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Old 07-16-2003, 08:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Girlhood interrupted: Fashions for teens or toddlers?

Girlhood interrupted: Fashions for teens or toddlers?

Published Tuesday
July 1, 2003

<i>SEATTLE - Parents out shopping for summer clothes with their elementary-school-age daughters can expect short shorts, skimpy tank tops and platform sandals. And for back-to-school, brace for everything from punk princess studded cuff bracelets to cropped hoodies to fitted one-shoulder tops, courtesy of a "Flashdance" flashback.

Parents happy to see the belly-baring Britney Spears drift toward "where-is-she-now?" status won't be reassured by those taking her place: Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Osbourne and the stars of "Charlie's Angels."

Shannon Andrews, mother of Rachael, 8, and Jessica, 4, has just about given up shopping in local malls out of disgust and frustration with hanger after hanger of styles she deems too provocative and sophisticated for little girls.

"It's runway fashions for the toddler set," she said, pointing to a sleeveless blouse designed to tie up in a bow at the bottom to bare the tummy - in a size 4T. Or a pair of short denim shorts with leather lacing instead of zipper - in size 12 months.

In a recent shopping trip for summer clothes, Andrews hit numerous stores and left with only with some socks and sweat pants - purchased from the boys' department, the only place she could find sweats that didn't sit low on the hips. (Rachael's complaint: They don't come in pink.) Andrews didn't see any shorts that she thought would pass the longer-than-the-fingertips dress code at Rachael's school.

"There's no reason for a little 6-year-old to have her rump hanging out of her shorts," fumed Andrews, who started an e-mail campaign to friends and family urging them to call stores and fill out comment cards to request more sedate fashions. "Let's take back our little girls. The only way to stop this is for us as parents to say we're not going to let the media tell us how to dress our kids."

Andrews knows she's fighting popular culture: McDonald's handed out Bratz dolls decked out in miniskirts and boots as Happy Meal toys this spring and teen magazine Twist urged its readers to "get a little sexy" by pairing a "flirty camisole" from the lingerie section with a "cute mini."

"This generation is much more sophisticated than in decades past," said Suzin Boddiford, fashion editor for Girl's Life magazine, which is targeted at girls ages 10 to 15. "The young girls want to look like their favorite models, singers and movie stars and therefore are borrowing ideas from what they see on MTV videos and in movies and magazines."

Jennifer Lopez's clothing line for young girls, which features low-riding jeans with thick belts and denim tank tops, is "blowing off the shelves," Boddiford said.

JLO Girls was a "natural extension" of the junior collection, said Denise Seegal, CEO of Sweetface Fashion Co., the holding company for JLO licensees. Based on demand from the younger age demographic, the company launched the line in girls' sizes 4 to 16 last fall, adding toddler sizes this spring.

"Low-rise jeans and short-shorts have become a wardrobe basic, so baring a slice of skin is not as big a deal as it used to be," Boddiford said in an e-mail.

"Tweens might adapt a fashion look from big sis, but will best pull it off with a dab of lip gloss and a little body glitter instead of a full face of makeup and spiky heels, so as not to cross the line," added Boddiford, noting that Girl's Life uses older teen models on its cover and in its fashion pages to pick up the "older sister" emulation.

"If our floor looked like juniors, the girls would love it," said Emily Rosenbach, girls sportswear and collections buyer for The Bon Marche. But unlike teens, who wield their own spending cash, moms still hold the credit card and veto power with younger girls.
Styles that are more "fashion-forward" sell well in Seattle, but Rosenbach has to contend with customers who complain about risque clothes in the girls' department for ages 6 to 12. "Some moms think they're cute, but it's a family store and we have to cater to all sorts of people," Rosenbach said. "We try to have what girls want to wear but moms will still buy."

Moms see a brand and style on a mannequin in the junior department and assume it's the same thing when they find something with the same designer name in the girls' section, Rosenbach said. But while the girls' sizes may strive for the same look, they're cut more conservatively.

For example, a supposedly low-rise pair of pants in a girls' size won't be cut so low as to expose a pantyline from behind when the girl sits, she said. The girls' styles are "a toned-down version of what's on the junior floor," Rosenbach said.
The girls' department trends tend to be about six months behind juniors', Rosenbach said. "Junior trends are just so fast," she said. "We do catch a few of their things. But they have to be something moms will go for."

Back at the mall, Andrews just sighs as, out of curiosity, Rachael picks up a pair of sparkly faux-snakeskin bikini underwear from a bin in the girls' department.

"Why can't we let little girls be little girls?" Andrews says. "We need to slow (growing up) down, not speed it up. If you dress a little girl in suggestive clothing, she's going to play the part." </i>

Yes folks, we're coming into that time of the year again, when I have to listen to my daughter scream and holler because her befuddled old father won't let her buy school clothes that make her look like she belongs on a street corner.

I'd be interested in hearing <b>your</b> opinions. What do you youngsters think about all of this? How about you old-timers (such as myself)? Do you feel cardiac arrest coming on every time you take your teenage daughters shopping? Or, should I just surrender, and stay the hell out of it?
"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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Old 07-16-2003, 08:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have kids but I just about have a heart attack every time I see an 8-year-old wearing short shorts that say "Angel" or "Flirt" across the rump. Honestly, who could let their children be tarted up like that and not be concerned about the kind of message that's being sent? I worry that the next generation of young women is going to have no problem at all being seen as sexual objects.
"If ten million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."

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Old 07-16-2003, 08:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
I have a 4 month old daughter, and I just hope the pendulum swings back towards moderate clothing styles by the time she is 7 or 8
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Old 07-16-2003, 08:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: backwater, Third World, land of cotton
My parents did a couple of things with us that was pretty effective. First of all, they gave each of us four kids a seasonal clothing budget. And once the money was gone from that particular season, you couldn't buy anything until the next season. So, the choice was ours; I could have the $120 shoes if I wanted them, but that didn't leave much else and I'd get stuck wearing the same old things over and over. Or, I could buy cheaper stuff and end with more clothes in the long run. I became a very frugal shopper for clothes and I quickly learned that all the newest fashion fads all my friends were wearing wiped out the entire budget after only a couple of purchases. Fads were never important to me for that reason, and my clothing was much more sensible.

Second, they laughed at us and ridiculed us for wearing anything stupid looking. I know you're not supposed to ridicule a young person anymore, but I'll bet there would be a lot less stupid looking ones out there if more people would just laugh in their faces for looking ridiculous.

There's my solution for you. Give them a budget and laugh at them.
Living is easy with eyes closed.
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Old 07-16-2003, 10:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My daughter is 4 1/2 - i am hoping that they bring in school uniforms. Its shocking the way that these young kids dress nowadays.

I can't believe i'm saying this, I'm only 30, i sound like my father!
"It is impossible to obtain a conviction for sodomy from an English jury. Half of them don't believe that it can physically be done, and the other half are doing it."
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Old 07-16-2003, 11:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Ohio
I get more than a little disturbed when I'm checking out the tight ass in the micro-cheek flashing shorts, or the super low rises with the thong peeking out...then she turns around and I discover, "HOLY SHIT, that girl's, like, 15!"

The kicker, she's with her mother. That's what really kills me.

It is sad when a 15 year old is showing more skin than my peer aged girls (I am 24) at the bar.
In fact, I wish I could get more girls at the bar to dress like the 16 year olds at the mall. The problem is: the 24 year olds don't want to look like sluts.

Dressing 10 year olds in this manner is truly disturbing. I hope parents out there are fighting the good fight.
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Old 07-16-2003, 04:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dress like that when you're 18, not 18 months. And what the hell is up with clothing costing more when there's less fabric? Let our kids have their innocent childhoods. They'll have plenty of time to become corrupted when they're in high school.
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Old 07-16-2003, 08:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Michigan
My little sister is almost 6 years old and my mom would never let her wear that kind of stuff. Her shorts are all cotton and come down to her knees. Her shirts are all long enough to cover her belly, she actually prefers to wear shirts with puppy and kitty prints on them (you know the stuff that makes kids look like kids). I think she looks absolutely adorable and she likes the clothes just fine.

If and when I have kids they will dress like kids, not like mini-adults.
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Old 07-16-2003, 11:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Chicago
Every time I hear news like this I begin to re-evaluate whether I want to bother bringing life into this world. I'm not so sure I'm capable of fighting such a misguided mass culture.
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Old 07-26-2003, 08:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: Illinois
Just one more sign of the gradual decline of our society. The worst part of this is that it gets manufactured because enough people buy it. If there were more sensible people in the world, this crap wouldn't sell and companies would stop making it. I am eternally grateful that my daughters go to private school with a uniform.
That's right - I'm a guy in a suit eating a Blizzard. F U.
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Old 07-27-2003, 05:32 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Wisconsin
I'm 26 with a 3 year old daughter. For now, it's not a battle. In a few years, I sure hope that it isn't, either. Simply because people have gotten smart, and made their kids dress appropriate. I mean, in the mall...what 12-16 year old really wants some guy craning their neck a little more to see up the skirt, or down the shirt?
In short, I, too, hate this current trend of fashion that the little girls have picked up. They have NO idea, and I'm sure it's lead to the molestation of more than one or two 13 year old girls.
Generally speaking, if you were to get what you really deserve, you might be unpleasantly surprised.
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Old 07-27-2003, 07:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
I am kind of ashamed to say this.

At the mall, its getting hard to determine which girls are 16+(legal age in jersey) You have 14 year olds that look ready and willing

I was hitting on a 14 year old yesterday =( Me and my friends thought she was 17 at least. Got her number, then I found out her age and my jaw dropped. Perfect body wtf =\
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Old 07-27-2003, 08:23 AM   #13 (permalink)
Location: Scotland
I find it ironic that the parents who'll allow their kids to dress in what is quite frankly tarty clothing are the same parents who'll be most concerned at the perceived rise in paedophilia!

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Old 07-27-2003, 08:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
Location: London
I saw this girl the other day who was probably no older than 12 with 'Porn star in training' on her t-shirt. What the hell are her parents thinking?
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Old 07-27-2003, 09:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
Sexy eh?
Location: Sweden
Hmm.. I'm all for seuxal liberation and stuff but to dress up a little kid who hasn't even come into puberty yet in those skimpy outfits isn't right. It's just plain disgusting. A little child is not a sexual being.. It's not until at about halfway through puberty (fourteen, fifteen years) That the even start becomming sexual beings (that they START understanding what it "really" is all about)..

In my eyes we are letting pedophiles dress up our kids creating a smorgasboard for the everyday child molester.

It's just plain disgusting.
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Death is even worse,
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Old 07-27-2003, 10:40 AM   #16 (permalink)
Location: Iowa
It makes me sick to see little girls wearing bikini tops that are worn by older women. It is just wrong and it creates a situation in which they think they must wear provocative clothes in order to feel good about themselves.
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Old 07-27-2003, 10:57 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: Grants Pass OR
I'm a single father w/ custody of my 9 y.o. daughter (as well as my 7 y.o. son). I constaqntly fight the battle w/ my daughter about what clothes I will and will not buy. I will not have my 9 y.o. leaving the house looking like a stripper. True, it does take a little extra work to find modest, yet fashionable clothing for her, but to me it is worth it. I don't purchase clothing that makes her look slutty, she doesn't wear clothing that makes her look that way, and hopefully, with proper PARENTING her tastes will range more towards the conservative fashions.
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Old 07-29-2003, 09:34 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Tweens wearing this kind of clothes as far as I'm willing to accept, as long as it is not too overboard. My definition of tween being 11-12. Any girl younger than that shouldn't be allowed to wear anything slightly revealing. We don't wanna go back in time to when girls were married off at the age of 12, do we?
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Old 07-29-2003, 11:16 PM   #19 (permalink)
Location: way out west
I see a lot of young girls dressed like "Ho's" around here. And have a 15 year old step sister who is quite well endowed and likes to show a bunch of cleavage when she's dressed to go out,yet seem to get offended if any guy over 18 notices that. Duh!!
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Old 07-30-2003, 05:51 AM   #20 (permalink)
Location: ville
right now i like it. but i don't have a daughter right now. and she will not be dressing like a skank. but i will let my (unborn) son date the skanks. i am re-inforcing the double standard!
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Old 07-30-2003, 07:00 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Location: Midwest
Originally posted by billege

The kicker, she's with her mother. That's what really kills me.

Dressing 10 year olds in this manner is truly disturbing. I hope parents out there are fighting the good fight.
The kid's mother who you saw with her bought her daughters clothes. This is how she chooses to allow her daughter to dress.
If parents out there were fighting the good fight, there would be more conservative clothes out there.

Children don't buy clothes. Parents do. Manufacturer's don't produce clothing that won't sell. This is not good for business.

J-Lo and Britney don't dress kids like this. "Parents" do. It's just easier to put the blame elsewhere.
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Old 07-30-2003, 07:11 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Location: Upper Michigan
Dei37 and I have a girl who is 3 but as I look for new clothes for her and she begins to grow out of her old ones I'm having to cross over from the babies section to the girls section of clothes and I don't much like what I see. She has already begun to notice what the other girls in the neighborhood have to wear and when she got one outfit for her Birthday she promptly put it on to run outside and tell her neighbor "I have dress like you!" Obviously this is going to cause some complications down the road. I've already seen her picking out the more revealing clothes in the store. This spring I found a hard time finding a simple one piece swimsuit to fit her. The "bigger" the size the less material was in it and the more they were only offering bikinis.

The shorts are getting shorter and I don't see an end in sight soon. I remember this faze passing through when I was a preteen and my parents freaked when I wore the short-shorts. I learned that my Dad was my best critic and whenever my mother and I debated about clothes my Mom would tell me "Go ask your Dad - He'll be able to tell you what that would make a guy think." And he was honest - sometimes he would say something was ok and other times he wouldn't - but he'd tell me exactly what the guy was thinking. Hearing my Dad tell me that sort of thing mortified me as a preteen so I never argued and quickly conceded. I intend to do the same with my husband and he (dei37) has already vetoed a few items at least until I alter them.

I hope we can keep her from going to far overboard. I want to teach her to respect her body and to not be ashamed of it. I want her to have enough self confidence to choose the clothes that she likes and not the clothes that Media and her friends like. I want her to have enough self respect not to dress herself in such a way as to project a "slutty" image.

Peer pressure will be the biggest battle I believe and it's one of the many reasons that I am seriously considering homeschooling our girl.
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fashions, girlhood, interrupted, teens, toddlers

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