An advertisement for Marc Jacobs's "Oh Lola!" perfume featuring 17-year-old actress Dakota Fanning has been banned in the United Kingdom by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), with critics saying the provocative photo sexualizes children.
In the photo, Fanning is posed sitting down with an over-sized perfume bottle with a large floral top between her legs. Although the actress was 17 years old when the photo was taken, members of ASA said in a statement that Fanning clearly looks younger than her age and is concerned it sends an inappropriate message.
"We noted that the model was holding up the perfume bottle which rested in her lap between her legs and we considered that it's position was sexually provocative," said the organization in a statement "We understood the model was 17 years old but we considered she looked under the age of 16. We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality. Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualize a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offense."
The company that makes the fragrances, Coty Inc., argued that the advertisement was "provoking, but not indecent" and that it did not show "any private body parts or sexual activity."
The sexualization of children is a topic the media has been coming under fire for lately.
Last August, French Vogue magazine was criticized for featuring photos of a 10-year-old model with heavy makeup wearing short skirts and heels posing suggestively in front of the camera with a sultry and seductive gaze.
In addition, the popular TLC show "Toddlers and Tiaras" has had critics saying the show helps promote the sexualization of children by broadcasting child beauty pageants, which feature young girls often dressed provocatively and performing suggestive routines as they compete for a title.