Alessandra Ambrosio is one gutsy mama. The Brazilian model (you probably know her as the face of Victoria's Secret PINK?) took her young daughter Anja to work with her recently and let photographers for a London Fog campaign shoot photos of the little girl. Bare-chested photos!
Now let me throw a disclaimer out right away. I'm not accusing anyone of kiddie porn here. I'm not even saying we've got a case of bad parenting -- video of the shoot shows a little girl absolutely delighted to be working with Mommy. The photos aren't even straight on, so the girl's chest area is covered by Alessandra's own.
But there's a fine line between the days when it's OK for a little girl to run around without a shirt on and the day it very suddenly becomes "inappropriate."
Looking at the photos of Alessandra and Anja, I'm inclined to say the girl is "young enough," that this ad image is "OK" to be out there in magazines where everyone is going to see it. But what is young enough? Or, for that matter, what is old enough for a girl to stop being shirtless in public?
Is it 5? Is it 7? Is it when a girl is actually developed enough to need a bra?
It's a struggle that's been ongoing in my house. Like Alessandra, I have a little girl. And like little Anja, my daughter has no problem going bare-chested. Or bare everything else for that matter.
I'm stuck between being relieved that I'm raising a little girl who is comfortable in her own skin and unease over how to raise a little girl who fits within basic societal norms. That word appropriate just keeps hitting me over the head. What is appropriate? Should I even care?
I still remember the first time my mother told me I'd have to wear a shirt while my younger brother went without. I was confused. I thought I'd done something wrong. I felt betrayed by my body.
I don't want to do that to my daughter. I don't want her to feel like there's something wrong with her. I don't want her to feel ashamed of herself.
And yet, there comes that moment when it will simply have to happen, when a photo like the one we'll soon see of little Anja all over the magazines will be a problem. One day she will have to keep her shirt on, and that will be that. I just don't know when.
What do you think is the right age? Is Alessandra's daughter below your cut-off or above?
Image via London Fog