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Kendall Jenner Should Be Shielded, Not Overexposed

Watching celebrity parents peddle their daughters in the name of fame and fortune is scary

Kendall JennerWell folks, another celebrity’s innocent child bites reality TV dust prompting many to reach for the remote and change the channel or turn off the set as the only way to escape watching unrealistic TV rubbish. In this case, we're talking about the sand stirred up under Kendall Jenner's feet when her recent photo shoot for a modeling portfolio hit the media.

Now that the dirt has somewhat settled, we can clearly see Kris and Bruce Jenner's teenage daughter revealed more than her next career move dressed in little clothes and too much make up.  

This chapter is reminiscent of a previous story involving a minor posing in age-inappropriate photos, isn't it? This time, however, the young Jenner could have used the infamous bed sheet from the first installment of this unseemly over-sexualizing-teens trend to cover her 14-year-old figure.

The parallels we can draw between the semi-naked Jenner scandal and its antecedent, Miley Cyrus, who also appeared on national media baring too much under-aged skin at 15 are dreadfully similar. Both children had their famous parents’ blessing (if not cajoled by them) to take risqué photos. And both their fathers defended their actions telling the media that if their girls were older (18 or older) this would not be newsworthy.

What a bunch of nonsense.

Watching celebrity parents peddle their daughters in the name of fame and fortune is scarier than seeing the disproportionate amount of smoky eye shadow used on Kendall Jenner’s nubile face. Parents are supposed to shield their children, not overexpose them to the stares and glares of weirdos and perverts involved in the fame and money-making machine.

In a recent interview, the until-now lone voice of reason on his family’s reality television show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” dad Bruce Jenner said that having his adolescent daughter Kendall pose provocatively in a string bikini for a photo shoot was not a big deal.  In fact, he referred to his teenage daughter’s photos as “hot shots."

To be sure, Bruce Jenner continues to cash in on his admirable Olympic accomplishments that took place over 30 years ago — he appeared in ads endorsing everything from cereal to shampoo — and may think it’s time to cash in on his girls while the show is “hot."

He further justified the youngster’s sexy modeling portfolio shots by adding, “If she were 25, no one would care.”

We’ve heard these feeble parenting excuses before, haven’t we?

Turn the page back a couple of years to the other teen celeb scandal, the Vanity Fair photo shoot of a sheet-clad Miley Cyrus, who also raised eyebrows for her apparently topless cover photo. This scandal was the turning point that seems to have sent the adolescent down a smutty path made worse by subsequent incongruous teen behavior (can you say lap dance?), and supported by father Billy Ray Cyrus who has tried to publicly excuse his daughter’s behavior by saying “this is what kids her age do."

Parenting aside, nepotism is regularly practiced in Hollywood, so celebrity offspring springing up in movies, television shows or commercials is not surprising at all.  In this same vein, Kendall’s opportunity to become a model at this young age isn’t the product of her own doing, but a result of her families’ involvement in the entertainment industry.

The real (non)surprise was to hear mommy Kris Jenner express her permissiveness on television about her underage daughter’s fast tracked modeling career being a "wonderful opportunity," and that her revealing portraits were nothing to worry about.  

Do the parents on this show have a total disconnect with the reality of how we view this family on television?

In a recent appearance at a mommy blogger convention in New York to promote a national orange juice brand, the decathlon Olympic medalist responded to a question regarding the strained relationship broadcast on national television between daughter Kourtney Kardashian and Scott, the father of her child. Bruce simply answered that Scott was drinking less and was doing much better — suggesting to the concerned attendee that tuning in to the upcoming season premiere was the only way to find out.

Over e-mail, I asked the blogger, Natalie of thebobbypin.com, what her impression of the exchange with Jenner was and she said, “He just seemed like he was talking tabloid though. He ended the conversation with a plug about the season premiere. Except it isn't tabloid — they are real people. And his family. I imagine that would be a hard disconnect because a lot of the decisions you are making end up being for the show, you know?”

This particular reality television family appears to have lost touch with reality and its members reduced to living not as people, but as the characters they portray on TV playing out in a very public drama with the depth of a plasma television set.

Hopefully, adolescent Kendall will be spared the media's scrutiny brought on by a lack of parental supervision and guidance and will be allowed to grow up with more dignity — similar to her three half-sisters' childhood before they exploded on the small screen as women in their 20s.

But, the bigger question remains: Will we tune in to watch the Kardashians continue to trash themselves on television?

I will!

I won’t be changing the channel from one of my, and most of America’s, favorite dysfunctional family reality TV shows.  

On the contrary, I'll continue to watch Hollywood's mock real-life programs to learn from other's mistakes … and feel better about ourselves.

Suzette Valle was recognized by Time Warner Cable as one of San Diego's Best Moms. She is the author of "101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up" (Walter FosterJr. Fall 2015), a reference book for kids. She has appeared on the "Dr. Phil" show discussing the effects of reality shows on families. Her posts have been featured on Fox,YahooMovies.com, and Movies.MSN.com. A mother of two, she lives in San Diego with her husband. She blogs about parenting and Hollywood's influence on children's daily lives and family values at www.MamarazziKnowsBest.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SuzetteValle.