Monday, August 27, 2007

What's the world going to do with all these little divas?

This 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?

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At 4:27 PM, Anonymous L.A. Daddy said...

I don't know if society is really doing it us. But I also believe that most parents feel the same way. And they don't buy this stuff.

I think a lot of it end up on the discount racks. But I believe the stores and store buyers hope that it will become a craze or hot fad. I mean, you see it in the stores, but do you see a lot of little girls in the fishnets in real life?

But, even if it's out there... it's like questionable movies or music. You just don't buy it for them.

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous cry it out! said...

No, you're not. I was shopping the other day downtown and you couldn't believe the crap these kids were buying -- with parents in tow.

Dana and I went to a great talk from these guys two weeks ago --

Definitely worth looking into.


At 7:58 AM, Blogger nyjlm said...

I don't believe the answer lies solely in limiting what our daughters purchase/wear, or in helping them to make the right choices in life. Society is hostile to girls and women. I believe this is reflected in the clothing choices produced for girls- what better way to indoctrinate them than to let them know how society feels about them?

Those of us with sons need to raise our sons who reject this vision of women/girls. Dads need to hold daughters and sons to the same standards, not to have separate standards for a son and a daughter.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Darren said...

When I see clothes like that I'm glad my daughter has to wear a uniform to school.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

No, you are not overreacting. We have always told our children that they are a reflection of our home in their actions and looks and expect them to be a good representation of our family. We don't dress "that way" or "talk that way." People will judge your family by how everyone acts outside the home.

And when our kids say "Well, everyone else is doing it or dressing that way. . ." and we say,"You're not everybody. . .you are YOU."

At 2:22 AM, Blogger creative-type dad said...

You're definitely not overreacting.
I'm always in shock over the stuff they peddle to little girls - even older one.
The sad thing is - most parents who do buy this stuff are pretty young mothers and dress the same way (at least out here in L.A.)
They don't know any better, and obviously they don't learn from their mistakes either.

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Josie's Mommy said...

I completely agree with your insights; I am amazed at the inappropriate clothing available for preschoolers on up! Why does a 4 year old have to show their midriff? I, too, gravitated toward the Gap Smart Girls Rule shirt, and I often look in the boys section to find t-shirts with more empowered sayings (or at least something that doesn't talk about being spoiled and/or a princess)... how sad is that?


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