Just this morning a friend of mine sent me a Skype message with a link. Typical of me, I started reading an article by LZ Granderson for CNN. The title read ‘Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps and because I am a parent’ and feel the same way I read on. While he was describing what caught his eye at the airport, I was thinking he was talking about a 16 year old teenager.
He was describing an 8 year old girl to be wearing a halter top that showed her midriff paired with a tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist with the word “Juicy” written on the pants backside. Her lips were pink and shiny from the lip gloss with her long hair braided ala Bo Derek in the movie 10 and wearing dangling earrings.
While I was trying to picture his description, I really wasn’t that happy with what I was getting. While we want to make sure our kids look okay, trendy, cool but as a parent I do not feel it’s proper to let them wear skimpy outfits that show a lot of skin. Okay, am a little conservative that I don’t even consider it right to see young ladies wearing a top that shows half her body so you can just imagine how I would feel if it’s an 8 year old.
I should not be surprised since Abercrombie recently came up with a push up, padded triangle bathing suit top. They might have changed the name to striped triangle and the because of the public outcry but the damage has been done. For Abercrombie and other retailers to produce these products we are sending a message to little girls that suggest something is wrong with their bodies and for them to be more “desirable” they need to wear this padded bra. Women are desirable, kids are cute! No question about that. The fact that little girls want to wear these things because it’s the hot and trendy thing is something that parents need to look into especially if they want to wear one because they want to be attractive and desirable.
In 2007, the American Psychological Association Task Force released a report examining the sexualization of young girls via the media. They looked at media such as television, movies, music videos, video games, magazines and products such as toys and clothing. According to the report, the sexualization of girls can undermine their confidence in and comfort with their own body, cause mental health problems including eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression, and have negative consequences on developing a healthy self-image. What is worse is that these provocative outfits are often equated with sexual availability and though some kids do not intend to be sexy still these clothes may send the wrong message or may be misconstrued.
I definitely agree with the author when he says that although it’s ok to blame retailers but it is still the parents who are responsible. For one, not all online clothing stores carry provocative apparel for kids. Second and more importantly, it is up to the parents to make sure that when their children go out of their house whether to simply be with friends or go out on a party they are properly clothed. Parents are the ones who buy their children clothes, not the kids, and that gives them the opportunity to choose the right clothes for children. It can be trendy and fashionable, without being provocative, so that your children still wear them. Now if they insist on wearing skimpy clothes then it is just but right to impose rules. It may be hard for parents to say no to their children’s request for these latest on fad outfits but then this is also the right time to explain and help them understand the consequences that dressing provocatively can have.
Let us remember that we are parents and our role in life is to provide our children the proper guidance that would make them productive members of the society. I have always told my son we can be friends and that means I listen to him and his ideas, we go out together, we play, we argue, we can do so many things together but there are rules to be followed on some aspects in his life that I believe calls for it and I will insist on that. Am doubly glad he is a boy and at 13 may be a little fashion conscious but still one cannot go wrong with pants, shirts and polos…well, I still don’t want his underwear showing and his pants falling off his butt but other than that we’re cool.