Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Inappropriate Dress

[This article]from CNN is very interesting, and confirms something I've long suspected.  I'm not the only parent who thinks that young children being dressed in sexually provocative ways is profoundly disturbing.   

I think that most parents would agree with this in the abstract.  But then who is buying these clothes?  It has to be parents, and if that's the case (as the article points out) then they are poor parents engaged in behavior not just irresponsible but psychologically damaging to their children.

Where do these parents come from?  Why are there so many?  There are clearly enough of them to support million-dollar industries.  Were they all parented in that way when they were young?  Or were they raised strictly, and rebelled against what they perceived as unfair treatment by giving in to things there parents would never have allowed?

I think the answer is more horrifying that that - I believe that these parents just don't care.  They as "adults" dress in a similar manner, and cannot conceive of their children dressing in another way.  To them, this is "normal" or even "cute."  Our media-driven culture backs this up by not providing any counter-examples. It reinforces this by providing increasingly younger examples of sexually promiscuous behavior and lifestyle.

Granted, it's not the job of media industries to become moral arbiters of culture - its the responsibly of PARENTS to educate their children on social and cultural norms.   But our nation's parents are more likely to have been educated by a television than by parents.  Divorced households or unmarried households with children are more common than ever - I myself am a product of such an arrangement.  Whether or not you believe that two parents provide a better upbringing, a single parent does have to work more to make ends meet than they would with a second income.  More time at work means less time for children. In our modern culture, that means putting the child in front of a television or the computer.

This would be a disturbing enough chain of reasoning if it were theoretical or just beginning.  But this is the second full generation of such things.  Today's parents are my age, and apparently see nothing wrong with sexually inappropriate behavior for themselves or their children.

It's not that all these parents are neglectful - though some of them may be.  It's that they truly believe that these sexually charged choices that they make for their children are harmless or normal.  They do not understand that these choices - these blatant attempts to sexualize themselves - are harmful lessons to pass onto children.  The average American child loses her virginity around the eighth grade now - can we truly say that this sort of behavior is not contribute?

There's another question that needs to be considered.  As our society becomes increasingly obsessed with sex and our girls become increasingly desensitized to the importance of decorum and increasingly interested in sexual behavior, what will happen to respect for women?  I have no respect for the sexually-charged celebrities I see on the television.  They are objects for my entertainment, and I have no interest in their lives.  But to people that idolize or pattern their lives after them (and there are many more than I am comfortable with), the behavior of these megalomaniacal childish adults is the gold standard.

THIS is the the gold standard for behavior?

That's frightening.

Why should anyone respect that?  Why would anyone respect a women who acts that way?

Comments welcome.  Disapprobation expected.

The Editor may be reached for comment at liquidether@live.com


Anonymous said...

that is just super stupidly WRONG

Anonymous said...

As a teenage male, I have to say i agree completely. I'm not a prude in any sense of the word, but the sexualisation of the young is reaching a point where it's simply ludicrous and quite disturbing. You media don't just not avoid it, they seem to actively encourage it for the sake of money! You know what sounds like a great way to fix a paedophile problem? Tempt them!

For example, "stars" like Lady GaGa and Rihanna - whose main fanbase consists of young people and teenagers - are setting a horrifying example for young girls. They quite simply compensate for a lack of talent by using sex to sell their music, and their innuendo-infused lyrics and blatantly raunchy music videos are watched and loved by millions of children! You don't need to be an expert in child psychology to know how impressionable kids are.

I also agree that there's a massive trend now where teenage girls feel that they need to objectify themselves sexually in order to feel any self worth. They don't really WANT to dress in revealing clothes or wear provocative make up and tattoos, they don't really ENJOY scores of drooling males undressing them with their eyes, but they feel that it's the only way they can have any self-esteem. This is wrong and dangerous. It's a recipe for a new wave of sexism and misogyny.

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