The eroticization of children. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Did I spell that right? And is it even a word?



Anyway, in today's New York Times:

"Middle School Girls Gone Wild."

" ... I’m sure that many parents see these routines as healthy fun, an exercise in self-esteem harmlessly heightened by glitter makeup and teeny skirts. Our girls are bratz, not slutz, they would argue, comfortable in the existence of a distinction. But my parental brain rebels ... "





Ignore his final thought about boys, that's another issue. What he says about what is seemingly acceptable for girls ... is sadly right on.
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#2 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:55 AM
 
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Yeah, I see young girls at the mall.. 10 year olds.. dressed like they're in music videos. So awful. I wonder what their mothers are thinking.. and then I see the mothers, dressed in exactly the same clothes.

I don't know what to do, except create an alternative culture so that my son sees alternative images. At least then he has choices. We are careful what media we let in the house, we send ds to a school that shares our values, we live in a community where there are a lot of alternative images.. and as he gets older we will discuss these things. I think I'd handle it the same way with a girl. Though with a girl, you'd have the dilemma of what to do when she starts wanting to wear that stuff. Ugh.

And no, I don't buy that last line about boys at all. Though the issue with boys isn't objectification like it is with girls.
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#3 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 10:39 AM
 
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To much food for thought. (My blood stream hasn;t absorbed it's caffeine yet )

I SERIOUSLY worry about the effects of pop culture on my children's delicate psyches. We are in the lucky position of being able to afford alternative education, but not really having access to very many options. It's one of the reasons we want to homeschool. At least for the beginning years. We are hoping that a good alternative school, or homeschooling, will help develop our kid's sense of self to the point where they will be able to see pop culture for what it is. I can dream right?

What I am really interested in hearing is how you wise mamas who have pre-teens in public school handle the effects of the media amd marketing on your kids. I am certain that if there are parents out there who can navigate these choppy waters, they are MDC mamas : and I want to hear how you do it, because our little public school is very sweet and I don't want to eliminate it as an option. Ya know?
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#4 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 11:39 AM
 
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Things like this have been really upsetting to me. I see my 13 year old cousin dressing like well...a "hoochie"...and it just bothers me. She is 13, and wears skirts up to her hoo-ha, and shirts that show her [lack of] cleavage. Then is covered in glitter and makeup. THIRTEEN. I just can't let it go, when I was 13 (which wasn't even really all that long ago - I'll be 21 next month) I never dressed like that. I think the media is really hitting an all time low and our children are there to suck it all in :
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#5 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 11:56 AM
 
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So disturbing. I don't get the prostitot look at all. I don't wear clothes like that, why would I want my child to dress like that? My dd is 6 and very tall for her age. It is so difficult to find modest clothes that suit her age that are not just plain long sleeve t-shirts. And bathing suits, well thank goodness for Lands End full coverage tankini.

Sadly, I have friends who allow their dd's do exactly what these girls did in their talent show. When my friends dd was 8 she was enamored with Bratz, had her whole room decorated with Bratz stuff. Her mother would complain about all the stuff. I pointed out that she did not have to buy all the stuff. I was corrected and told that I will see when my dd is older. *sigh*

My dh and I are doing all we can to instill a sense of self in our children. The ability to be okay with who they are that will help them charter the waters of adolescence.

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#6 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 12:39 PM
 
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Ick. It's so sad.

Sadder still is that if I take my 3.5 yo to a kiddie playground, he's seeing that stuff already, in girls not much older than him! : 7 year olds in glued-on jeans and fully made-up. :
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#7 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 12:43 PM
 
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All the young girls in our neighborhood dress like that too (though, more "slutz" than "bratz", unfortunately. I can't figure out what their parents are thinking, or if they're thinking at all. Even the pre-adolescents do this, and they "hang out" with much older kids. I can't help but think they are at risk.
My sister had a friend who gave up taxi-driving because he just couldn't stomach the weekends, with very young girls dressed very sexy, with older guys, heading for clubs and parties.
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#8 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 01:20 PM
 
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Sadly, I have friends who allow their dd's do exactly what these girls did in their talent show. When my friends dd was 8 she was enamored with Bratz, had her whole room decorated with Bratz stuff. Her mother would complain about all the stuff. I pointed out that she did not have to buy all the stuff. I was corrected and told that I will see when my dd is older. *sigh*
I think that's where my AP sensibilities end. My parents wouldn't let me dress like a slut, even if I had wanted to why should things be different for my dd? Or maybe I should say my parents wouldn't buy me Calvin Klein jeans in 8th grade no reason why I can't do the same to my dd. My job is to be a parent not the best friend who lets my dd do what she wants and spend all of my money.

Frankly I keep hoping somehow nuns habits will become all the rage when dd hits 10. I have problems even finding stuff that's not "sassy" for my 3 year old sometimes. I really hate the objectification of girls. Over in Childhood Years we've been discussion a princess article from the NY Times. To me, this is where it starts.

And you're right Merpk, even though I don't have a boy, I can see his comment was way off the mark.
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#9 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 01:41 PM
 
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My best friend has a son the same age as mine (5) and a 7 year old daughter and this has all ready become an issue for her. She is (using her words) "putting her foot down" and not allowing bratz and the like nor the clothing associated w/ bratz/Britney etc. While her daughter considers herself a "tomboy" she so desperately wants a bratz doll becasue everyone else has them. My friend and her daughter have a great relationship and really can and do talk, the marketing is so pervasive she constantly feels the struggle. The power of peer pressure is hard to buck against when you are the only one bucking, kwim?

And where do you draw the line? Her house is a safe haven against the eroticism of girls but what do you do when your daughter is invited to a bratz themed b-day party by her best friend? When another one has a "spa" party w/ full makeovers, mani/pedis, facials and massages? And yet another's father hires a limo ( ) to go and see the Cheetah girls? She is feeling the stress of always saying no.

I have no advice for her but just try to keep supporting what she is doing but I know it is so hard and such a slippery slope. He daughter actually asked why she was allowed to wear a tankini at the beach but not allowed to wear shirts that showed her belly. :

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#10 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 01:57 PM
 
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What surprised me, though, was how completely parents of even younger girls seem to have gotten in step with society’s march toward eroticized adolescence — either willingly or through abject surrender. And if parents give up, what can a school do? A teacher at the middle school later told me she had stopped chaperoning dances because she was put off by the boy-girl pelvic thrusting and had no way to stop it — the children wouldn’t listen to her and she had no authority to send anyone home. She guessed that if the school had tried to ban the sexy talent-show routines, parents would have been the first to complain, having shelled out for costumes and private dance lessons for their Little Miss Sunshines.
This is the saddest & most true commentary on our society. It is completely mind-boggling that so many adults don't see anything wrong with this. And yet, if you breastfeed your infant in public...
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#11 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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I can't see the whole article and Bug Me Not is banned from my work computer. Can someone please PM me the article?

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#12 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 02:13 PM
 
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Dh and I have already talked about toys we don't agree with. His sister is still pissed that her mother never bought her a Barbie. So dh says allowances are for buying toys we don't agree with. Unless we're talking about dangerous toys. I always worry if you forbid things completely that it just makes them more interesting. Dh and his sister were both forbidden TV for the most part growing up both of them watch more TV than I ever have.

But then I also believe that you should have enough confidence in your parenting skills that even if your child buys Bratz dolls with her allowance for a year, she'll eventually realize she's more than a sex object. Just you as a parent have to grit your teeth and be patient sometimes.
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#13 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 02:46 PM
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That's why I buy my dd boys' cut jeans (they cover more of her body and are more comfortable!) and I buy all of her shirts on-line from Cabellas, Land's End, and LLBean. I can't find her any shirts in the mall.

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#14 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 03:09 PM
 
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I have a total ban on Bratz dolls and any clothing I deem "too grown-up." My daughter is 8. I'm willing to have the fights about hoochie clothes when she's 14, but I refuse to even entertain the thought now.

(I also only allow "clothing with words" in the house on a case-by-case basis, giving me the opportunity to explain why "New York City Ballet" is OK on a T shirt, but "I Love Daddy's Credit Card" is not.)

ETA: Our other "total ban" is Limited Too. Have you been in there recently? Ick.
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#15 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 03:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by vermonttaylors View Post
What I am really interested in hearing is how you wise mamas who have pre-teens in public school handle the effects of the media amd marketing on your kids. I am certain that if there are parents out there who can navigate these choppy waters, they are MDC mamas : and I want to hear how you do it, because our little public school is very sweet and I don't want to eliminate it as an option. Ya know?
My DS is 9 and once told my cousin the meaning of this rap song he heard through kids at his public school. Where did he get it from? A boy who heard the translation from a girl (they were in the 2nd grade). The translation was about a woman performing oral sex on a man. : PISSED ME OFF!!! We don't watch videos, we don't listen to much rap/r&b, and we spend and have spent Tons of time doing constructive cultural things. So, my DS' idea of what is entertainment was already formed prior to being exposed to trash as I call it by third persons or even in the barber shop when he gets his hair cut or by his dad or paternal grandmother. Obviously we're not together. I used to freak out and get really pissed off about stuff and worry about his exposure and how it will change him, etc. etc. However, I believe that up til 12 parents have more influence on their kids and 12+ is when other kids influence kids more. My DS isn't perfect, but he still has a certain amount of innocence in his character that is challenging for him since he attends public school with overexposed children. He recognizes what is inappropriate - music, tv, conversations and will frequently speak up and say that it is inappropriate to me or to his peers. It doesn't earn him brownie points with them though - so my goal this year has been to continue to encourage him to be confident in who he is and not feel compelled to follow the crowd. I think that I've done a pretty good job too - he had a little "girlfriend" (which i don't condone but if he volunteers info I have to calmly respond) and I asked him why he liked her. He said she likes jazz music, r&b, classical music, is a violinist and likes to dance. My son likes the same things but plays the clarinet. So, I felt good about the reasons he gave - not so superficial for a 9 yr. old.

Whenever there is a song or something that he's learned through kids that he wants to sing, I will listen to it on the radio alone and explain why he can't listen to it - if it is demeaning to women, I ask him to think about how he would feel about his mom or cousin or potential baby sister being talked to or treated that way. For example, there is a song, "shake your money maker" - he likes the beat didn't know what the words meant - I explained to him what it means and asked if he wanted me to shake my money maker. He said no and I told him it was just disrespectful music. He's really overprotective (so much so that he asked if any of the midwives are men b/c he wants to know who will be in the room with me when I have the baby), so I use that part of his personality to help him develop an internal control that will drive his decisions about what is acceptable behavior and what isn't when it comes to his interactions with females.

I attended a talent show when DS was in teh 2nd grade - he played the AFrican drums. There were 2 acts that distrubed me - one was with 2 little girls in an elementary school dancing inappropriately to a song that was not for kids. I felt so uncomfortable, I was having a physical reaction to it and kept wondering what all the parents were thinking. Unfortunately, so many parents think it is out of their hands - no child is buying their own clothes at 12 years old! And if they are - that is a problem. My friend does not allow her daughter to watch videos and she doesn't get to read the teen magazines. She wears gap and old navy clothes that are tasteful and "preppy" and wears little girl hairstyles, she takes her to plays and listens to neo-soul music. As a result, her daughter is still like a little girl and she attends a public school.

One last thing in this rambling post...My niece is in the 1st grade and apparently was in a conversation with a little girl whose mom is kind of hoochie-ish about being popular. The little girl said she was popular or girls are popular b/c of wearing short skirts. My niece responded that she is popular because she drinks soy milk and her mom has a brown purse.
Obviously, the level of trash exposure to my niece is really limited and she is surrounded by positive images and involved in positive activities since her comeback was so corny and innocent.

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#16 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 04:15 PM
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I have a 13 year old, so a "middle-schooler". We're currently trying to find a dress for her to wear to my dad's wedding. It needs to be fairly dressy (not like a formal, but pretty nice), not white, and not "hoochie". We're also trying to for not-black, because it is traditionally considered verboten for weddings, although I hear that rule is changing so we may go with black, because 80% of the dresses we've found are black. We've been to at least a dozen stores, and have come up with squat, except for some dresses that look like something a 50-year old would wear. I want to find a nice, basic, party dress, where the boobs don't hang out and not slit up to mid thigh. This should not be so hard...

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#17 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 04:38 PM
 
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It scares me too... not so much the pretending and the show, but the actuality of premature sexual activity... children just can't make good decisions about sex, even if they are curious. I was molested by an older boy when I was a child, it was completely traumatic. Kids do all kinds of things that would make you shudder.
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#18 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 04:44 PM
 
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If the hoochie clothes are still all the rage when my DD is 10, she'll have to either be very unpopular or start new trends, because she will *not* be leaving our house looking that way. Yikes. It gives me the creeps, big time. Not to mention how my DH would react.
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#19 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 04:51 PM
 
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My dd and I have never given in to these fads. You can look nice with only a moderate amount of skin showing. Not that there's anything wrong with skin, but we don't need to look that (trashy) way to be attractive.
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#20 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 05:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Individuation View Post

ETA: Our other "total ban" is Limited Too. Have you been in there recently? Ick.
I recently bought a few things for my 11 year old sister from Limited Too. Was it easy? No. I reeeeeeeally had to search through the stuff, but I found a pair of jeans (that actually don't fit like a glove and look really nice), a pair of olive colored cargos, and a shirt (with a high neckline, long sleeves, and went all the way to her hips!). But some of their stuff? : The only reason I didn't buy everything from Gap Kids is b/c I didn't take her with me into the store.

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#21 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 05:18 PM
 
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Interesting article. I'm reading it from my lonely branch though... which is common for me at MDC. My Dd plays with Bratz and Barbies. She listens to music with some mature content, and she wears "belly shirts".

See, my kids make their own clothing choices. They have tons of my opinion and guidance and what I might think about any particular item, but I have yet to ever say "You aren't allowed to wear that." I might say "Do you feel comfortable with this? Here are my thoughts..." or "That color is really cool. I am wondering if it's really an appropriate style to wear for xyz though. Do you think the see-thru thing is an issue or will you be cool with it there?" My 13 year old Dd does have some shirts that expose her belly (mostly warm weather attire), some short shorts, and some short skirts. She really likes to wear funky patterned tights and gloves, and she switches styles often going from emo/punky to pink and princessy to work out pants and a plain tee. Even in a short skirt and navel baring tank top I've not seen her look "hoochy". She also wears make-up including eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick.

Perhaps it's in the attitude. She's not really been about trying to get "boys" with her clothing choices. Ive never seen her "show off" her body. Ive only seen her experiment with clothing styles she likes that she feels good about. And I know she feels that way because we talk about it. On the other hand I have seen some girls her age and older that it seems are desperately longing for attention in their clothing and behavior. And both the kids and I have talked about that when we see it as well.

What I think it sometimes comes down to is a mix of things. Bodies and minds (although the minds are a bit behind sometimes I think) that are sexually maturing + a desire to be seen as something anything besides a "little kid" + not a lot of parental involvment outside of "bans" and rules = that girl gone wild feeling. While it's an issue that concerns me when I see it I don't think that every pre/teen girl that dresses that way, listens to that kind of music, or plays with Bratz & Barbie dolls has "gone wild". My Dd does all of those things, and she's a strong minded young woman who's not afraid to tell you what she thinks and why.

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#22 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 06:31 PM
 
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I have a 13 year old, so a "middle-schooler". We're currently trying to find a dress for her to wear to my dad's wedding. It needs to be fairly dressy (not like a formal, but pretty nice), not white, and not "hoochie". We're also trying to for not-black, because it is traditionally considered verboten for weddings, although I hear that rule is changing so we may go with black, because 80% of the dresses we've found are black. We've been to at least a dozen stores, and have come up with squat, except for some dresses that look like something a 50-year old would wear. I want to find a nice, basic, party dress, where the boobs don't hang out and not slit up to mid thigh. This should not be so hard...

dar
How about this one: http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/2912170?...origin=related

Also, do NOT worry about her wearing black. I bet 90 percent of the guests will be wearing black. The whole "verboten" thing is not just 'changing' it's OVER!

My 13 year old is wearing this in the largest kids size (16) to a wedding http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/2909112?...origin=related

And my 11 y.o. is wearing this. The 13 y.o. tried on the size 16 and it was HUGE, so even if your dd doesn't normally wear this size it might fit. http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/2904197?...origin=related
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#23 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:03 PM
 
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I've seen mini skirts in the TODDLERS section of stores. Size 2T, no kidding! I think it is absolutely disgusting that people would dress their little girls in these clothes. There are so many child predators out there that prey on innocent little children, why would anyone want to sexualize a small child and heighten the risk that she get molested by one of these sick people?

Tiny skirts or half shirts on young girls is not cute, it's creepy. Children grow up and develop and interest in sex far too early as it is, why would anyone want to rush this? I guess this all hits a sore spot with me because I was targeted by several sexual predators as a child. I just can't see why anyone would want to show off a young girl's body like that.

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#24 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:05 PM
 
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Dd is 11 and just rented the Bratz video game from the store. And OMG!!! I am actually really glad I let her rent it, against my initial instinct, because it gave us a real chance to talk about the effects of clothing choices, what I consider appropriate and why, that sort of thing. The characters in this game were literally wearing tiny little shorts that didn't even cover their backsides, underwear mascarading as skirts and shirts, and thigh-high boots. And don't even get me started on the whole school-girl-in-a-uniform with way too sexy stockings thing. It was absolutely vile.

What dd actually wears is jeans, long-sleeved shirts, long dressy skirts with sweaters in the winter, or layered camis and shirts so that no belly skin is exposed. A lot of it is about comfort -- she still likes climbing trees and riding her bike, which is pretty tough to do wearing a miniskirt and heels! She really does love fashion, and I shop with her to allow her to express her own style in a way that doesn't make her look hoochie-ish. I'm all about letting her pick lots of accessories! She has good taste in clothes and dresses very much like most of her friends -- conservative, but still in fashion. She isn't in public school, so I imagine that's a factor. But I still think the biggest factor is that we, as her parents, have talked about this since she was old enough to make choices about her clothes. Hopefully, as she grows, she'll be able to make good choices for herself.
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#25 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:07 PM
 
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I agree with the general sentiment against dressing little girls in miniskirts and the like, but I think this "making them vulnerable to predators" is a fallacy. Predators target those who appear vulnerable, not those who are dressed too "adult." They may target a girl because she seems to be screaming for attention through her revealing clothes but they are at least as likely also to target a girl who is dressed plainly and seems shy and mousy. They look for psychological vulnerability and you can't protect your child from predators in any way by dressing them modestly.

Edited because I snipped the wrong quote.
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#26 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:10 PM
 
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I want to find a nice, basic, party dress, where the boobs don't hang out and not slit up to mid thigh. This should not be so hard...
My sister has always had to start *months* ahead to find decent clothing for her flute concerts and her graduation. She's very, very thin, and the stores seem to think that all thin girls want to look like catwalk models with very little on. :

She's found a good thrift store recently though, and generally manages to piece together some classy outfits, mostly skirts and sweater sets.
Actually, I've found our thrift store is the best place to get decent clothing--you just have to find a good one and visit regularly.
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#27 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:26 PM
 
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Here's a related article What’s Wrong With Cinderella? by PEGGY ORENSTEIN
Published: December 24, 2006 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/24/ma...rincess.t.html

Is there a place to post the entire article for those who aren't signed-in to "The New York Times" or for when it's archived?

In any case, the article is about the mother loosing it when once again there is a "Cinderella" them at the dentist office of all places. "Everything" is so gender specific. She does go into the issue of gender constancy, writing that until they’re about 6 or 7, children don’t realize that the sex they were born with is immutable. They believe that they have a choice: they can grow up to be either a mommy or a daddy. Some psychologists say that until permanency sets in kids embrace whatever stereotypes our culture presents, whether it’s piling on the most spangles or attacking one another with light sabers. What better way to assure that they’ll always remain themselves?... By not buying the Princess Pull-Ups, I may be inadvertently communicating that being female (to the extent that my daughter is able to understand it) is a bad thing.

Also, interestingly, pink used to be a "boys" color as it was a pastell version of red. Blue, found on the dresses of Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and the Virgin Mary was the girly color. Every time I see commercials for all this mass marketed girl stuff I'm so glad we have a boy!

In any case, an intersting article somewhat related to the OP's article.
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#28 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
I agree with the general sentiment against dressing little girls in miniskirts and the like, but I think this "making them vulnerable to predators" is a fallacy. Predators target those who appear vulnerable, not those who are dressed too "adult." They may target a girl because she seems to be screaming for attention through her revealing clothes but they are at least as likely also to target a girl who is dressed plainly and seems shy and mousy. They look for psychological vulnerability and you can't protect your child from predators in any way by dressing them modestly.

Edited because I snipped the wrong quote.
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#29 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Imvishta View Post
She does go into the issue of gender constancy, writing that until they’re about 6 or 7, children don’t realize that the sex they were born with is immutable. They believe that they have a choice: they can grow up to be either a mommy or a daddy. Some psychologists say that until permanency sets in kids embrace whatever stereotypes our culture presents, whether it’s piling on the most spangles or attacking one another with light sabers.
I think that was proven wrong with the tragedy of David Riemer and the countless numbers of intersex children who were "assigned" a gender they didn't identify with.

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#30 of 155 Old 12-29-2006, 07:53 PM
 
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I think that was proven wrong with the tragedy of David Riemer and the countless numbers of intersex children who were "assigned" a gender they didn't identify with.

EXACTLY. That article is a bunch of bs when it comes to gender identity. Very very very young children "know" their gender (sometimes they even know they have been born the wrong one).

My in-laws tried to raise their boys and girl without gender sterotypes and it acutally created a fair amount of resentment.
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