Monday, March 28, 2011

Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?

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This is an amazing article that my husband found in the Wall Street Journal. I'm still amazed it was actually published. What a blessing that a "typical" parent has stopped to consider if the current trend of dressing your daughter in as little as possible is actually a good thing. If you want to read the whole article go here. I copied most of it on this post. The highlights in the article are mine.

"In the pale-turquoise ladies' room, they congregate in front of the mirror, re-applying mascara and lip gloss, brushing their hair, straightening panty hose and gossiping: This one is "skanky," that one is "really cute," and so forth. Dressed in minidresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade, they look like a flock of tropical birds. A few minutes later, they return to the dance floor, where they shake everything they've got under the party lights.

But for the most part, there isn't all that much to shake. This particular group of party-goers consists of 12- and 13-year-old girls. Along with their male counterparts, they are celebrating the bat mitzvah of a classmate in a cushy East Coast suburb.

a few years, their attention will turn to the annual ritual of shopping for a prom dress, and by then their fashion tastes will have advanced still more. Having done this now for two years with my own daughter, I continue to be amazed by the plunging necklines, built-in push-up bras, spangles, feathers, slits and peek-a-boos. And try finding a pair of sufficiently "prommish" shoes designed with less than a 2-inch heel.

All of which brings me to a question: Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we're being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?

It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, "If I could do it again, I wouldn't even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?"

We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn't have to worry about getting knocked up. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that's certainly the norm among my peers.

So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn't), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don't know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We're embarrassed, and we don't want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.

As for the girls themselves, if you ask them why they dress the way they do, they'll say (roughly) the same things I said to my mother: "What's the big deal?" "But it's the style." "Could you be any more out of it?" What teenage girl doesn't want to be attractive, sought-after and popular?

And what mom doesn't want to help that cause? In my own case, when I see my daughter in drop-dead gorgeous mode, I experience something akin to a thrill—especially since I myself am somewhat past the age to turn heads.

In recent years, of course, promiscuity has hit new heights (it always does!), with "sexting" among preteens, "hooking up" among teens and college students, and a constant stream of semi-pornography from just about every media outlet. Varied sexual experiences—the more the better—are the current social norm.

But it's easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn't dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: "Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven's sake, get laid!" But that's essentially what we're saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they're still living under our own roofs."

Amen! I appreciated this article so much. Many times parents fear to step in once their children reach a certain age. They think the child should be allowed some freedom to do what they want. I well remember my Mom telling me that certain necklines were not appropriate when I was 15 and 16! She didn't do it in a controlling way, she would just calmly talk to me and tell me her reasons why she didn't think something was appropriate. Don't be afraid of your child, seek to build a relationship with them so you can counsel them, and they will want to hear it.

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At March 28, 2011 at 3:53 PM , Blogger Mary said...

You are SO right!!! How scary that so many are allowed to go out with so much of their body exposed to the world.

Its not easy but so important to talk with our daughters. We have a challenging situation since we are in a blended family and we rarely get to spend time with my husband's teenage daughter and her mother is raising her in a worldview that is much more worldly and "exposed" than we feel is appropriate.

So we pray and do our best to help her to see how what we as women wear affects our testimony for Christ. Sometimes she gets it and sometimes she doesn't. But the key comes from changing hearts...seeing modesty as important comes from how we see things through our relationship with Christ.

Building Home with Him,

Mary Joy

At March 28, 2011 at 3:57 PM , Blogger Gabrielle said...

Thank you for sharing that article. Truly, when I visit the mall, there are an abundance of little girls trying to be older than they are, trying to emulate lewdness and immorality, not maturity and self control. They don't posses purity and innocence; my heart is sad for them.

My mother is very lovely, and I consider myself to be lovely too, because friends and strangers tell me I am my mom's twin. ;) I am so thankful for the wisdom and advice she's shared with me through my teenage years (I'm 17 & graduating) about dressing modestly in a way that glorifies God, pleases the eye, and doesn't draw undue attention. Yes, women are beautiful! And guys are handsome, but neither should use thier beauty to entice and encourage salacious thoughts which often times lead to sin.

Should God bless me with a husband and family, I want to teach my children the importance of keeping beauty pure and innocent.

At March 28, 2011 at 6:06 PM , Blogger RealtorSD said...

Very interesting post. I agree!

At March 28, 2011 at 6:36 PM , Blogger Redeemed1 said...


At March 29, 2011 at 3:59 PM , Blogger Cassidy said...

WOW, this was great!

At March 30, 2011 at 10:28 AM , Blogger Debbie Jenkins Ray said...

With 5 girls of my own,I can honestly say I am appalled at the grown up styles when I am shopping for my 7-10 year olds.Low cut,flimsy material.Very suggestive and we wonder how "perverts" get their ideas and like to take pictures.I am one of those that if I had it to do over again,I would not have rebelled with my dress. My mother,bless her,did not buy us improper clothes.But as I got older and made my own extra money,I bought some risque things.Thank you for sharing this arcticle

At March 30, 2011 at 11:58 AM , Blogger Treasures from a Shoebox said...

As a mom of seven daughters, whenever I see mommies in the little girls clothing, I fight the urge to scream, "If you refuse to dress your daughter that way, if you stop buying those clothes, eventually, they'll quit making them!" It seems with each new female teen idol, little girls clothing becomes sleazier.

At March 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

That is wonderful that this is coming from the liberal media! It had so many wonderful points.

At March 30, 2011 at 10:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN! I keep hoping for the pendulum to swing back so even my college aged daughter can find clothes! It's like finding a needle in a haystack! So tired of the clothing companies disrespecting females in general!!!

At April 1, 2011 at 1:35 AM , Blogger Leila- All Meant To Shine said...

We are fostering to adopt and had to take classes about rules, etc. The speaker talked about how safety was a Red Rule... never allowed to be broken & if so serious consequences would happen. She put clothing into the safety category. I had never ever thought of it as a safety issue but now I totally get it and couldn't agree more. I never wore really revealing clothes but I still remember getting comments made at me from men, some when I was just walking through a park. It made me so completely uncomfortable and embarassed. I was scared because it was not safe. Makes sense! Anyways, thanks for the post!

At April 6, 2011 at 10:43 AM , Blogger va_grown said...

It's scary as a parent to see how many parents are as clueless as their children in this regard. Young girls understand getting attention by how they dressed, but they don't understand the ramifications of that attention.

At April 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM , Blogger Mary R. said...

Hollywood has had such a negative influence in this area, as in other areas. And, as va-grown says, girls don't understand the ramifications of that kind of attention.


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