DARE TO ASK: Little girls dressed too suggestively?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
Why do families I see at the mall or movies dress their little girls in
clothes not appropriate to their age group? Like high heels, short-shorts and
tight T-shirts that say things like "Cherry" or "Your Boyfriend Wants Me"?
Clare, 27, Jacksonville
What ticks me off is "tweens" wearing tiny shorts with the writing on the
seat. Or worse, shirts with the writing at chest level. It's the last place a
12-year-old should be drawing attention to.
Brad, 32, Winchester, Va.
I have three kids - two of them are girls. And I would beat that -- if they
ever walked out of my house like that.
Rainn, 23, Waynesboro, Va.
Rainn, I hope before you start beating your children for dressing like that
you will first talk to them in a loving (and firm) manner. Educate them verbally
without resorting to causing them physical pain because they want to do what
teenagers do: rebel!
Marie, New York, N.Y.
In a better society, kids could wear what they wanted and not be sexualized
Dina M., Chicago
Manufacturers are selling these sexy clothes because they know the little
girls want them. All little girls want to do is be like the older girls - or
Emily, 30, Shelby, Miss.
Humor columnist Celia Rivenbark, author of Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old
Like a Skank (can we find 'em or what?), says she noticed the "prosti-tot" trend
really take hold about three to four years ago. While many might point to
Britney Spears or even Hilary Duff as the provocateurs of little girls who now
ache to dress suggestively, Rivenbark says think Bratz dolls and the Cheetah
Girls TV show and you're closer to the real culprits.
"The Cheetah Girls are part of the Disney stable, so you'd think it's OK, but
they wear ho clothes. And little girls see this and want to emulate the belly
shirts, fishnet stockings and very short skirts."
Then there are the Bratz dolls, which Rivenbark says are "made on purpose to
look like tiny little streetwalkers."
"Go and look at Toys 'R' Us. You'll faint. And this is the doll of choice of
Beyond the obvious danger of attracting potential molesters with T-shirts
that read "Made You Look," there's the problem of sexualizing children well
before their time, to the point they miss out on childhood and jump into sexual
activity much too soon, she said.
Moms and dads who placate their whining kids at the clothes shop had better
think twice, added Rivenbark, who has a 9-year-old daughter.
"We have a huge problem saying no to our kids. I don't know if it's misplaced
guilt at not spending enough time with them or what."
She has a simple solution if her own daughter gets too pushy about clothes,
"I'm the mommy, not the friend. I say NO. If she keeps on, I say HELL NO!"
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers. Send general
column comments to phillip. email@example.com. You can also hear his