Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Will they wonder why we didn't stop the make-overs at 5...

What IS IT to be female today?

What does it mean? For all of us...


And where does it start?




What will it be like for women 70 years from now, looking back, seeing the images of us? What will they think? Will they wonder why we didn't stop the make-overs at 5... (Ad for Club Libby Lu: Would you like to have your hair done up, put makeup on, and look like you're ready for a big party? But you can't because you're "only a kid?" Don't worry any more---now you CAN get your hair done---and you MUST be a kid!)

7 year old Birthday PartyJust harmless fun, right?
Will they question our focus on teenage sexuality?

Tshirt from Abercrombie & Fitch: Who needs brains when you have these? (T-shirts were pulled & the company released this statement:"We recognize that the shirts in question, while meant to be humorous, might be troubling to some." )

Might be troubling to some?

The T-shirts were pulled because a group of approximately 2 dozen girls staged a protest. They were successful.



And it isn't just about girls....




What will they say? ..................GIRLS GONE WILD?

Are these our daughters?
Do these images reflect... us? Is this what we want?



Where did we draw the line in the sand?


What will they say years from now? About US...


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46 comments:

Mary Alice said...

oh. This post made me want to cry. Really. It is so sad. How did we get here....and how do we get out of here?

Kate said...

This is so sad. How did this happen? It wasn't just men who allowed this imagery to thrive.

phd in yogurtry said...

Wow, JCK! What a right-on, thought provoking and necessary post.

I do wonder "where will it end?" Or.. "will it ever end?" Women as sexual plaything seems too juicy to give up for a large segment of our (distorted) society. I know too many moms and dads who knod aprovingly as their daughters strut about in provocative attire, seemingly clueless about the larger implications. I'm hoping the messages learned AT HOME will have a stronger impact than the sex-kitten media images. I feel as though I'm hanging on by a thread, though.

Rima said...

I was shocked by those images. I must have been living under a rock, because I had no idea that it's gotten so bad. What do we do?

Manic Mommy said...

I have no words, save one: NO!

blognut said...

Wow! This absolutely rocked me. You have hit it right on the head with this post, JCK. I'm showing it to my daughters TODAY.

Diane said...

Blognut sent me... and I'm glad she did. I have a 9-year-old daughter and this is an issue that's concerned me for ages. I work really hard to keep her from being exposed to too much; from growing up too fast; from dressing inappropriately. But there are girls in her class who are already in heels and make-up - at 9 and 10 years old. It makes me feel ill and I want to smack their mothers!

pasadenapio said...

I'm thankful that my daughter and son-in-law raised my granddaughter, now 18, with a sense of self as well as a sense of modesty. They would never, ever let her out of her bedroom, much less the house, dressed in anything that showed her navel, cleavage or was too short.

She no longer lives at home but still dresses appropriately, thankfully.

That being said, most of her friends dress like prostitutes in training.

happygeek said...

When i saw the picture of the birthday party I wanted to cry.
Cry.
What happened to playing outside with your dolls? Im gonna be the mean mom who says no to these parties.
My kids will be kids and act like kids as long as they are kids.

Margaret said...

Very, very disturbing. But we need to focus on those two dozen protesting girls, right? They are the future too. And they can change things. I know so many strong girls. I have to have faith in them.

Jen said...

It is all so disturbing! But, the fact that those girls (from my area! - how did I not hear about that?), were successful in their protests! Awesome! It just shows that we CAN control what is put out there. If we refuse to watch, and refuse to buy the products, they WILL go away.

skywind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I love that a small group of women did lead to those shirts being pulled.

I feel so lucky that my friends and I have banded together for our girls and just said no to this crap.

Believe, in kindergarten Lexi asked why she couldn't wear belly shirts like X,Y, & Z. I was sad for those little girls too.

Anyway, you JCK, are leading the way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

All Adither said...

Holy cow. This is really eye opening.

flutter said...

seriously, my heart hurts

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This really hits home. It is a constant struggle and balancing act with a teenage daughter--we talk about this stuff all the time. I must say that I've never seen some of what I saw today in your post.

Jennifer H said...

I hope that if enough of us, the parents of this generation, refuse to allow our daughters to dress like this, that we can change what is put in stores. But obviously, as those birthday party photos show, there are enough parents who don't seem to see anything wrong with it. It's insidious and it turns my stomach.

Amazing, important post, my friend.

Kalynne Pudner said...

Hurray for the Blogosphere that allows words (and images) like these to get out. There ARE pockets of resistance, but they've been just discrete, isolated pockets. What power we'd have strung together!

I have one friend who's taught her teenage son to carry a light jacket in his car; whenever a girl he's with is dressed too skimpily, he offers the jacket to her ("You must be freezing," I imagine him saying). Hear tell it's been very effective in his social circle!

Have you met http://blogs.modestlyyours.net/modestly_yours/wendy_shalit/ ?

kcinnova said...

Wow. Sent here by Jenn at Juggling Life, I am appalled and sickened to see all of those images together. I knew some of what was "out there" and it has made me thankful to be rearing sons instead of daughters -- although I write that and fear I sound flippant in my response.

Janet said...

We start kindergarten in the fall. So far we haven't run into inappropriate clothing, but I'm sure we will then. I mentioned before that pageants are HUGE around here, and I get a lot of pressure to enter the Queen. But every time I see pictures like these all I can think of is Jon-Benet Ramsey. HappyGeek and I can be the mean Mommies together.

Anonymous said...

It really is sad. Your post was very powerful.

Reluctant Blogger said...

I don't see it so much either here or where I live in the UK. But it is probably more of a class thing in the UK or a big city thing. Where we live children have to wear school uniform from when they start at age 4 to when they leave at 18 so you don't get too much inappropriate wear at school (although girls stretch the rules as i did as a girl - skirts shorter than theyshould be etc).

But with tiny tots it's down to the parents. It is up to them to resist the children's demands. To be honest until children are old enough to earn their own money, the parent holds the power, as they cannot buy their own clothes, they need a parent to do it for them.

My daughter has always been self-contained. I suppose she grew up in an environment where we pull adverts apart and take the piss out of them and where we talk about how the way you dress, and look can mark you out in many ways and determine the way others think of you and want you might be prepared to do.

Oh I don't know - I feel I suppose in my heart that you are getting too worked up about this but when I look at your photos, then I think maybe it is me who is being just a little too relaxed. In my middle class academic little world, where we watch little TV, I just don't see any of this or perhaps I choose not to see it.

Coffee with Cathy said...

Thank you so much for this timely post. It reminded me of the America's Next Top Model episode where Tyra Banks asked models to pose in the park playing childhood games because "society makes girls grow up too fast." Ya think????!!!!

Mendy said...

These pictures are revolting and I have already begun the battle to keep inappropriate inflences away from my 5 year old daughter. I will gladly be the "mean" mommy. But I also agree with what Margaret said. There are good, smart kids out there and they should get praise for making good decisions. I don't think these pictures are representative of the majority.

Anonymous said...

I for one am confident enough in my parenting to know that my daughter would be able to attend a *gasp* pop star party without becoming a future slut.

Have a nice day.

Professor J said...

Great post, Motherscribe. As I've said before, I am concerned for the safety of young women who are so sexualized at such a young age. "Violate Me" indeed.

Heather T said...

Wonderful post!

I just sent it to my daughter, 15-years-old. I told her when she was done reading to forward the link to all her girlfriends. Maybe if they can all be aware and outraged, this can stop. They need to be outraged when they are young, not look back in horror when they are (hopefully) enlightened later.

San Diego Momma said...

It's so disturbing. I recently wrote a letter to an editor here in San Diego about the American Apparel ads they have on the magazine's back cover (young girl about 10 in wet t-shirt) and his answer? They pay the bills.

Hopefully, one by one, we will ALL (including the media) take responsibility for what's being created here and turn the tide.

Jason, as himself said...

This must have just slowly crept in over the years and until BAM! This question is asked over and again, "How did we get here?"

I'm lucky that my daughters never wanted to sexualize themselves in this fashion; I don't know how I would have handled it.

Tit for Tat said...

This post reminds me of a great saying.

"As far goes our self control, as far goes our freedom"

Angeline said...

can I tell you... I'm not liking the change from when I was 5years old to this new age when I see my nieces so young, going for all these... and you ask 70years from now??? I'm already shaking my head now, I think 10years from now, I'll be protesting!!! hmmm.....

A. said...

Those birthday photos make me want to cry.

I'm not a mom, but I do a lot of shopping for expecting friends. Am I the only one surprised and saddened by all the bikinis for infants?

Allison

Midwest Mom said...

Oh, JCK. I know it's a problem, but the images make me sick to my stomach. My only daughter is 3, and she still loves pretty dresses and the color pink. When I think about the over-sexualized world she has been born into, part of me wants to hide. But another part of me wants to shake my fist and say No More! I am already guarded about what she sees and wears, but I know that when she enters school, I may just have a battle on my hands.

For me, few battles have ever been this important. We need to save our girls -- NOW.

Thanks for this post. - Julia

Susan said...

I am older than most of your readers I have seen this coming for 20 years!

I started complaining to retailers back in the early 90's when my kids started to be influenced by this kind of stuff, so they have grown up listening to me"lecture" on the subject. If all parents complained to retailers and DIDN'T BUY IN - it would change.

I even pulled my daughter out of dance classes when they insisted on sexualizing the dances and costumes. She was 10. All the other mommies thought they looked cute.

I'm not a prude and my daughters dress like most other young women, but they understand that there are lines to be drawn.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

This is so disheartening. And sickening. Susan is right, lines have been crossed. Sadly.

Reinvent Dad said...

The sexualization of young girls makes me want to get physically ill. Parents enter them in pageants with make-up, grown-up hairstyles and provocative clothing for their own monetary gain. This practice has been going on for many years, and goes well beyond the innocent wearing of princess gowns for pretend play.

I want my three daughters to be beautiful on the inside and outside....the best gift you can give your kids is their innocence as long as possible! Great article..I'll be back

g said...

I can't say anything better than the previous commenters did - this is horrible. The Tshirt at the top is particularly disgusting. Seriously - what is the message there?

stephanie (bad mom) said...

I feel like my daughter (8) gets what we mean when we say no to certain clothing, even though some of her friends are allowed to wear the belly shirts and heels.

We let her go to Club Libby Lu at Downtown Disney when she was 5 but only let them do her hair and put on some glittery lip gloss - it really was disheartening to see everyone else in that store going completely crazy with the sexy look.

I am terrified for many of my teenage students - girls & boys - because they are at such a loss about what is appropriate for them. Yes they're becoming adults but they aren't yet. I wish for them to be able to thoroughly enjoy a childhood.

painted maypole said...

i'm with mary alice, this made me want to cry, too

Ellyn said...

Just catching up on your posts.

This makes me so sad.

Ellyn said...

Just catching up on your posts.

This makes me so sad.

wheelsonthebus said...

i hope they do ask all those questions, because that will mean things have changed.

Anonymous said...

I'M A YOUNG MOM AND I HAVE 2 GIRLS (7 & 3) AND MY GIRLS LOVE TO PLAY WITH MAKE UP AND PRETEND THEY ARE ROCK STARS AND I DON'T THINK THIS WILL MAKE THEM TWO FUTURE WILD TEENS WE TEACH THEM VALUES AND MY OLDEST IS A HONOR STUDENT SO I BELIEVE THAT YOUR GIRLS FUTURE DEPENDS ON THE INFORMATION AND VALUES THAT YOU TEACH THEM AND NOT IN WHAT CLOTHES THEY USE OR IF THEY PLAY WITH MAKE UP OR NOT. AND BY THE WAY I LOVE MAKE UP, SHOES AND LOVE TO LOOK PRETTY AND THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME A SLUT OR A BRAINLESS WOMAN THANKS.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous, you're wrong. So long as their activities are focused on how they look as defining their person, they will continue that behavior into adulthood.

Him: You're ugly and fat but I'll have sex with you anyway.
Her: Okay, I'll try harder to make it up to you.

Andrew said...

It is not an issue of awareness (read what parents said about bikini's in the 60s) we have been aware of the oversexualization of woman for some time. It is an issue of educating woman that their worth is not created by their "cuteness," their "pinkness" or their "sweetness". Just because you can use your sexuality to manipulate weak men, doesn't me you aren't being manipulated too.

My young daughter will not be taught to be submissive/passive. She won't be taught that she has to be sweet or cute, she won't wear pink as if Disney threw up on her, and she won't just be exposed to traditional gender roles.

Mothers, and how their father treats their mother has far more influence on children then most parents think. The fact that more and more girls have single mothers raising them is exasperating this problem even more.

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