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Tatler under fire for dubbing 16-year-old Brooklyn Beckham 'hot, ready & legal'

2015-10-29
British fashion and lifestyle magazine Tatler has come under fire over an article branding David and Victoria Beckham's eldest son Brooklyn "hot, ready and legal" in the wake of his 16th birthday. In an article entitled 'The Posh Girl's Pin-Up: Brooklyn Beckham', writer Annabel Rivkin argues that the teenager now ranks as one of Britain's most eligible bachelors, while referring to the school-age model's a "pin-up value" and thinly-veiled references to his manhood. brooklyn   “He's 16. So he's suddenly legal. Which means there are options that three months ago there would not have been. So that's diverting. Hot. Ready. Legal.” She adds that that the school-age model had "the pin-up value of One Direction rolled into one human boy with first-generation-Sloane appeal" and - in reference to a comment his ex-girlfriend Chloë Grace Moretz once made about his love of skateboarding - "If he does have a pretty small skateboard then there’s no need to tell everyone. It’s just vulgar." Media commentators have been quick to condemn the article, branding it "grossly inappropriate" and that if a male writer had written a similar article about 16-year-old boy or girl there would be public outrage. In an opinion piece for Metro, Hannah Flint argued that the article was "the written equivalent of a Page 3 photo", and that Tatler were guilty of "objectifying a teenage boy". She continued:
After reading the piece I’m surprised the magazine didn’t do a countdown prior to his turning 16 like The Sun did with Charlotte Church back in the day. From calling him ‘B-Dawg’ (Stop) to alluding to his penis (Seriously, stop it right now) the article is as awkward as it is grossly inappropriate.
Meanwhile, The Telegraph's Rebecca Reid argued that a similar article about a young female would have - wrongly - inspired more public outrage.
The Tatler article was obviously intended as playful and amusing, but there’s a far more insidious side to what it represents. It contributes to the idea that a young man’s sexuality is public property, which is genuinely problematic. Boys are expected to be testosterone fuelled Lotharios who can’t wait to get their end away, even if they’re still technically children. When we blithely accept a woman discussing the attraction of a child 20 years her junior, we perpetuate the idea that fantasising about children is acceptable. And while, in this specific instance, I don’t fear for Brooklyn’s safety, we have allowed for far too long a false notion that young men cannot be abused. That is exactly the kind of reverse sexism it’s our job to destroy.
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