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"Why Do We Let Them Dress That Way?" - Page 2

post #21 of 103



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NannyMcPhee View Post

So because ''society'' thinks young women who dress a certain way are sexually active we should just accept it? and bow down it this ridiculous notion?

 And apparently we must not only accept  - from the sounds of this thread, women seem to actively encourage this kind of objectivisation, and also buy into the idea that there is something wrong with a woman being sexually active.

post #22 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post



 

 And apparently we must not only accept  - from the sounds of this thread, women seem to actively encourage this kind of objectivisation, and also buy into the idea that there is something wrong with a woman being sexually active.


Can you explain further what you mean, please?   Very specifically, who is saying that women (or teen girls) should be objectified and there is something wrong with them being sexually active?   I'm not sure who you are referring to in 'this thread'. 

 

Who, exactly, do you say is saying this?

 

post #23 of 103

Interesting thread. I agree with a lot of what Annie Mac said upthread re the article coming from a very shame-based place. Obviously, each family has their own morals and ethics, and should raise their children according to what they feel is right. It's going to be tough to objectively discuss the issue when we come from different places regarding the role of sexuality in a young woman's life. 

From my perspective, our culture is a mess. Women are still regarded as sex objects, even if it's through the lens of "empowerment." Should a girl be able to wear whatever she wants (and to have sex, if she's emotionally ready) and not be shamed as a "slut?" Absolutely. But I think our society as a whole isn't supportive. For that reason, I actively encourage my young teen to dress modestly. 

 

It is possible to reject the whole Disney machine and the clothes that go along with it from a young age. When we buy from stores, I shop for my toddler a lot in the boy's section. She lives in overalls, as did my older dd. If we don't buy the "diva in training" or princessy stuff, they'll stop making it. My 13 year old prefers thrift stores, and likes a more eclectic look - but I have it easy in that department as she's not very susceptible to peer pressure.

I think it really helps too to remember that although society sees women a certain way, we are our daughters' best and most prominent role models. How do we portray ourselves as women? Are we overly concerned with our looks, with outward sexual attractiveness to men, with being "hot?" I hope that I am acting as a good example for my girls by liking how I look without makeup or sexy clothes. I know they may want to experiment with different looks, especially in the teens, and with the new and exciting power of sexuality that comes with puberty. But hopefully they'll come back to what they learned at home.


Edited by grethel - 3/21/11 at 11:40am
post #24 of 103

I agree with the article.  Unfortunately, an individual is not going to change an entire SOCIETY'S way of perceiving people.  You can be as chaste as you want and wear clothes that are revealing, but nobody on the street is going to stop you and say, "Hey, you're dressed like a prostitute, but I don't want to judge on appearances, so I was wondering if you really are promiscuous or just dress like you are because you like the clothes."  People do portray an image.  People do make first impressions.  People do make snap judgments.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who dress the way they do to send a message: I'm wearing this sheer and barely-there dress because I want to get laid tonight.  Some wear the same thing, but don't want to get laid... but the question is what are they trying to say?  The bottom line is that if you are dressing to get attention... attention, you'll get, whether that is the attention you want or not.  I don't believe for ONE SECOND that girls of even 12 and 13 do not have a clue about the responses they elicit by the way they dress.  It is society that has given women that power... we can wield it how we want.

 

I believe in self-expression, so I don't think prohibiting something is necessarily good, but I think that at 12 years of age, our kids do still need some parenting.  I'm not sure how we'll approach this, as dd is only 9, but dh is from a Muslim Middle Eastern country, where moderation is the norm.  There is a huge difference between a pre-teen girl just coming into womanhood and a woman of 17/18 who has had years of coming to terms (for lack of a better way of putting it)  with her own sexuality.  I agree with the pp's who say that it comes down to sexuality vs. sex object.  We're talking about 12 and 13 year olds here... I can't believe anyone would say that a girl that age is prepared to be involved in a sexual relationship... is it then okay to give off signals that that is what they're looking for?  Do we have to fund it with our credit cards?  Great thread with a lot of food for thought!

post #25 of 103

I know plenty of people, male and female, straight and gay, who don't look at a provocatively dressed woman and think "she's looking to get laid".

post #26 of 103

I thought it was a poorly written article. It doesn't reflect my reality (or that of my DDs) at all.

 

But the 12 and 13 year olds I know don't dress like whores. May be it's a location thing. That's just not what I see where I live. 

 

Or may be I have a better idea of what whores dress like. The photo with the article had girls wearing t-shirts and earrings.  It that whorish now? Earrings are now the sign of a true slut? Seriously?

 

 

post #27 of 103
Thread Starter 

I wondered about that photo. Those looked like pretty regular teen girls to me!

post #28 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I thought it was a poorly written article. It doesn't reflect my reality (or that of my DDs) at all.

 

But the 12 and 13 year olds I know don't dress like whores. May be it's a location thing. That's just not what I see where I live. 

 

Or may be I have a better idea of what whores dress like. The photo with the article had girls wearing t-shirts and earrings.  It that whorish now? Earrings are now the sign of a true slut? Seriously?

 

 


Nice girls don't wear earrings, or t-shirts (that implies *gasp* pants), or make up. *sarcasm over, though I've heard stuff like that before*

 

You do make a good distinction between how most teen and pre-teen girls dress and how prostitutes dress while working though. Though some girls come really, really close. It's also important to remember that not all prostitutes dress provocatively, some are fairly covered.

 

That being said, you sparked me into doing some research and I found out prostitution isn't illegal in Canada, just many of the activities involved in street prostitution are. You only break the law if you are publicly announcing your job, have a brothel, or acting as an in between for the buyer and the seller.

 

post #29 of 103

Adding, the photo, however, is likely just a stock photo of "young teen girls" they have laying around so they don't have to google "young teen girls" (which I advise against, for obvious reasons).

post #30 of 103

 

I actually came away feeling really sorry for the author.  This statement is so outside of my own experience:

 

 

Quote:
Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that's certainly the norm among my peers.  


So she is saying that the norm of her friends who had sex before marraige (not were promiscious, not were sexually used or abused...) but simply had sex before marraige are "downing in regret"?  Seriously, where is she getting this? 

 

From the people *I* know the  group that has the biggest regrets/angst around their sexuality seem to be people who were abused or felt coerced in sexual situations.  She goes on to say:

 

Quote:
I don't know one of them who doesn't have feelings of lingering discomfort regarding her own sexual past. And not one woman I've ever asked about the subject has said that she wishes she'd "experimented" more.

 

 

Maybe I just know too many well adjusted people though.  No, seriously, I don't.  But I do know several people who while they don't wish they had experiemented more, wish they had had the opportunity to do so.  I for example don't wish I had experimented more, but that is soley because I met my DP when I was 16.  So, the only way for me to have experiemented more would have been to start earlier OR not become serious at 17 with my DP.   Looking back, though, having spent over half my life attached to DP, I think it would have been cool *in some ways* to have found him as a junior in college instead of a junior in high school, kwim.  And I know plenty of other women & men who feel that way.

 

So, I guess FME, there are many people out there who do wish there had been more personal sexual exploration.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post

Two reactions: The first is the observation that the writer is operating from a shame-based paradigm, which I do not share nor would I want to impart to my daughters. She has divided grown women into two groups: those with regrets, and those who stayed chaste until after marriage. She describes a sexually active woman in college as a "campus mattress," for cripes sakes! But don't mistake her, she's compassionate -- those type of women clearly need therapy, not judgment! Wow. It's like in her world women are incapable of sexual enjoyment. Sad.

 

Second reaction concerns the clothing, and actually connects with my first reaction: the problem with young girls dressing this way is not that they're becoming sexual beings, it's that they're learning to become sexual objects. We live in a very visual society, and the girls are being taught to present their bodies in a particular way, not for their own individual expression or their own desires, but to align with the image being presented, the image of "desirability." This is packaged in all sorts of ways, including "girl power." I would have the same issue if the clothing was extremely modest. 

 

I don't know why we enable our girls to do this though; maybe because so many grown women haven't worked through the issues themselves. 


clap.gif
 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post




I've got another answer for why we dress our daughters like this: it's because it's what is in the stores. Even for little girls (like early elementary school age), that's what is available. This starts early. There are pageants and Disney princesses and mythology galore that tells them that what really counts is being pretty and bagging the husband. At any cost. 

 




Okay, I hear that excuse a lot. Especially from working moms... "its what's in the stores". Jeesh. If you look around hard enough, there is nice clothing for your girl that doesn't look "too mature". Land's End, Hanna Anderson, thrift stores, basics at JCPenney and Sears.


But you said it yourself, "IF YOU LOOK AROUND HARD ENOUGH."  Yes, I made the effort to dress DD conservatively, in what I felt were age appropirate clothing.  But I had to online order (Lands End), visit other cities (Hanna Anderson Outlet, Carters outlet) or just plain spend more money and time then simply running into Wal-Mart and throwing the first few things I saw in the cart.  Was it a huge deal?  Not for me.  But it WASN'T that convenient.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

LOTS of great posts here.  thumb.gif

 

While I do understand what the author is saying, I also feel like I have personally worked through some of those issues that she hasn't.  Musician Dad, you are RIGHT ON. There is another option for our daughters.  It's not either modest or promiscuous.  There's also the option to be personally sexually interested. 

 

Yup. 



thumb.gif  ITA. 

 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Personally, I want my DD to have the chance to identify with her generation is she wants to. I know I have fun laughing with friends about out the 80's and what we wore then. It's natural for teens to want their own look apart from their parents and their little siblings. I don't feel there is anything wrong with that. Landsend and the like has great stuff for kids and we ordered from them frequantly when DD was like 9. However, they don't have anything for teens really. I wish the fashion industry offered them real choices... a way to be fashionable but still comfortable. Really, why is it that 2 years ago the only options was skinny jeans or jean shopping in your mother's section? Why can't they offer modest versions, styles that look good on various body types (because some clothing can look suitable on one body type only to look questionable on another.) Can a girl find modest clothing? Of course. Will they feel like they fit on campus? Not neccessarily and that's sad to me.



ITA.  I have been able to get DD a couple tops and a couple swim suit bottoms (Lands End has built in bikini bottoms in their girls swim shorts which I love) in the past year or so, but those will probably be the last Lands End items she gets for years (except, perhaps, shoes, fleece outerwear...).  She is 12.  For us, Hanna Anderson (except for some pajamas) didn't work after 4th grade or so.  Considering all of the money I spent to make my child not a walking billboard when she was younger, it could be a bit frustrating to see herself willingly plaster herself with brand logos and wear clothes that are worse quality as well as being less comfortable than the things I would dress her in.  But I also really understand wanting to fit in, wanting to choose your own things...  Which is why Aeropostale now has another hundred dollars of mine from this past week.  DD is even comfortable enough to say (to me, I assume not to her friends), "I want to get this because everyone else has one" and is self-aware enough to say, "I'm going to get the one with the logo across the front--- if I'm going to wear it so it's like everyone else, I want them to know it."  It's funny, but it also, IMO, shows a level of trust of both me (that she doesn't have to invent a reason) and herself (that she can admit a desire to fit-in and work towards that) that I appreciate.  I would have been HORRIFIED at her age to try to explain to my mom that I just wanted to fit in, kwim.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post

I know plenty of people, male and female, straight and gay, who don't look at a provocatively dressed woman and think "she's looking to get laid".


These sound more like the people I know.  And the type of people I want my children to become.

 

post #31 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post

I know plenty of people, male and female, straight and gay, who don't look at a provocatively dressed woman and think "she's looking to get laid".



That's exactly what I was thinking.

 

 

 

Also, a poster upthread said something about her dh saying "I know what men are like". I'm so freaking sick of that line. He doens't know what "men" are like. He knows what he was like. He knows what some men are like. That doesn't mean he knows what "men" are like. Women are (justifiably) pissed off when men group us all together and treat as a walking, talking stereotype, but then we turn around and do the same thing with men, and nobody blinks an eye. Some men go around thinking that any woman who shows some skin is asking for "it", but that doesn't mean all men think that way. It's no different from the fact that there are some women who think that any woman who shows some skin is asking for it, but that doesn't mean that all women think that.

 

I had a good friend in high school. His attitude towards women stunk. It just plain stunk. I loved him to bits, but we went head to head about his attitude more than once. Anyway, he was very, very sexually active, and knew very few girls he hadn't had sex with at some point. He told me once that he knew guys who chased the "slutty" looking girls, because they were more likely to put out, but that those guys were wrong. In his experience, how girls dressed, and how likely they were to have sex, bore no relationship to each other. He's still sexually...promiscuous (hate the word, but don't know what other one to use), and he still says the same thing. He's exactly the kind of man that many men want to protect their daughters from (irrationally, imo, as he's not into rape, and "protecting" one's daughter from consensual sex makes me twitch)...but he's no more - or less - likely to chase a woman who shows a lot of skin, or wears tight clothes, than one who dresses more "modestly". It has nothing to do with the chase. It has a lot to do with his own observations about the lack of relationship between sexual availability and clothing.

 

I absolutely despise the objectification of women. It turns my stomach. But, making assumptions about women's sexual activity based on their clothing is part of that objectification, imo, not a cure against it.

post #32 of 103

Working moms dress their girls trashy huh? I never knew.

post #33 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post



 

 And apparently we must not only accept  - from the sounds of this thread, women seem to actively encourage this kind of objectivisation, and also buy into the idea that there is something wrong with a woman being sexually active.



Yeah.  That was the other thing in the article I cringed at, I might not say to my daughter ''go get laid'', but I won't be letting her know that there is anything wrong with her choosing to do that if she desires, and if she comes to me and talks to me about ''getting laid'', well I will talk to her about safety, respect, consent and having fun and I will tell her that no matter how she dresses NO ONE has the right to her body.

post #34 of 103


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
 She ends up surrounded by people telling her what to do, what not to do, with very few people telling her to do what she feels is the right thing to do.

 

There is a really screwed up idea about female sexuality out there. Where a woman "puts out" and a man "get's laid", in other words, she gives something up to him and he gets something from her. So, yeah, maybe we should be telling our daughters to "get laid" if they feel like it's what they want. 

thumb.gif
 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post

And, yes, there are more positive role models out there, but for every Gloria Steinem there are ten Brittany Spears. And the fact that I can't think of a contemporary positive role model also really sucks. 

 

I've got another answer for why we dress our daughters like this: it's because it's what is in the stores. Even for little girls (like early elementary school age), that's what is available. This starts early. There are pageants and Disney princesses and mythology galore that tells them that what really counts is being pretty and bagging the husband. At any cost. 

My DDs role models come from their real lives -- some of the younger teachers at their school, for example.
 

I'm not buying into the whole "it's what is in the stores" thing. My DD don't dress like whores, and I don't find shopping to be a huge deal. Sure there are things in stores we don't care for, but there are plenty of things we do.

 

And I think the author of the article is fine with "bagging a husband.'  It simple that she thinks that a young woman should *save* herself for him. It kinda made me want to barf.  She wasn't talking about wanting to see girls more concerned with their own dreams and pursuits than with boys, just wanting to see them not looking sexy or getting laid. It's icky.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post

 

So she is saying that the norm of her friends who had sex before marraige (not were promiscious, not were sexually used or abused...) but simply had sex before marraige are "downing in regret"?  Seriously, where is she getting this? 

...

From the people *I* know the  group that has the biggest regrets/angst around their sexuality seem to be people who were abused or felt coerced in sexual situations.  She goes on to say:

....

 


So, I guess FME, there are many people out there who do wish there had been more personal sexual exploration.

 

I felt sorry for the author. She's got some issues with her own past that she hasn't resolved. She should do some affirmations like "I am comfortable with my sexuality" or something. May be talk to a counselor.

 

My kids are right in the age she is speaking about (12 and 14) and what I see just doesn't line up with what she sees. But life and our choices are VERY different. My kids still wear *functional* clothes. They go to an alternative school -- during their day they could spend time in the animal center, the green house, working with pottery, or going for a short hike on the back end of the school property. They don't wear heels and strapless dress. They are surrounded by strong, competent women (and men!) who know how to build things, back pack, etc.
Their relationships with boys are based on common interests and working together.

 

My DDs do like to look *pretty*. I think that a girl can enjoy being a girl and have fun with a little make up and such without looking like a "whore."

 

I know that there is an element of society that is all about making little girls look sexy, but I've found it very easy to opt out of.

 

post #35 of 103

I remember being the kid whose Mom made sure was dressed conservatively. I *hated* it. I think I was a Junior in HS before she finally relented some and allowed me to wear jeans to school. When I had a daughter, I was determined not to put her in that same place. She has a pretty good sense of what is both relatively fashionable, but also looks attractive on her (i.e. even my Mom agrees). Sometimes that's running shorts and a tank top, sometimes it's skinny jeans and a "girly" top. She knows that she doesn't need make-up to be attractive. One thing I can say unequivocally is that she does not dress "slutty". 

 

In the summer? Yep, she's a bikini girl all the way. LOL My Dad says the same thing to me as he said to my then husband years ago - "you let her go out in public like that?" Well... yeah, I do. She has an attractive figure, she's in excellent shape, and frankly - I refuse to allow her to feel ashamed of her body or feel she needs to hide it because someone, somewhere may read her wrong.

post #36 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

My kids are right in the age she is speaking about (12 and 14) and what I see just doesn't line up with what she sees. But life and our choices are VERY different. My kids still wear *functional* clothes. They go to an alternative school -- during their day they could spend time in the animal center, the green house, working with pottery, or going for a short hike on the back end of the school property. They don't wear heels and strapless dress. They are surrounded by strong, competent women (and men!) who know how to build things, back pack, etc.
Their relationships with boys are based on common interests and working together.

 

My DDs do like to look *pretty*. I think that a girl can enjoy being a girl and have fun with a little make up and such without looking like a "whore."

 

I know that there is an element of society that is all about making little girls look sexy, but I've found it very easy to opt out of.

 


LOL, thanks for this post, it really made me go back and put things in perspective.  When I say my dd dressed "conservatively" I don't mean dresses, long sleeves, etc.. I mean *functionally* like you are describing.  Shoes that protect the feet and are good for running.  Pants or shorts or skorts she can be active in.  Shirts that cover the waistband of the shorts or pants, are comfy and stay put.  Something that really bothered me when my kids were younger was that the boys sweats always had pockets and a drawstring whereas the girls didn't.  She ended up in boys sweats a lot of the time.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

I remember being the kid whose Mom made sure was dressed conservatively. I *hated* it. I think I was a Junior in HS before she finally relented some and allowed me to wear jeans to school. When I had a daughter, I was determined not to put her in that same place. She has a pretty good sense of what is both relatively fashionable, but also looks attractive on her (i.e. even my Mom agrees). Sometimes that's running shorts and a tank top, sometimes it's skinny jeans and a "girly" top. She knows that she doesn't need make-up to be attractive. One thing I can say unequivocally is that she does not dress "slutty". 

 

In the summer? Yep, she's a bikini girl all the way. LOL My Dad says the same thing to me as he said to my then husband years ago - "you let her go out in public like that?" Well... yeah, I do. She has an attractive figure, she's in excellent shape, and frankly - I refuse to allow her to feel ashamed of her body or feel she needs to hide it because someone, somewhere may read her wrong.


clap.gif

 

DP had a long way to go for some of DD's clothes.  He has always hated skorts because they are so *short*.  His complaint?  Why can't she just wear a longer skirt?  Well, because a skort allowed her to be active, to hang upside down without worrying about her skirt flying up *but* still feel like she was dressing up.    She's been wearing tankinis for the past couple years, but wants to go with a bikini this year and I think it's great.  She *should* enjoy the health and appearance of her body.

 

post #37 of 103
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Something that really bothered me when my kids were younger was that the boys sweats always had pockets and a drawstring whereas the girls didn't.

 Oh don't get me started!! irked.gif  This seriously irks me about women's clothes in general.  My dress pants don't have pockets.  My skirts don't have pockets. My jeans pockets are shallower than dh's pockets. Heaven forbid a woman has a set of keys in her pocket that might interrupt the outline of her thigh. Give me pockets!

 

post #38 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post

Something that really bothered me when my kids were younger was that the boys sweats always had pockets and a drawstring whereas the girls didn't.  She ended up in boys sweats a lot of the time.
 



My wardrobe was completely shot, so I went out and bought five new pairs of pants at New Year's (amazing sale - got three new shirts, too, and I only paid $145, including tax, for the lot). The one thing I was very, very careful to ensure I was getting was pockets. I've slipped up a few times over the last 5-6 years and grabbed a pair of pants that seemed comfy and not horribly unflattering...only to get home and find they have no pockets. I hate pants with no pockets!!! DH still shakes his head over how stupid women's clothes are.

post #39 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post

 

DP had a long way to go for some of DD's clothes.  He has always hated skorts because they are so *short*.  His complaint?  Why can't she just wear a longer skirt?  Well, because a skort allowed her to be active, to hang upside down without worrying about her skirt flying up *but* still feel like she was dressing up.    She's been wearing tankinis for the past couple years, but wants to go with a bikini this year and I think it's great.  She *should* enjoy the health and appearance of her body.


She's not allowed to wear anything but a one piece at her Dad's. And he always complains that her attire is inappropriate. (But then, he has had the same issue with our son. In his world, preppy is all there is.)

 

Women's pants and pockets. I don't carry a purse - my wallet (or cash/card) goes into the back pocket and my keys are hooked on a belt loop. Phone in one front pocket, miscellaneous stuff (change, chapstick, etc) in the other. Good to go. I tend to buy men's jeans - usually Levi's - specifically for the pockets. Also men's sweats and lounge pants. Since we don't have a landline, I always have my cell on me - a real pain w/o pockets.

post #40 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post

 

I'm not a prude, at ALL. But I see her point. You can't control other people's perceptions of you. No matter how professional and intelligent you are, guaranteed if you show up to an interview in your bathing suit, you won't get hired. Likewise, if a guy is looking to get laid, (not a relationship) he is more likely to pick the girl in the 4 inch heels and leather skirt than the one with a pony tail and jeans. That is partly because of media influence perpetuating those stereo types and partly because it's human nature, I think, to go for the most skin and the sexiest attire. That being said, I do know some guys who enjoy the "chase" of trying to get a "good girl."

 

FWIW, my DP will not allow our 10 month old dd to wear a two piece bathing suit and he has expressed fairly conservative values for her regarding her future dress. When I asked him why he said "I'm a man and I know how men are." So I guess that tells you what camp HE is in. And I assure you heis not a prude nor a conservative type person. He just recognizes that no matter how innocent and pure his dd is she WILL be viewed a certain way by men if she dresses a certain way.

 

hopefully any of that makes some sense, I'm tired and trying to interact with my 3 yr old at the same time!



 

I fully agree.  At my job, I work with a lot of men.  Construction workers mainly.  When they see a hot young female teenager, they drool and their comments are disgusting.  If they had the opportunity, I don't think the law would put enough fear into them to stay away from her.   

 

I'm sorry, but with what these female teens are wearing, it's no surprise.  *I* can't even stop staring at them.  Staring at all the skin they're showing.  Wondering what in God's name their parents are thinking, allowing them to dress like that.

 

I think today's parents need to unite and put their feet down.  Stop buying the trashy clothes, stop letting our daughters wear it.  The fashion industry will get a clue and make more appropriate clothing for our daughters.  It's sad.  And I hope to see changes in the near future. 

 

A teen boy (friend's kid) told me all the happenings at his high school, complete with sex parties.  He showed me photos on his phone of naked teen girls--his class mates sending out their naked photo.  It's so sad.  Most parents, I think, are oblivious.  Their precious child wouldn't do that sort of thing.  But they are. 

 


Edited by ButterflyBaby11 - 3/23/11 at 4:31am
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