Thursday, March 31, 2011

Small part of a big problem

Abercrombie & Fitch is in the news yet again for junior whore wear, this time a padded/push-up bikini top for little girls.

I just can't get that worked up over it.  Really, I can't.  This will surprise those who know me really well, since I don't let my girls wear skirts/shorts shorter than about an inch or two above their knees, I don't let them wear even 1/2" heels, or bikinis of any sort.  So you'd think I would be all over this, breathing fire.

But I'm not.  I just don't have the energy for it anymore.

I see the prostitot clothing as a small symptom of a much larger problem.  This is what I said over at Greg's blog on the subject:

Children's clothing has been a miniature of adults' clothing since we first moved beyond wrapping dead animal pelts around ourselves.

In short, clothing companies think we should be okay with padded, push-up bras for little girls because we're okay with them for adult women. Granted, there is a huge difference in regards to sexuality between a 12-year-old and a 22-year-old, but frankly it shouldn't be any more acceptable to tell the older female her endowment is inadequate. 
And really, that's what it boils down to for me.

I guess the best way to explain the apparent increase in slutty girls' clothes is as mission creep.  Is it horrifically inappropriate to sexualize a prepubescent girl?  Yes, of course.  But how is it appropriate to expect a grown woman to be constantly sexual?  We don't expect this of men (generally; there's some mission creep in that direction as well), nor do we typically expect men to be constantly macho.  But grown women are expected to be 'on' 100% of the time--thus the push-up bras (or minimizers if you're closer to my size), spray tans, curling irons, flat irons, depilatories (razors, waxes, sugars), and an absolutely dizzying array of cosmetics.  There is even, I shit you not, a deodorant that claims to improve the appearance of your armpits.

I am not, for the record, blaming this on men.  Men could be at the root of it, but I doubt it.  Women are harder on other women than men ever thought of being, by and large.

But that doesn't excuse it.

And it's another one of those things that I really don't have an answer for.  Not on a meta level, at any rate.  But for me and my house, we will be taking a different tack.  Which means that pretty clothes also have to be functional clothes.  That shoes will have to be appropriate for our long walks.  That, at all times you must dress so that if you run into your parish priest, you won't be embarrassed.  And, overall, that there is not one standard for beauty. To that end, I monitor their commercial exposure to an anal-retentive extent (no Disney, no Nickelodeon, that sort of thing).  We stay away, as a family, from activities which emphasize one particular body type (Esther may flail around in a leotard/tutu, but ballet lessons ain't happening).  There are also exercises in critical thinking--is there a good reason to shave your legs beyond "Everybody else does"?  In this, I go way beyond what most folks think is necessary, if they even think about it at all, and I'm okay with that, too.  Both with being a bit crazy in what I do & with others doing differently--providing, of course, that they have thought the issue through.

I hate to say that the rest of the world can go to hell, but in a subject this large, I can really only take care of my own little corner of the world.


greg said...

The sad part about 'women having to be on 100% of the time' is that a lot of that pressure is least, self-implemented by a deep societal pressure.

I am guilty of purchasing padded bras for my wife from that place that has secrets...I also will try to convince my wife to please wear sensible shoes when I know they are called for, but she insists on this discomfort.

I take pride in the fact though, that she makes sure to at least put on jeans and not sweat pants before running to the grocery stores.

There is not going to be any changing of society as a whole, so in the meantime, I appreciate the fact that my wife is willing to go through the efforts to look good.

As for the 'leg shaving thing' only request for my wife is that she either keeps them smooth, or that she lets it get long enough that it doesn't scratch my legs when she tries cuddling up.

Breda said...

I wear push-up bras because I like to look down at my A cups and say to myself, "HEY!! Boobies!"