Is it possible we are sexualising our kids?

Maybe it is because I have girls.

Maybe it is because I am medicated up to my gills.

Who knows.

I have become irkingly aware of how many overt visuals there are floating around primarily where women, and really these are young girls, are being portrayed as sexual objects.

These are little girls dressed up to appear older – they appear to be there for the sole purpose of being sexual available as images.

Little girls, you understand.  Not adults dressed as little girls, actual little girls ….. like mine, like yours.

I feel like there is an onslaught of these images  –  most of them we do not even really notice anymore because we have become so desensitized to it all, and they are just everywhere.

Music videos are crammed with scantily clad women (some are really more teens) gyrating and ensuring that they give the impression of being “sexual available” to whom ever the oaf is that is singing, or miming his way through a song.

4 stupid over-weight men, with large white t-shirts + fairly large baseball caps + questionable body hygiene  + 20 scantily glad looking girls + rented house decorated with bad taste + sexual gyrations = formula for most music videos.

Girls who dance must dance as if they have been trained as strippers.

Dancing is not about dancing and moving to the rhythm of the music, but rather who is able to look like they have taken lessons from Ms Pole Dancer Finalist 2010.

If a girl can bump and grind her arse, well then she wins …. what ever the prize is, I guess.

Big girls see it on television and in pop culture, so they do it.

Little girls do it as they see big girls doing it.   (Ever watched that Horror Show on MTV My Super Sweet Sixteen – and see how those girls carry on?  They are clearly in the 13 – 17 age range, and I feel an overriding urge to cover my eyes.)

You do not have to look far to find an eight or a nine year old gyrating her groin against a boy because she thinks it is “acceptable” and everyone is smiling and clapping and someone is phone-video taping this for posterity so they can stick it on You-Tube.

It takes even less to find little girls in shorty shorts imitating their adult icons.

I know it is cute when a child acts like an adult, and we tut-tut and roll our eyes, but really is it a great idea?

Could we not leave the skanky outfits until they have a part time job, and they earn enough to buy the outfits themselves, rather than as parents we go and buy it for them.  Just an idea.

Georgia is 6.  She is a tall and lanky 6.  I need to purchase clothing in the 7 – 9 range for her and then roll the sleeves up (she is really skinny) – which means I am in the 7 – 14 age range of clothing selection at most retailers.

I figure a 7 year old is going to be dressing very differently to a 14 year old.

It appears most clothing retailers disagree, and go with the same styling for a seven year old that they do for a fourteem year old.  Same style, just with a resize.

Most children range buyers work along this model when they make range choices for girls:-

0 – 24 months : pastels

2 – 6 years : bright pink/Hannah Montana/Miss Kitty/Dora the Explorer

7 –  14 years : skank.

If I was going to dress Georgia like she was auditioning for “Making the Band” or “Guess the Slut” then I pretty much have a world of choices before me.

However if I want to dress her like a little girl who does not listen to Hip Hop and Tweet her sexual availability, then it is going to be more challenging.

I do wish to volunteer at this point that I cannot afford to shop at the more boutique/stores where R250.00 is the going price for a t-shirt. My price bracket is R250.00 for the entire outfit and shoes!

Clearly I am shopping at the lower end of the retail market.

The result is I opt for jeans and a basic t-shirt most days, because the rest of it either shows her midriff, her arse or has a hint of being …. I am not sure…. just not right.

Even with t-shirts I have to filter through the ones with slogans of:

Do I Make You Look Fat

I’m Not With Stupid Anymore

When the going gets tough, the tough go blonde

You were never my boyfriend

Explain to me again why I need a boyfriend

Careful I had a bowl of bitchy for breakfast

No Money No Car No Chance

What I think I am trying to comment on in the most round about fashion I can find, is that our children – girls in particular – are bombarded with images of how they need to be, and to a degree how society sees them.

We are kidding ourselves if we think THEY cannot and do not see these images.

And these images do not have some sort of effect on them.

This effects is only not on my own girls who see these images (even on a sub conscious level), but my son who sees how girls “are” or how the “media portrays them.”

<We can discuss how we create positive personal images with our kids, and how we monitor what they watch and block several channels, in another post>

But … and there is always a but ….. it is next to impossible to keep these images away from your children, unless you live in a cave, home school, and only read ….. actually you will have to skip reading.

I will comment on this subject again when my brain is firing on all cylinders.

But these are some of the print images that I am referring to when I say “er, this is a bit inappropriate for my child….” and “why are they aiming this sh8t at children?” and “why are you putting this in an advert?”

<I am not suggesting these are the worst of it, or the best of it, these are just some random ones I had lying around>

Thongs for young girls …..

Padded bras for little girls …

The Best Examples Of Horrific And Embarrassing Parenting On Facebook

Does adult-looking clothing on children bother you?  It might be the Fluoxetine talking, but it bothers the crap out of me.

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  1. pitbullgirl65

     /  April 4, 2013

    eta: here is one more example for you.
    And what on earth are those young dancers dressed up as? The Pussycat Dolls?! WTF.
    I am also reminded of Miley Cyrus 11 year old sister who had a stripper pole at her b day party. 😦 Goddess help these children.

  2. pitbullgirl65

     /  April 4, 2013

    This is so depressing, and sickening. Thank Muffins I grew up in the 70’s. My dog the little girls are being taught that their only worth is how “hot” they are, and how sexually available they are to men and boys.

    OT somewhat: Much as I love Project Runway, the designers had a challenge to design “fashionable”clothes for 8 year olds and under.(!) Heidi Kliess ” Today, more and more girls are becoming fashionistas”
    I was very angry. I am so glad I don’t have children. Between this and the marketing towards children to be little consumers from “womb to tomb” they don’t have a childhood, not like I had. 😦

  3. sue stuart

     /  July 5, 2011

    It’s just awful, and like Yasmin, I always make sure my 17 month old has either leggings or tights on under a dress. And it makes me sad that we have to do that.

  4. Nisey

     /  July 5, 2011

    it really frightens the living daylights of me and makes me grateful every day for my son!

    my cousin has 4 daughters aged from 7 – 17 and they all know the dance moves from the KENDRA show – not exactly tame is it?

    i don’t know how you protect your kids from this rubbish though because as you pointed out it is everywhere – how is a young girl meant to grow up with any self respect or self worth when this is what she is faced with day by day.

    and just as importantly how do boys learn that girls are not sexual objects.

    • reluctantmom

       /  July 5, 2011

      Nisey, I don’t know the answer …. I think even as well-meaning parents we continue to send that message to our daugthers as well, even with the best will in the world. I really don’t know ……

    • Nisey,
      I think parents of sons have different challenges like you said. Where girls get “trained” to be available, boys get “indoctrinated” to be “players”. One sure has to be vigilant for teaching opportunities, hey?

  5. I agree with your post entirely. All I can say I guess is that as parents, even more than ever, we need to provide and be the strong role models our daughters need.

    Teach them that power and self-worth are NOT dictated by the size of your breasts or length of your skirt. Saying that – only a fool would deny that looks have helped many a sucessful woman get ahead – but that is a lesson to be learned surely in your 20’s – not your pre-high school years?

    That image of the five girls in the red and black outfits is truly disturbing IMO. I cannot imagine what kind of parent would let their child dress like that – even for some kind of dance competition (which I assume this is)

    Interesting post – Thanks 🙂

  6. John B

     /  July 5, 2011

    I guess every parent has their own “line”. Some (not me) may suggest that the black and white polka-dot costume pic on the right margin of this blog crosses the line….. just saying, each parent has their own apetite to accept, or not.

  7. rikki

     /  July 4, 2011

    I actually felt a little sick looking at the baby stripper shot, and the girl on the bed – it actually looks like you had searched for kidddy porn and found that.
    Because my angel is tall I actually am limited to shop for her at woolies or edgars to find decent clothing that fits her. I refuse totally to even look at Mr Price anymore for her cause the “children’s” clothing is just a smaller make of the teen clothing!
    And I am so against babies and even pre-schoolers in a bikini, untill she has proper boobs, there will be no bikini!

    • reluctantmom

       /  July 4, 2011

      I know there were so many things wrong with that picture ….. I do think there is a fine line (sometimes) between cute and being “sexual” with kids stuff – I do get that. What I think is “normal and cute” might be what someone else would consider “not suitable for a child” ……….. but some of the ads to freak my head in.

  8. Claire

     /  July 4, 2011

    One of the worst examples of premature sexualising of kids is a little girl panty with the word “juicy” across it. More recently, an acquaintance on FB posted a pic of her 10-month-old daughter in a bikini…she “just couldn’t resist it”.

    In a country with horrific child abuse & rape stats, the onus is on parents to parent consciously.

    OK, rant over.

    • reluctantmom

       /  July 4, 2011

      One of the worst examples of premature sexualising of kids is a little girl panty with the word “juicy” across it.

      Oh my Word, where does one even begin to comment?

  9. Tammy

     /  July 4, 2011

    Freaks me the fek out. And I don’t have a girl. Yet. This just goes hand in hand with kids being referred to as sexy – it’s wrong.

  10. I am totally with you on this one.

    I think it’s disgusting and is that bra from Woolies? TERRIBLE!

    • reluctantmom

       /  July 4, 2011

      In Woolies defense, it is not a set from Woolies …. but I have not looked through their underwear to see what they have …….

      • Sharon

         /  July 5, 2011

        I wasn’t referring to your bra and pantie pic. I was in Woolies yesterday and saw the the padded bra’s for little girls they’re selling.
        Also looking for some summer clothing for my toddler as we’re going on a beach holiday in two weeks time. All the T-shirts for age 2 are one sleeved off the shoulder affairs which for starters I don’t get because how is that practical for a 2 year old and secondly, why are little girls encouraged to be sexy??

      • Janine

         /  July 6, 2011

        Thats from Primark here in the UK. There was a big thing in the pres about it and they had to withdraw sales.

        • reluctantmom

           /  July 6, 2011

          Thanks Janine, I thought it was M&S – thanks for the correction …….

  11. It’s disgusting! You are right!
    But I think we have an influence on how our daughters perceive and value this culture of sexualizing our girls! Luckily I have a Teen who is more prudish than me in her outlook, and I will have to keep being vigilant with the toddler!

  12. Sharon

     /  July 4, 2011

    I am in total agreement. I find it disgusting that the hidden message society at large sends our little girls is that they should aspire to be sexual objects and nothing more.
    I am VERY concerned about raising a girl in this type of society. I am quite disgusted that stores like Woolworths have padded bra’s for LITTLE girls freely available!

    • John B

       /  July 5, 2011

      the sad reality is….. Woolworths would not stock them, if they did not sell. ie – they do sell!

  13. I totally agree! Another pet hate is when boy-girl friendships are immediately classified as boy-friend-girlfriend even if its 2year olds!

  14. I totally igree with you on all this. The Princess is also a very tall, but very skinny 6 year old – we buy in the 7 to 9 category. And she is total little girl in her taste. So, you are limited to one retailer only – most of Woolworths’ little girl stuff at least goes to 9 years. If you are lucky enough to actually find stock. (I talked about exactly this when I did my retailers review a while ago). Why oh why do they make the clotes so bloody grown up at the others?

  15. talentpassionlove

     /  July 4, 2011

    This is very disturbing to say the least. I am not a mother myself, but will be next year. Don’t know if its a boy or a girl yet. I have always felt that the magazines and T.V (Mtv ect) is bad for little children to watch and parents allow this. They are exposed to things well above what they should be at their ages. It must be difficult to protect them from EVERYTHING, but we as (Soon to be) parents should at least try and filter some of these things, like limiting tv to certain shows etc. In the clothes department I am not sure how we will get past that. Money is a problem to most of us. Budgets for clothes are limited and we all have to shop at these “shops”. We live in a world that is so polluted, corrupted and broken and we as parents can only do our best and trust God to take care of them.

  16. This issue of little girls clothing and what 10 and 12 year olds are dressing like today has bothered me for a very long time. Even before I had kids! I was complaining to hubby the other day about the skanky little girls clothing that they make.
    And I agree with you Celeste, I cannot afford to go shopping where one top = R250. It is rather the whole wardrobe. But just because we shop on the lower end of the scale does not mean we should be subjected to sifting to tons of girls clothes just to find something that is appropriate.
    Maybe Im just strict or whatever by my daughter does not just wear a dress. She will either have tights or leggings underneath. She is comfortable always, but as she is still young and will run around dresses or skirts are bound to just flare up and I will not let her nappy (or underwear in future) be seen for miles around.
    I want my little girl to stay a child for as long as possible, because these days they are growing up way to fast with very bad consequences. She just needs to be a child and enjoy.
    The little girls who are dressing like this is scandelous! I totally blame the parents. How one knowingly goes to purchase said outfit for your child and not have any reservations on it is shocking to me.

  17. I dread going shopping for Kiara now – she now falls into the 7-14 age range and there are almost no clothes that she likes or that I am willing to buy. She is very much a tomboy and prefers her pants and t-shirts – but finding plain track pants or plain jeans with normal t-shirts is about as hard as world peace :-/

    And she actually did ask me for a bra the other day – I mean she is SEVEN.

    It is very frightening what our little ladies are being exposed to!

    • reluctantmom

       /  July 4, 2011

      Totally, it is a bit of an onslaught from every possible angle!

  18. julz

     /  July 4, 2011

    So pleased I am not the only one who thinks this is a bit shocking. I am certainly far from being a prude, but I have never understood why padded bras are sold in shops like Woolies and I remember dancing as a kid and it was never provocative as it seems to be these days.

    I guess we had Tiffany etc rather than Brittany Spears and Hanna Montana.

    I have a son so no skanky clothes for him, however I find it so hard to dress him in anything affordable that doesn’t have a Ben 10 or Spiderman logo.

  19. I have a huge issue with people who dress their little girls as mini-adults. I refuse to do this. I have 2 girls and I want them to stay little girls for as long as possible. I used to know a mum who would help her girls apply proper make-up all of the time. So whenever they went out to the shops or school event or wherever, proper adult-like make-up – mascara, blusher, eye shadow – the works. I am not talking about kids just playing around, but the mum physically encouraging her girls to do this. The one was 6, the other 10.

    My kids get clothes that are affordable, but looking like they are meant for girls and not mini-adults. That means usually butterflies, cats / kittens, smiley faces – that kind of thing.

  20. To Love Bella

     /  July 4, 2011

    I cannot abide this. It’s the reverse of mutton-lamb syndrome. I often look at clothes for little girls and wonder WHO buys them.
    I read an article a few months back in one of my girly mags about how popular kiddy pageants are; and what they do to these girls. False nails, caps to put over their little teeth, teased hair, high heels, makeup. It kills me.
    Little girls are not getting the chance to be just that – LITTLE GIRLS. It scares me to think of what my daughter will probably be exposed to one day. It scares me because I may not be there to protect her.

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