Abuse vs Art: Is There a Line?

Eva Ionesco is a French model and actress but she’s making headlines for something other than her career. When Eva was eleven, she made her American modeling debut—in Playboy. Eva is the youngest person to ever appear in the magazine. That’s not all of it; Ionesco’s mother, Irina Ionesco, took the pictures.

Irina Ionesco is a self-taught photographer who gained attention due to explicit images of her daughter. Many of the photos feature coquettish poses, fetishistic clothing, and nudity. Eva has sued her mother and won 10,000 Euro ($13,213) in damages, as well as the negatives of the many explicit photographs taken of her between the ages of four and 12 years old.

Eva has said the photos resulted in her “stolen childhood” and made a movie about life with her mother called, “My Little Princess”. This isn’t a new story to Americans, however—we’ve lived through this with Brooke Shields whose own mother set up a nude photo shoot for her then ten-year-old with the hopes of a Playboy spread as well.

Evan Rachel Wood is another star whose mother pushed her to act, learn French, and modeled her daughter after Jodie Foster. Evan is quoted as saying, “I actually got to sit down with Jodie and I thought, ‘Not that this is a bad thing, but you’ve haunted me my entire life. I don’t know whether to kiss you or punch you.”

In the age of Dakota and Elle Fanning, the Olsen Twins, and Honey Boo Boo, there will never be a shortage of stage mothers trying to live through their children, or trying to cash in on them for that matter. The real question is how much responsibility does society have in this?

Should Playboy also have been sued for publishing the nude photos of an underage girl? Should Brooke Sheilds mother have been prosecuted for sexualizing her daughter? Should the director and producer of Blue Lagoon have to stand trial for exposing her in that film?

There’s a celebrity culture in the country and we tend to forgive these people because they make more money and have a better life than we do. It’s all covered up by saying, “its art”. When does it cross the line from art to abuse?

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