I was in a local bookstore doing some post holiday exchanges when the cover of the January 1st edition of Maclean’s magazine virtually jumped off the shelf and smacked me across the face.
The cover features a very young girl around 10, wearing a miniskirt, fishnet stockings and pink tank top with silver lettering on it that says “Made You look”. Uh, yep, you did. The cover article is called “Why do we dress our daughters like skanks?”
It’ss a great question. As the father of a young girl, I am concerned about the growing acceptance of sexualized children. I commend Maclean’s for posing the question and pushing this issue and for emphasizing the point that we, as parents, can do something about it. We don’t have to dress our girls like this. But often, we are not even aware of how insidiously acceptable provocative kids clothing has become. I mean, how much time do we have to really understand the subtleties of the meaning behind the shades of pink we dress our girls in? We battle advertising and marketing and compete against multi billion dollars industries who can spend more money and time analyzing and exploiting each and every weakness we, and our children have.
But the sexualtization machine for young girls doesn’t stop with clothing – it extends to the toys they play with. I’ve ranted about Bratz before, but somehow they have become so popular that there is now an even sicker Baby Bratz collection. How can we, in any way shape or form, find these kinds of toys normal? How can we continue to walk by them in the aisles of toy stores and not feel revulsion?
And don’t even get me started on the new clothing company called “Pimpfants”, featuring a line of clothes called “Baby Beaters” and t-shirts emblazoned with sayings like “My Mommy’s a M.I.L.F.” I’d like to hear a Mom who buys this for their kid explain to them exactly what a M.I.L.F. is. Oh, how hip and ironic it all is.
It’s not hard to see how we got to this point. We worship skanks. How else could someone like Paris Hilton become a pop culture icon?
Don’t get me wrong here. I am all for mature, grown women celebrating their sexuality. It’s one of the core principles of third wave feminists. But Fergie being “Fergalicious” cavorting in a Brownie uniform showing off her “candy” is not a celebration of sexuality – it’s a way to sell records and make money by being provocative. It’s a perverse bastardization, a co-opting of the principles of sexual freedom. And I believe it does real harm to our society.
I wish I could link you directly to the article, but I can’t find it on the Maclean’s website. Instead, I’ll link you to some interesting books and authors that the article references and interviews.
- Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom
- Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes
- Consuming Kids: Protecting Our Children from the Onslaught of Marketing & Advertising