Well, to tell you the truth, I haven’t gotten over my ire about children’s fashions. I’ll be checking out Crazy 8’s, Children’s Place and Land’s End tout suite because rumor has it these companies present clothing that allows little girls to be little girls instead of pushing children to age beyond their years.
It’s Sunday and I’m in the mood to preach a little. Beware.
A friend sent a link to this article, where the author writes about what to teach her children when they turn on the radio and hear Rihanna singing about S&M and find sexual references in everything from deodorant and shampoo commercials to animated cartoon movies like The Smurfs. (FYI, don’t agree with her conclusions at all.)
I’ve come to a conclusion a wee bit different from what I wrote a few days ago.
Yes, manufacturers are to blame for creating this clothing. Yes, stores are to blame for marketing and peddling childhood sexuality.
But do you know who bears the lion-share of blame? Me.
We are to blame.
We buy the stuff. We permit their agendas with our dollars and lack of outrage. We are the parents who don’t have the chutzpah to tell our kids, “No!” when they try on an outfit too old for them or bring magazines and catalogs into the house that don’t fit our family priorities.
We are the mothers who don’t change the standard and instead try to conform to our community and what we assume is happening so our kids will be popular, think we’re cool and tell us their secrets.
We are the fathers who don’t tell their daughters they’re more beautiful in sweat pants and no make up than dolled up in a strapless dress and 2″ heels for their eighth-grade graduation.
We are the uncles who don’t change the channel when a commercial objectifying women comes on.
We are the aunts who talk about if you don’t “put out” your boyfriend will break up with you.
We are the teachers and support staff who don’t tell our students they need to cover up and assume someone else will tell them sometime.
We are the community members who are ok with high school girls wearing string bikinis to do a car wash.
We’re letting children, especially girls, believe what they wear will make them attractive. We are the ones promoting that skewed agenda by our complicity.
And then we complain to our friends about how we want our daughters to dress modestly but we just can’t find anything for them to wear… how we don’t want our daughters to be on the Pill but we’d rather have them pumping chemicals into their bodies on a daily basis than deal with the consequences of their action with an unwanted pregnancy.
We are the problem.
I read this post to Lizard ahead of publishing it because it’s not funny. I’ve gotten feedback in the past when I’m funny I’m a great writer but when I’m preachy it’s heavy. I asked him if I should hit that “publish” button.
He said, “yes.” So if you don’t like this one, blame my husband! He also wanted to mention not all of us are the problem – many of the people we know don’t send their dollars toward immodest clothing. The dads do recognize their significance in their daughter’s development.
Many people we know are part of the solution because they’re speaking with their voices, writing, dollars and feet.
I agree. But I would argue all of us know someone who doesn’t speak up. Who doesn’t try. Who does spend hundreds of dollars in the stores whose advertising uses children in images that are soft-pornography.
Why would we walk past these images every day and not raise a ruckus? Why would we let our children grow up thinking this objectification is ok?
We are the problem when we do not put forth the effort to make a difference. If we aren’t ok with what we see around us, we need to get vocal and stop blaming the manufacturers, the stores, the media… and take responsibility for ourselves!
Women, for all our ranting about objectification and loss of power, we have the power to stop this circus ride. Don’t believe me? Consider this:
Lysistrata – a ancient Greek play describing how the women got sick of the men warring all the time and went on a sex strike. They withheld intimate relations until the men quit fighting… and it worked!
Victorian times – men composed odes after glimpsing a woman’s ankle under her skirt. Really, the ankle?! Not the most attractive of all body parts, in my opinion. But yes, the ankle. Because that’s what they could see. So they liked it.
Today – Please tell me you’ve noticed a woman wearing a potato sack dress can emit as much sexuality as a woman in a bustier and fishnet stockings – sometimes more!
Attractiveness and sexuality do not have to be about clothing. The idea you have to wear revealing clothing to be attractive is not only bogus – it trains men to believe they can get away with being lazy and not working for the prize of an amazing woman in body, mind and spirit!
I’ve now rambled for 700 words. Here are my bullet points to sum it up before I hit 800 words:
1. If we’re buying the clothing, we are the problem.
2. If we aren’t teaching our children by example their clothing is less important than their character, we are the problem.
3. If we’re complaining about the problem but not putting forth the effort to change it, we are the problem.
Uh-oh. It’s up to almost 1,000 words. Thank you for sticking with me on my rant against myself and the world! I’d love to hear your feedback. Stay tuned and visit again for more stories of the weird and wacko, I promise to avoid my soapbox for awhile.