From "genuine childhood" to "age compression": a qualitative content analysis of the representation of children in fashion advertising
Istituto di Consumi, Comportamento e Comunicazione d'Impresa IULM University Milan, Italy
Print ads in the Italian fashion magazines Vogue Bambini and Mood Kid (years 2007-2008) were content analyzed to examine the conventions of representation of children. The findings of the study revealed a continuum ranging from what has been labelled as "genuine childhood" to what has been labelled as "age compression". At the one end of the continuum, children were portrayed as innocent, pure and spontaneous; at the other end, children were portrayed as replicating grown-up appearances, attitudes and behaviours, including precocious sexualisation. Moving along the continuum, four subcategories were identified: "Bon Ton", "Play","Street Style" and "Lolita". Furthermore, the study emphasized the role of children?s wear design and promotion in the gendering of the identities for boys and girls.