Frilled Neck Fashion dancewear company accused of using sexualised images of pre-teen models

Frilled Neck Fashion Instagram post.
Frilled Neck Fashion Instagram post. Photo: Instagram/Lisa Young of Cloud Dancer Photography

​Frilled Neck Fashion is an Australian dancewear company, but you would be forgiven for thinking that the pictures on their Instagram account belonged on the centrefold of an old school men's mag. 

The models pose seductively in skimpy outfits. The captions use words like 'this beauty' and 'this angel'. The comments include "wow you're so gorgeous" "You look extremely stunning," and "sexy."

This would be par for the course if Frilled Neck Fashion were adverting clothes for glamour models. But when you consider that some of the models are actually as young as nine, the photos take on an entirely different feel.

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Photo: Frilled Neck Fashion Instagram

Caitlin Roper is the campaigns manager at women's advocacy group Collective Shout. She told the ABC that she is appalled and shocked by the adult-like poses and styling contained in the photo shoots.

"What's disturbing about these photographs is that at some point, someone told this child, 'Lay down on the ground, arch your back, don't smile, look serious and pout'."

More worrying still, the ABC said that some of the girls featured in the photos could be easily tracked down using details that were publicly available.

"You can find these girls so easily by tracking them online, their profiles are often public and they give up a lot of information about who they are and where they live."

"It's really quite risky; it's something [parents] need to be aware of," Roper said. 

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Noting that even seemingly innocent family photos of children in everyday life were being extracted and sexualised by paedophiles, Roper says that the risk to the young Frilled Neck Fashion models is "extremely concerning."

"This is a case of adults failing to act in the best interest of the child," she said.

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Photo: Frilled Neck Fashion Instagram

But parents of the models have hit back and claim that they don't see a problem with the photos.

Cindy is the mother of an 11-year-old who has posed for Frilled Neck Fashion. She told the ABC that her daughter loves to wear beautiful costumes.

"They are gorgeous girls wearing gorgeous costumes. There is absolutely nothing sexual about these photos," she said.

Jodi Gibson vehemently disagrees. Gibson has four daughters and has been a "dance mum" for the last 13 years. She also owned her own dancewear store for three years.

"Sure dancewear can be skimpy, but in the correct context and in the correct dance poses there is nothing sexual about it," she tells Essential Kids.

"But the poses used [in the Frilled Neck Fashion photos] are not dance poses, they are almost seductive."

Gibson says that in her experience, most dancewear companies are responsible in their advertising.

"It is a shame that [Frilled Neck Fashion] thinks it's okay to promote dancewear in this way," she says.

It is a serious matter. Last year the UK's Internet Watch Foundation found that 88 per cent of photographs uploaded to parasite pornography websites came from social media posts.

Dance teacher Jemma Nicholl is campaigning for stronger guidelines for dance studios. She says that the photos are undeniably sexualised, regardless of what some parents believe.

"There's no denying that these children are positioned to have attention clearly drawn to specific body parts — their chest, their crotch," she told the ABC.

"Facial expressions are sultry, and some images even present the illusion of nudity. There is nothing child-like about these pictures."

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Photo: Frilled Neck Fashion Instagram/Lisa Young of Cloud Dancer Photography.

Nicholls wants to implement safer, smarter practices in local dance halls to help prevent the exploitation of children.

"As dance educators, we have the potential to be a key influence in the most formative years of a child's life," she said.

"That automatically issues us with a responsibility to safeguard not only the physical, however the mental and emotional wellbeing of children too."

What do you think? Are these images sexualising children? Comment below or join the discussion on the Essential Kids Forum.

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