A 12-year-old girl participated in the 11th annual Chinese Professional Modeling competition’s Shanxi regional finals, held in the provincial capital of Taiyuan on Tuesday night. Guo Xin (郭昕), a girl who’s yet to begin middle school, managed to take home an Award for Excellence at the competition, where she happened to be the youngest contestant. We aren’t sure if Guo was amongst the 6 models chosen from 50 Shanxi contestants that would go on to compete in the national finals, but really, it’s quite beyond the point.
We always thought the Chinese notion of pedophilia was a quite literal and non-sexual love of children. It’s understandable that kids are the centerpieces of families, since the traditional urge to coddle kids has been exacerbated by the one-child policy, and parents also have more money to spend than ever before. Turn on the television and you’re sure to see a commercial who’s main attraction is a little girl or boy being nauseatingly cute.
However, we’ve personally detected a change in recent years, where young Chinese children are more readily paraded in sexualized situations throughout the spectrum of media. It might be argued that so many unsettling situations happen in China since the sheer speed of societal change means moral norms have yet to catch up. Lack of precedents can result in a lack of smart choices.
We for one do not think allowing a 12-year-old to take part in a modeling competition involving bikinis is a smart choice. Granted, child sexualization is more a problem of the current era that transcends borders, with entertainment properties like Miley Cyrus, and other products of the Disney entertainment machine leading the vanguard in providing titillating fare for tweens and pedophiles alike.
Even other Asian countries might be accused of having their blinders on when it comes to allowing underage girls to become pinups and online gallery material.
The exact reasons for the shift are debated constantly, but the short answer for why the current state-of-affairs exists might be something to do with late-stage capitalism and technology, and the fact that the public’s craving for stimulation in a consumerist society sooner or later trumps prudishness and modesty.
Perhaps we’re wrong, and there’s nothing to worry about. If Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson can be ogled as underaged entertainers, why can’t a 12-year-old primary school girl in a bikini?