Slutty Clothes for Young Girls: Irresponsible Parenting?

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I am receiving positive comments regarding the “Don’t you tell us it’s just a shirt!” slides.

But what many parents are more worried about is the “slutty” trend of clothes targeted to girls at younger and younger age: mini skirts so mini that knickers are permanently on show and mini tops so mini that nothing is left to the imagination. High heels are on the rise too and we talk about 6-8 years old sizes!

I have read also many articles regarding parents complaining to chain stores for selling inappropriate clothes to young girls (a padded bra and tongue for 4 years old was a case in point) and in many instances the complaint seemed to work, at least when there was enough collective upraising regarding a particular “unsuitable” item.

Sadly, as we know, most of these clothes are still around.

The thing is: shops are selling this kind of attire as long as there is demand for them and at this stage we would expect the parents to be the buyer of course, so… this means that there are parents around who are buying into this trend, right? Instead of labelling these parents for being uncaring or irresponsible it would be better to consider that perhaps – due to their culture/background and upbringing – they simply haven’t thought about the issue in our terms.

Some parents may think that bringing up a daughter to be a gold digger or footballer wife is indeed a good thing. Messages and slogans that some parents perceive as disempowering, may well be perceived by another class of parents as empowering: indeed, the power of female sex appeal! It all depends on perspectives and if you live your life surrounded by a raunchy culture it becomes second nature to think and act in those terms. For this reason, I don’t agree with many comments accusing parents who buy this sort of clothes being irresponsible and not caring about their daughters: the way forward should be to avoid accusations and judgements, engaging in dialogue and reflection instead.

In my view, creating resources and thought-provoking material to awaken people’s consciousness of certain issues is one way to move forward. And another way is to be open-minded and ready to start a dialogue: next time you see someone buying into the slutty trend, try to put yourself in their shoes, thinking within their own frame of reference (not an easy thing I admit), instead of dismissing them as they were not capable of thinking. I have tried this myself with a mother and the conversation we started has made me realise that my preconceptions were far from accurate 😉

Another slide for reflection today, please pass it around!

5 thoughts on “Slutty Clothes for Young Girls: Irresponsible Parenting?

  1. It really does bother me that people buy sexualized clothing like this. We should not be sexualizing young girls.

    Personally I don’t even buy gender-specific clothing for babies (pink and blue); I prefer to find a fun print like something with a cream colored background and zoo animals in the foreground, etc, or I buy colors like green, red, etc.

    I think that clothing is just one more way that we place girls into rigid roles starting at an early age. Why not send a more open, flexible message: that girls can be whomever they want, with whatever interests they might choose to have, and that they can grow up and NOT be defined by their sexual relationships to men?

  2. The sexualisation of kids is so wrong on every level, that’s obvious. It’s the lack of responsibility from parents who are allowing it to happen or too daft to see it that makes me mad though! I am with you at risk of assuming these people would have trouble outwitting an eggplant, but you’re right in that you have to really get into their shoes and help them understand things from your perspective. I think even the most irresponsible and inept parents would feel sick at the thought of unwittingly making their young daughter the target of sexual thoughts.

    I am definitely in the category who does not buy into this “empowered by sexuality” nonsense. It sounds awfully convenient for the people who prey on and benefit from such conceptions. Hey buy our short-shorts so you can show the boys how much of a hard-to-get tease you are! You there, dance for the camera and make the boys squirm! Yeah really empowering… Girls don’t want to enslave men, all of us here are about equality and respect. It’s manipulative and wrong on every level and the idea of this fabrication only further hurts the cause.

    Moving away from that depressing stuff, the gold-digger or football WAG is another problem entirely with a similar outcome for the girls. While not as dangerous to the girls it really doesn’t help with the aforementioned perceptions and it’s another case of having to dry up the revenue from things branded that way and put our efforts into promoting the witty, empowering and respectful retail items.

  3. I’ve even seen a boy at my dentist, sitting beside his mother, wearing a shirt that read “Future Gynecologist”. I was thinking to myself, “What the heck is that mom thinking letting her child where a shirt like that?” That’s where parenting needs to be put in place I think. They have to stop and say, “This is not appropriate attire. If you are living under my roof you will NOT be wearing that.”

  4. Very well written and although controversial, it’s nice to see someone not simply finger-pointing, but actually attempting to move beyond that. Only then can we solve problems.

    Now, some might argue that this isn’t a problem at all, that it doesn’t impact girls negatively, or as you mentioned, some see it as empowerment through sex-appeal. I have to disagree with this group of people. I cannot fathom that this will not affect the children in the long-term.

    As a teacher, I see girls each day that look far older than they truly are. In my first few days, I actually came home and opened an old photo album of mine, to compare how old kids in my generation looked vs. the ones I see today. As someone who graduated in the latter-half of the 90’s, I can tell you the difference is HUGE!

    It really is disturbing to see the sexualization of these children. There was a recent article in the Bild Zeitung, a German newspaper, that discussed how some parent groups had banded together to have undies for 5-6 year olds pulled from the shelves of a retailer that read something to the effect of “Sexy thing.” It made me cringe.

    Now, considering the video that most recently saw on the news and/or YouTube of the lady (not even dressed provocatively) walking around a city and getting cat-calls left and right from adult (sort-of) men, we can’t ignore the fact that an older-looking child, dressed provocatively, is likely experiencing the same thing. From older men. At an age when her mind is still developing, she is being objectified by people of the age that we are trying to teach her to respect and learn from. Adults.

    Some might argue that the men, in this scenario are to blame. The truth however is, as you mentioned, that there are other key players in this. We can’t entirely fault the men in question, no matter how ridiculous their behavior is. We can’t entirely fault the retailers, as they are driven by demand. We can’t entirely fault parents, as they may have been raised a certain way (or as it was in my case, are rebelling against the way they were raised). In fact, we as a society, are very quick to seek the sole perpetrator and assign blame. No matter what the situation, we don’t often invest as much effort into trying to determine and improve the root cause of an issue (and from my perspective this is an issue), as we do into finding the guilty party and punishing them. It has to be someone’s fault, right? Well, not always. At least not in a defined manner.

    As I see it, it is a societal issue as a whole. Whether it’s the retailer who peddles these products, the parents who buy them, the rapper who showcases them in a music video, the cat-calling guy (who oddly thinks he’s complimenting the girl), or the unassuming & childless person who sits idly by and doesn’t voice their concerns.

    Who caused it? It’s a chicken or egg situation, with lots of chickens and lots of eggs. But I know who it takes to fix it.

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