Kids and sexualization

I’m not a reactionary, and I hate to be a drag, but…


I won’t include any pictures with this post because a) gross,  b) voyeurism, and c) exploitation. But I see it all the time, and I’ll bet you do, too. Examples:

  • The day I was with my son for a fine arts scholarship audition, and saw a young woman show up in what was probably supposed to be leggings and a very short top. Leggings would have been inappropriate enough, but what she was actually wearing on her lower half resembled something more like hosiery. Butt crack fully visible. And her MOTHER was right beside her as they stood at the sign-in table.
  • Every year during our confirmation ceremony for our 9th graders at church, girls show up in dresses so short I wonder if their parents are laboring under the delusion that fabric is still being rationed, 70 years post-war.
  • At Middle Sister’s recital a couple of weekends ago: A young lady wearing what would have been a lovely floor-length black dress…if not for the sheer lace panels that went WAY up past the underwear line. Like almost to the TOP of her underwear. Ever heard of a slip? Or at least black hose? Again, mom was in the audience. I cringed for both of them.
  • Last Sunday, two examples:
    • A 6th grader, who I know is a sweet girl and for whose mother I have great respect and friendship, was wearing a skirt shorter than I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, there were MAYBE two inches of fabric below the private bits . I witnessed the poor thing tugging it downwards constantly, obviously uncomfortable. Maybe this was a lesson in natural consequences?
    • A 7th grader, assisting with a fundraiser coffeehouse, wearing a dress consisting of a very short skirt and a bodice cut to show off lots of bare skin around the navel area. Every day life is NOT a Wrecking Ball video, folks.

I recognize that every one of these examples involves a female. My gripe is not that girls should be more modest.

My gripe is that girls are exploited constantly. They are bombarded with lies about the importance of being “sexy” from the time they’re in preschool – if we’re unaware enough to expose them to the kind of crap found in pop culture. When girls dress in the ways described above, they’re showing just how thoroughly they’ve been brainwashed. They’re showing just how little respect they have for their beautiful, inner selves and the great potential of their brains. And boys see this happening. They see it so much they take it for granted that girls are meant to be looked at as sexual objects, there for the taking.

So here’s my plea, parents: Have the guts to be the grown-up, even if your kids whine and moan about it. Turn off the junk on TV and don’t ever turn it back on. Don’t listen to pop radio. Take your kids to museums instead of that Miley Cyrus concert. Choose clothing that doesn’t scream “SEX!”

Give your girls a chance to be real, intelligent, self-confident people. Give your boys the gift of respect for females.

Do the world a favor.


19 thoughts on “Kids and sexualization

    • Holy cow, I hope she slipped out of the house without a parent seeing her – I’d hate to think someone at her home approved of that costume! Funny aside…one of our son’s high school plays was a comedy that included several incidents of “pants down.” He and a buddy decided to “advertise” the play one day at lunch by wearing only boxer shorts and t-shirts in the cafeteria for lunch. Thank goodness they had a very good relationship with the school administration, and were only asked to go put on pants, rather than being sent home or put in detention!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Such a great post! I agree with everything you wrote. I’m a seventh grade teacher and think parents need to be parents, whether their child gets angry or not. It’s time to set some boundaries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I think those of us who work with kids see this issue more readily than others. In my work, I get to see the same kids from birth through high school years, assuming their families stick around that long. It breaks my heart to see bright little ones I’ve known since they were toddlers, whose parents give in to the pressures of pop culture and let their kids when they’re older make really bad choices in clothing, behavior, viewing, listening, etc.


  2. Yes! I’m so glad my daughter decided to become a consignment queen and has more of a ‘bohemian’ style full of modesty….except she is a little booby, and it is hard for her to find shirts which don’t show some cleavage. Thankfully she wears camis all the time. Anyway, It’s a sad world we live in where young women can’t remain innocent–at least in they style of dress they have to choose from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a really good point – I remember how very hard it was to find clothes that weren’t trashy and obviously designed to perpetuate the “sexy little girl” thing. I would have kept my kids in Osh Kosh B’Gosh forever if I could have!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Things I hate on kids:
    – bikinis on toddlers
    – inappropriate slogans on kids’ clothes (and on adults too, otherwise what message are you giving out really?)
    – babies with their nails painted (they didn’t ask for it – you’re just using them as an accessory)
    – clothes that restrict kids from playing by being too short/tight/restrictive/inducing self-consciousness.

    And I also hate:
    – seeing little kids know all the ‘swag’ moves to the dance routines
    – parents calling their kids ‘sexy’. Yuk.

    Childhood deserves more respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never understood that either. I’m a father of a 5 year old little princess and if I seen her in some of the stuff little girls wear I would have to step in and say something. I don’t think it is right for a 13-16 year old girls wearing things like really tight spandex. They might as well wear some panty hoses and call it a day. Grown people don’t need to see that and put people into lust and temptations that should not be thinking that way. Great article thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not sure that it is always about being sexy as much as we adults make it out to be (don’t get me wrong, I often share your thoughts here). There’s an age difference between my kiddo and the kids you are describing, because she’s 8, but we’ve kept very little from our children in terms of what we discuss with them (obviously in a manner they can understand). My daughter swims and does gymnastics. She thinks nothing of wearing close fitting, skimpy clothing–short shorts, spaghetti strap tank tops, leggings, etc…she does sports that pretty much require it.

    And I’m okay with that because she still thinks nothing of her body other than the fact that it is her body, and she thinks nothing about clothes except whether or not they look pretty on the hanger. I’m sure some of it is age…but not totally, because she’s had little friends as early as pre-K that were all about being cute and even “sexy” (and then I really blame the parents). All of those outfits you mentioned, I bet she would wear (are any of them neon or sparkly?) and never have an inkling that sexy was even a factor. And that actually makes me happy. I was a chubby kid, and was extremely self-conscious…to me, the fact that my daughter just wears what she likes is a sign of self-confidence and bodily autonomy. Plus, I don’t want my 8 year old to know what “sexy” is (she does, on the other hand know what sex is, and quite logically thinks its super gross, but maybe okay when you are a grown up with someone you really love trying to have a baby) to worry about whether or not she should be concerned about trying to be (or not be) sexy (but we also don’t have cable–we have Netflix and movies), so they get very little commercialization (honestly I think advertising is a bigger culprit than music videos, etc). .

    That doesn’t mean we don’t have clothing rules…but our rules are more about what is appropriate where than *no ______* (and I have to wonder if making something taboo doesn’t make it worse). Just like I can’t wear a tank top and shorts to my work, she can’t wear spaghetti straps (and our son can’t wear muscle shirts) to school (its not “school-fessional”). Our clothing rules include no midriffs unless its for dance or a bikini at the beach, no plain white tank tops or t-shirts (because she’s neither old enough nor developed enough for a bra), tights are not leggings and leggings are not pants, and nothing that even comes close to seeing underwear.stick out of it somehow (she wears dance shorts under dresses and skirts that don’t have them built in). Her brother has clothing rules too though, so its not one-sided. I think the bigger factor here is the loss of “formal” as being a thing, and the rise of “casual” everywhere…informal has gone too far. When you can be casual everywhere you go, what becomes the new casual?

    (interestingly, we had a similar convo to this at work a few weeks ago, and apparently I am a conservative fuddy duddy when it comes to parenting to my early 20s co-worker)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m cheering over this post. I agree with you 100%. It baffles me to see girls walking around in nearly nothing. Why on earth do parents allow this? They may say, “Well, my daughter will do what she wants” or “I’m just letting her express herself.” What? No! They’re the parent, so they need to be the one to guide their child to do what’s right and to want to express themselves in a good manner, not a seductive one. Girls are beautiful, and with the right clothes on they will earn the respect that they deserve. We should teach them self respect. That’s our job as parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a friend whose 13 year old son told her that he doesn’t like it when he sees girls dress this way, it makes him feel uncomfortable – kids innately know what’s right and wrong, and I agree that these girls are brainwashed to think this is all ok. It’s way past time for parents to step up and set some standards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve heard the same thing from some young men, including our son. Kids are a lot smarter than we sometimes give them credit for…why don’t we take advantage of that?


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