Why Are We Dressing Our Daughters Like Little Skanks?
I think that might be the title of a book that I heard of, but it is a very good question, and as the mother of a seven year-old it affects me a lot, as I am horrified every time we go shopping at the selection of clothes for little girls. Let me just preface this by saying that I am not a prude, I wear miniskirts and legging and four inch heels and love a sexy look, and I know this makes me sound just like my mom, but really, people. We went shopping the other day, and this is what we found:
Justice – a shop ostensibly for children but really for pint sized streetwalkers that plays loud rock music and has some of the loudest, ugliest clothes I’ve ever seen. Dresses with sequins, miniskirts everywhere, made of mesh and tulle and glitter and more sequins, little hootchie mama knee boots, t-shirts with glitter that say SEXY and MY BFF and other, more tastless slogans, and fur. Fake fur. In all colors. Lime green. Fluorescent pink. Colored camouflage that looks like Walt Disney threw up. There are also slutty accessories, like huge hoop earrings (For little kids? Their ears will fall off.), furry backpacks, fuzzy notepads, and lip gloss that lights up when you turn the cap. I was amazed at all the cheap sleazy decadence. They don’t have stuff that tacky in adult stores! Victoria’s Secret is more tasteful. All the skirts were short, all the shirts were short, and there were tiny camisoles everywhere. And little bras that would fit six year-olds. That my daughter wanted. A lot. I told her she was not getting any bras until she had something visible to put in them. And then I realized I sounded exactly like my mother. Except I never wanted bras. Never even when I actually needed them. Bras for six year-olds! Ridiculous!
We went into Gap Kids, which I thought would be a little more conservative. First thing in the door, my daughter picked up a cheetah print miniskirt, the kind with no shorts underneath. Cheetah print? In a size six? Really? She begged for the cheetah print. Then she saw knee high furry boots, the kind that the older girls wear with soccer shorts, which is ridiculous enough to be the subject of a whole other essay, and wanted to put them on and buy them immediately. Boots. Not. Happening. They had super short tutu skirts, which they were touting as back-to-school wear. Tutus? With what? Pigtails and a lollypop in their mouth? They had knee-high cheetah print socks (presumably to wear with the Slut Boots and the Naughty Schoolgirl Skirts. I dragged her out of there under protest. She complained that I “never buy her anything.” As I had just bought her a pair of Toms and a new miniskirt at the first Slut Kids place (The miniskirt with the built in shorts. I mean, please, at least wear shorts underneath.), I found this particularly unfair.
We then went to H&M. They have an entire children’s department, full of slut wear and horrid furry impulse items. She found a scarf (for six year-olds, people) with a unicorn and glitter and little fake gems on it, which she begged and begged for. They had racks of cat-eye sunglasses (for little kids), well above-the-knee minidresses, little plastic containers of LOUD neon-colored earrings as big as raspberries (for little, newly pierced ears, great) and super short-shorts with low waists. Exactly what a seven year-old needs for daily wear. And shoes, with high heels. In toddler sizes. After being bombarded by sexed-up baby clothes for several hours, I quit shopping in shock and took my daughter out to dinner. I just don’t know if I can handle another shopping expedition like that one. If I were of a Victorian frame of mind, I would have had the vapors, fanned myself vigorously with my fan, and collapsed onto a fainting couch at the sight of those clothes. I may just not take her shopping again until she is eighteen. Of course by then, the big fad will be to not wear any clothes to school at all. Because that is where this is going.