When I first became a mum I lived in the inner city of Sydney next to a massive shopping centre. One morning I was pushing my pram towards the centre, dreaming of banana bread and a skim cap, when I saw a crazy-long line of mums, babies and toddlers. Were The Wiggles performing that day and I’d missed the notice?
I asked one of the mum’s what was going on and she said there was a competition being run by a popular baby brand to find the cutest baby possible to be part of their next campaign. These mums – who probably should have been at home putting their babies down for a nap or making sure they didn’t put anything except toys in their mouths – were lining up for HOURS waiting to see if their baby was the cutest. They were then harassing family and friends to vote for their babies.
My son was cute but I didn’t consider lining up even for a second. Why would I put my baby up to be judged by others? Why would I do that to him?
It’s bad enough when they are babies. As our children get older, what sort of message does it send to them when a large part of our discussions with them involves how cute or pretty they are, how great this photo is or that, how they should be careful not to fall over while playing because they have a job the next day. What does it do to our children when we decide, on their behalf, that they will be child models?
Philip, my oldest, was cute but covered in eczema so even if I’d entered him in the competition he never would have won. It was with my second-born Giovanni that some family and friends suggested he be a child model.
“Giovanni has such a great smile.”
“You should put him in TV commercials.”
“You should take him to a modelling agency.”
5 reasons why I will never let my kids be child models
1. Modelling is shallow and vain, which is fine for those who can put it in perspective, but how does a child even begin to understand that how they look is part of their life, not all of it;