The ‘mediated’ Public Sphere and the Effects of Sexualisation and Advertisement on Children

This week in the lecture we had a look at the ‘mediated’ public sphere and were asked to analyse a popular media text and how it might contribute to debate in a ‘mediated’ public sphere. The popular media text I have chosen is a photo from Vogue Paris from 2011. Although this image is 3 years old I still believe that it would still be relevant in a debate today.

But first, what is a ‘mediated’ public sphere? Well, a public sphere is a “…virtual space where communication about public issues takes place,…”, this basically means people come together in this metaphorical sphere to discuss public issues (McKee, 2005). The public sphere becomes a ‘mediated’ public sphere when a mediator is introduced to help direct the discussion, an example of a ‘mediated’ public sphere includes the program Insight hosted by Jenny Brockie.

Image from Vogue Paris 2011
Image from Vogue Paris 2011

My popular media text is a picture of Thylane Blondeau from the magazine Vogue Paris in 2011. Little Blondeau was only 10 at the time and has been seductively laid out on a leopard print bed spread with what appears to be two rabbits, she is dressed in a tight golden dress with matching heels and necklace, and looks as if she’s been attacked by the makeup crew one too many times. This media text would contribute to debates over the sexualisation of children in the media, the behavior of children in relation to sexual themes, exposing children to adult content and advertising, debates over how old models should be and the possible mental disorders that could develop from exposure to the fashion industry. (Gale, 2011) (Sky, 2014)

Most of these issues arise because of the advertising and fashion industries being self-regulated with a voluntary code of ethics meaning nothing will be done about provocative media unless someone complains. (Gale, 2011) With the code of ethics remaining voluntary, they can remain interested in making money first and thinking about the well-being of those they employ and those they sell to second. (Gale, 2011) (Sky, 2014)

That’s all for this week, goodbye.

Gale, J., 2011. Sexualisation of Children and Young Teens. Educating Young Children – Learning and Teaching in the Early Childhood Years, 17(2), pp. 21 – 23.

McKee, A., 2005. Introduction. In: An Introduction to the Public Sphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 01-31.

Sky, J., 2014. Protect Children in the Fashion Industry from Exploitation. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 05 April 2014].


3 thoughts on “The ‘mediated’ Public Sphere and the Effects of Sexualisation and Advertisement on Children

  1. I agree with your comments about the advertising and fashion industries being self-regulated in terms of the voluntary code of ethics. It raises the question of how effective is this self-regulation in controlling appropriate images? Is it time for stronger restrictions or will there always be cowboys who will push the boundaries?

  2. I really appreciate how you analysed the image from a psychological view point as it is an issue that raises questions about the inherent damage that the fashion industry can have on the developmental mind, It really is a scary and nasty concept that the media condones the sexualisation of such young and obviously unaware people who have not chosen this for themselves. I also liked the way you drew on the industries self-regulatory process as a means of outlining the complete lack of protection for these child models. Thanks for raising some awareness of the issue for us BCM110 bloggers 🙂

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