I recently read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about how inappropriately young girls are dressing these days—mini-mini skirts, bra straps showing. The most shocking thing is that not only are we allowing our daughters to dress this way, we are actually buying them the clothes.
The author had a few different theories about this frightening phenomenon: kids just wear you down, shopping with your daughter is a bonding experience, the influence of the media, etc.
It’s really not a surprise that girls want to dress like Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan and girls they see on TV. And it certainly doesn’t help that Bratz dolls—which in my opinion look like 12-inch hookers—are so popular.
And for the record, I refused to buy my daughter a Bratz or even receive them as gifts when she was of the Bratz-doll-playing age. When she asked me why she couldn’t have them, I told her they didn’t look like nice girls. (I felt it best to keep words like tramp and prostitute out of her young vocabulary.)
Forget high school; I work at an elementary school and already see girls as young as 7 or 8 bearing remnants of the previous day’s after-school dress-up, like eye glitter, makeup, and bra-revealing spaghetti straps. They look like they’re dressed more appropriately for a night of dancing than they are for learning math facts and playing tetherball.
Not long ago, I was shopping at Target and saw a little pink, polka-dotted, padded bra in a size 6X. Yes, that would be a bra for a 6-year-old girl! What 6-year-old needs a bra, and with padding no less?!
I am quite fortunate that my 10-year-old tomboy is not very interested in fashion, but there are times that, even with her, I can see that I’m going to be in for quite a battle later on.
A few years ago I got her a very popular type of bikini, pink and black with skulls on it. I saw it all over Zuma Beach that year. My daughter is usually a board shorts and rash guard kind of girl, but she loved this bikini and, admittedly, I was kind of tired seeing her dress like a boy, so I bought it for her.
When we got home she pranced around the house swaying her hips back and forth “modeling” it. Where did she learn to do that? Is it instinctive?
Her favorite article of clothing at the moment is a pair of denim short-shorts that I do not allow her to wear to school, even though she tells me “all the other girls do.” She will certainly not be wearing them to school in sixth grade either, as I know they will not pass the “past your thumbs at your sides test,” administered in middle school.
The shorts are cute, but I do think they are a tad too short. She’s only 10 and very innocent, and doesn’t even have a figure yet, so I wouldn’t call them inappropriate, just, you know, short.
But just as I never bought her a Bratz doll, I also refuse to purchase clothing that I find too skimpy or just downright inappropriate. I won’t stop her from spending her own money, though I will continue to try to guide her to make the right choices.
Ultimately, I hope she embraces that inner tomboy of hers and not the media and peer influences for as long as she can, because as soon as she moves over to the dark side, our battle truly begins.
About this writer: Suburban wife and mother of two, Charlene Ross muses over life and motherhood.