August 25, 2009

What are We Teaching Our Daughters?


I could care less if Miley Cyrus does a pole dance on TV. At some point all teen stars decide to show their "adult" side. Britney did it. Christina did it. Jessica did it. Miley's day was bound to come. Having said that, I'm not sure the Teen Choice Awards was the appropriate venue for Miley's "edgy" side. But did that many parents really question the performance? It seems like girls are being taught to be "sexy" at a younger and younger age.
By now Miley is old news, so I'm sure many of you are wondering why I'm bringing this up. Yesterday Hubby came in with the mail and had a catalog of Halloween costumes. He loves Halloween and immediately sat on the floor to look at all the pictures with our daughters. I looked through it later and was stunned by many of the costumes. Sure, there were your requisite princesses, fairies, witches, etc., but what I saw in the "'teen" section shocked me. Keep in mind this section specifically said teens and not adults. It contained page after page of pouty girls in short skirts. Most of these girls look like they're about 12 years old. The catalog came from a legitimate, national chain.
In most retail stores when you shop the young girls' department (think ages 6-10) you'll think you're in the junior's department. The shorts and skirts are getting shorter, the tops are getting tighter. What is a parent to do?
I'm not a prude. I don't think there's anything wrong with dressing "cute" or even "sexy"... when it's age appropriate. With four daughters you can be sure I'm going to be keeping a close eye on their outfits... and which celebrities they choose to admire. Thank goodness my daughters have decided to dress up as flowers this Halloween.

12 comments:

LauraC said...

The only reason I care about Miley is because study after study has shown peers impact children more than parents do the older kids get. We should be trying hard to keep girls off stripper poles as much as possible, particularly underage girls. I hate the glamorization of strippers.

But I digress, my boys want to be train engineer and doctor for Halloween!

Sadia said...

Hear hear! My sister was furious with me when I refused to allow her to go out in public with her panties showing. This was 5 years ago, when she was 14.

I know that my clothing choices horrified my parents (although my most memorable argument with my Mum over clothing was how high the slit in my prom dress should be; she wanted me to show more thigh that I was comfortable with). Still, I do worry about the message my girls are getting. Jessica already refuses to wear pants because they're not girly enough.

Halloween? I need to start thinking about Halloween?! Would it be tacky to recycle last year's princess costumes? They still fit!

Quadmama said...

I try so hard to let my daughters be "girly" when they want and "tomboys" when they want. I just wonder how long it will be before they're asking to wear inappropriate outfits. Oh, and Laura, yes, we should definitely keep girls off stripper poles.

MaryAnne said...

How cute that your daughters want to be flowers for Halloween! We haven't started thinking costumes for Halloween at our house, but my daughter does pull her dresses off her shoulders to "be like Belle" from Disney's Beauty and the Beast...

Stephanie B said...

Roxy will be a darling Tinkerbell. My teenager? I'm not sure yet. I understand what you're saying, but it's not just Halloween. I'm constantly shocked by what stories my daughter brought home from middle school (at age 12, with two close friends who became pregnant).

Am I an old fogey? I do believe I am. I still believe in fairies and old-time romance when self-control was a sign of love as opposed to losing it. When getting to know someone was about figuring out who they were and what they thought, not by direct observation of their body parts.

I had a phase where I dressed provocatively and liked the reaction I often got, but I was in college and a few years after that. And I still managed to make clear what kind of girl I was.

I'm not sure girls today even know what kind of girls they are.

*Sigh* Now I'm depressed.

Quadmama said...

I'm sure our parents sighed when they saw how we dressed, and their parents likely reacted the same way to them. But still... when did we become so obsessed with "sexy"? Kids should be kids and not have to worry about things for adults. I felt like an old fogey at the pool when I was shocked by the bathing suits the teen girls were wearing.

Becky said...

As a mom to boys....when the media has a false portrayal of WHAT and HOW a girl/lady should act then their hormones and imaginations take off and then they are disappointed and unsatisfied when they are faced with reality. Or they go after the "wrong" girl. This can most definitely be reversed for what girls see on TV and hope to find in a relationship later in life. In general kids are being forced to grow up TOO FAST!! It's scary and sad. BTW, I am a prude and I'm OK with that (hubby might not be)! LOL!

Quadmama said...

Good point, Becky. Not only are girls being given warped views of women, boys are getting warped views of how to treat women and what to expect.

Sandi said...

yeah this is the problem I have. I have 12 year old and I guarantee she is nowhere near ready to be dancing on any poles! I think because of how she looks it is very easy to forget how very young she actually is. Anyway this has been one of my pet peeves. They are just starting out these girls as sex symbols while they are too young for it!

Quadmama said...

I don't remember younger singers being sexualized when I was growing up. In fact, I remember what a scandal Madonna was with her whole "boy toy" get up.

Brooke said...

Yes, I'm often shocked by girls attire these days - and I don't consider myself a prude, either. But maybe I am. Baggy Ts were in style when I was a teen.

These are the moments when I'm glad to have boys! Their clothing options aren't nearly as cute, but I also don't have to worry about them looking like sex objects when they're in their early teens, like many of the girls I see today.

Quadmama said...

When I was in high school everyone wore flannel shirts. Something tells me I won't be so lucky with my girls.

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