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You'd be Mad to use your child like this.

Byline: Joan Burnie

REMIND me again of exactly how old Lourdes Ciccone Leon is? Twelve going on 22, or even older by the looks of her on 51-year-old Madonna's latest video.

Is Madge trying to clone herself? Maybe she's decided that if the cosmetic surgery can't hold back her advancing years, the next best thing is to recreate herself in her daughter.

Hasn't the poor kid got enough on her plate already without being made into a mini-Madge? The weird religion. The peculiar diet. A mother who changes her men as often as some women change their knickers and who acquires children now she's past the breeding age herself.

All right, I'll grant you Lourdes' plate has always been pure 24-carat gold and materially, the girl has everything. But couldn't it be argued that Madge is robbing her of something even more precious - her childhood? Obviously there was never a hope of Lourdes enjoying a normal one. Few children of celebrities do.

That's why so many of them go more or less from school straight into rehab. But, give or take a Sharon Osbourne, most stars try to keep their children well away from the spotlight until they are out of their teens.

Not, however, Madonna. Not on this evidence. By encouraging her daughter to behave and dress like a kid in a she-wolf's clothing instead of the vulnerable 12-yearold she is, she's done the exact opposite. Madonna seldom does anything without cool, careful calculation.

As she ages, she needs to make an even bigger splash and with the release of this image of Madonna and Child to promote her new album, Celebration, she's certainly grabbed the headlines.

But who can really celebrate a woman who lets her daughter appear as Lourdes does, dressed as a bride, smothered in slap and pouting seductively at the camera? Not to put too fine a point on it, the pre-teen, as she appears in mummy dearest's latest video, isn't too many steps away from a paedo's dream.

So what the hell was Madonna thinking about? Of course she's not the only mum who has a 12-year-old desperate to become an adult much too soon. It is daft to think otherwise. The society in which we currently live doesn't help either, with chain stores promoting sexy undies for toddlers and teen mags suggesting that losing your virginity is something you do the moment you hit puberty - or even before.

But most sensible parents attempt to protect their kids from such pressures.

Not, at least on this evidence, Madonna.

Now, I do not doubt that Lourdes begged to be included in the video, just as she enjoyed appearing with her mother's dancers on stage at the end of her world tour.

So fine. Let Lourdes do both but not in this highly dubious and suggestive way.

It is said that Madonna's kids live their lives according to her strict rules. They are dragged off to Kabbalah, that odd offshoot of the Jewish religion that Madge promotes which such zeal. They are only allowed to eat macrobiotic food - whatever that is - and when she and Guy Ritchie divorced, Madonna's chief concern seemed to be that when the children stayed with him, he might slip them the occasional hamburger.

I may well be wrong but in my opinion a hamburger would do Lourdes a lot less harm than being done up like jail bait to help sell her mum's latest offering.


NOT ON: Lourdes appears in her mum's new video
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 4, 2009
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