What's the world going to do with all these little divas?
This Slate.com story pretty much sums up what I've been living through lately as we prepare two girls for going back to school.
My wife and I tend to think we're a bit more on the progressive side as it comes to most things, parenting included. However, in recent shopping excursions to clothe the girls this fall, I've come to realize that maybe we're not so forward thinking. Or, perhaps society has become too forward in the way it views "little girls" and what's appropriate.
Nary an item has been selected, begged for or purchased that isn't somehow bedazzled with glitter, rhinstones, gems, shine or some other form of sparkle. And that's fine. They're girly girls. But some of the stuff that is being offered for little girls who are size 4 and up are just simply unacceptable.
We've seen slutty tops with halter necks and strappy things all over. Shirts with plunging necklines and gathering at the cleavage that you would expect to find for women, yet made for little girls. Fishnet stockings for a 5 year old. Shoes with massive platform heels and strappy buckles that go around the ankle for a 7 year old. Ripped jeans. Low rider pants...for a little girl.
I think I most object to the message tees. What parent in their right mind allows their child to choose and wear a shirt that says "Spoiled and Proud of it?" or any iteration of a message that otherwise indicates that the child is a brat, sarcastic or at all in touch with themselves as sex objects. We opted for a few at Gap Kids that say nice things like "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Smart Girls Rule." I was especially drawn to one at Children's Place that said "Be Different." These are the messages I want my girls to understand and to send to everyone around them.
What is society doing to children? We wonder why girls are getting pregnant at younger and younger ages, snatched or abused by predators in plain daylight, facing crises in body image and confidence as they grow up. Turning them from little girls into mini 20-somethings through fashion isn't doing anything to help the cause. Having a five year-old walk around with a shirt that communicates she's something other than a sweet little girl spreads the message that it's okay.
My wife and I like to think we're not doing anything to contribuute to that with our own kids, but there are times when we're reminded we can only do so much and that we don't control everything. My almost 5 year old daughter recently announced what she wants to be for Halloween: "a diva" and she said it with diva 'tude. We're dumbfounded. How does she even know what a diva is? Or that a diva has attitude? And she pointed to the costume in all of its diva form.
Am I overreacting?