Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Letter of the Day | Pulse's sexualising of schoolgirls objectionable

Published:Monday | September 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I have noted with great interest the media promotion surrounding Pulse's School Search, and exercised restraint in making a judgement call, that is before I came upon a newly erected billboard at the model agency's headquarters on Trafalgar Road advertising their call for young models.

The billboard in question showcases a group of five bikini-clad high-school students who, based on Pulse's ads in the newspaper, attend such notable educational institutions as Mount Alvernia, Excelsior High, and St Hugh's High School for Girls. In good taste, how can this be allowed?

It is highly irresponsible on the part of Pulse to have female minors still enrolled in secondary institutions promoted in this manner for public consumption on the busy thoroughfare of Trafalgar Road. Have they not learnt from their own past?

It was only 10 years ago (Gleaner, Tuesday, September 23, 2008) when a then 13-year-old Shermonique Ivey won Pulse Fashion Model Search and a furore erupted over the teenager being paraded down the runway in a bikini for said competition. So intense was the public outrage, it drew the ire of many, and even resulted in the Office of the Children's Advocate launching an investigation into Ivey being awarded the winner.

Young girls under 18 years of age and still on the journey to a sound education, should not be made bikini poster girls - or, in this case, sexy billboard models to promote an agency's quest to find high-school teenagers with ambitions for an international modelling career.

In a time when reports of Jamaican women being subjected to sexual violence and harassment isn't uncommon news, will common sense prevail in not having schoolgirls, not quite yet women, being sexually objectified?

As a mother of 16-year-old and 14-year-old schoolgirls, I am absolutely outraged at the borderline tawdry billboard spotlight that the almost 40-year-old model agency has opted to shine on our young women.

Over to you, Pulse.

CLAUDIA MILLER

Sydenham Villas, St Catherine