From the article:
What’s the point of pumping school curricula choc-full of lessons about positive body image and the importance of diversity, if it’s undermined by the informal curriculum that comes with school life?
The messy business of actual childhood has been erased, and replaced by an idealised childhood — and an idealised child. The lesson here is that children are no longer permitted to look like children. Instead, they need to look like a feature spread in the pages of Studio Bambini….
Philosophers have a name for this. It’s called a simulacrum. A simulacrum is “an image without the substance or qualities of the original”. The photographic company has effectively reduced Mahli’s likeness to a simulacrum. It’s a memory of a child who never quite existed.