an elementary school girl?" an employee of a major talent agency tells Josei Seven.

"Seeing these little girls wearing fashions clearly designed for women in their late teens or 20s and their faces caked with make-up can be pretty overwhelming."

Parents have mixed feelings about the trend.

"I've got a girl in junior high who tells me 'these fashions are the in thing' and 'everybody's wearing them.' I don't want to come down on her too hard, because if she's too different from the other kids around her, it could make life real tough for her," one 40-year-old mother says.

Another sees no problem in dressing young girls as though they were streetwalkers.

"What's wrong with fashion that exposes a lot of skin?" a 36-year-old mom asks. "If the kids like it, let 'em wear it. I think it's kinda cute."

Yumiko Mizuno is one mother who has no qualms about letting her daughters bare it all if that means a one-way ticket down easy street. Mizuno is paying particular attention to her 11-year-old daughter who's keen on getting into showbiz.

"If we got an offer for her to do a swimsuit photo shoot, of course I'd snap it up right away. With glee," Mizuno tells Josei Seven. "Nude shots and adult movies are out, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with swimsuit shots where she puts on sexy poses. The kids may be a bit embarrassed, but they've got to learn that this is their opening to the big time."

Writer Yuki Ishikawa says moms keen to flog off their young daughters for fame at any price have adopted a too cynical view of life.

"A lot of housewives' satisfaction with life depends more on their husbands than on themselves. How they fare in life depends on how their hubbies go. They want to make their daughters into women who are going to be alluring for good men," Ishikawa says.

It's this same allure that has others worried, particularly because of the recent spate of violent crimes against children, particularly little girls.

Stage mom Mizuno, though, says such fears are unfounded.

"Even if some guy gives a girl a lecherous look, the kids know enough to just ignore him and walk away. It's all right," she says.

Others aren't so sure. In the meantime, the trend continues.

"It's become something of an issue within the business. Once upon a time, parents used to forbid their kids from being in swimsuit shots or photo shoots. Now, we get parents telling us their kids are willing to do anything, even swimsuit shots," the talent agency employee says. "We even get some parents who tell us that if we really want them to, they'll make their kids take everything off. We don't want to have to deal with that sort of thing."

But one mom says it's worth it to do whatever it takes if fame and fortune await.

"Frankly speaking, I'd feel pretty good about myself, too, if my daughter becomes famous," she says. "And if she becomes a top pin-up model, then things become easier on the financial front, too."

Scribe Ishikawa is not convinced.

"If these mothers were truly satisfied with themselves, there'd be no reason for them to put their daughters through what they're doing," Ishikawa tells Josei Seven. "The moms should work at bettering themselves. They're not happy with their lives and want something better, but have given up on doing it for themselves and are instead forcing their kids to succeed as their substitutes."

1 comment:

Anastasia said...

It's a weird world, definitely. This post reminded me of the recent mini uproar over those Brats dolls for girls that are dressed in lingerie and leather.