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Opinion | Sexuality

Another Assault on Little Girls

Vogue Paris's "Gifts" photo spread is one more example of how our culture robs children of innocence.

The most recent issue of Vogue Paris (or should I say l'issue de janvier/fé vrier?) struck a nerve when it hit newsstands, upsetting the very readers who count on the magazine to be provocative. They're guaranteed it. Vogue Paris's editor in chief, Carine Roitfeld, once told a British journalist that she tries to include "something every month that is—how you say?—not politically correct. A little bit at the limit. Sex, nudity, a bit rock'n'roll, a sense of humour."

Wait, I should clarify: Roitfeld is French Vogue's former editor. Within a few weeks of the December issue's release, Roitfeld announced that she was leaving the magazine. Some commentators speculate that the Cadeaux, or, for English speakers, "Gifts," photo spread went too far, even for French Vogue. What, in this unfailingly erotic publication, could be so troubling that it would arouse rumors such as that one?

In "Cadeaux," the models are very slim—but that's nothing new. Nor is it earth-shattering that they wear too much makeup or that there is something suggestive in the picture of the model inexplicably holding a toothbrush in her mouth. Aren't such photos de rigueur for Vogue? It couldn't be the opulence of the props or that the stiletto-wearing models recline on animal skins. Nor should their blank (yet at the same time, somehow, hostile) expressions raise eyebrows. Non, c'est vrai, all of that is to be expected.

So what could be so bad that it could possibly have cost Roitfeld her job? ...

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