Parents of Girls - Is this an issue at your house?

Is it me or are stores that sell to pre-teens, teens and young women pushing the envelope more and more on their ads?  This is nothing new (I'm looking at you Abercrombie & Fitch) but this one caught my eye and I thought it just too much.

I don't have a daughter so maybe I'm overreacting.  (Also are thigh-high stockings in vogue for young girls?)


Anonymous said…
As a mother of 4 daughter's we talk all the time about what is appropriate and what is not. I agree that marketers are going to far. That ad is crossing the line.

Anonymous said…
Check out Pigtail Pals for a blog that specializes in confronting the sexualization of girls. Redefining girlie.

I was so happy when the UW gymnastics team got a new coach. The floor routines went from something more appropriate at Deju Vu to fun athletic routines.

Josh Hayes said…
I like that American Apparel sources US manufacturers; I hate Hate HATE their ads, inevitably sexualizing waif-like girls, NEVER men....

I AM a parent of a girl (and a boy), but I really don't think it's about that. Anyone with eyes should find this ad loathsome.
Anonymous said…
Uh-oh, you just ignited a 20 year powder keg in me!

We jumped the shark long ago on how badly we exploit our young. Sex sells. Always has, always will, especially in youth fashion. If mommies and daddies didn't buy this stuff to adorn their trophy daughters and sons in, pseudo- pedophile designers like Calvin Klein wouldn't push it. And yes, he's gay, and? Swanky Mr. Polo designs like a age-old pervert, constantly featuring Lolita-like, half-naked nubile young girls in his ads. It's not new. He's been doing it since the 80's. Sorry, but I'm old school; way old school. No short shorts or plunging neck lines on my girl, and no sexism or lewd behavior from my boy. Not in my house. And I don't give a sh*t how the neighbors dress their kids.


Anonymous said…
OT, sorry: But this just in:

"Radical" (hardback) by Michelle Rhee, B&N sales rank: 29,972

Whimper, whimper. Chuckle, chuckle.

Anonymous said…
This is a small issue in our house - parent of a freshman in high school. However, she knows our boundaries and she does not dress inappropriately at school.

That being said, the short shorts are around in the summertime- albeit longer than many of her friends - but still shorter than we wore when we were her age. Cleavage is also an issue with a lot of the girls that we see - totally inappropriate at their age (at any age if you ask me :) - and garnering the wrong kind of attention.

Surrounded by so many of these images, kids are bound to get desensitized and believe that everyone is dressing like that so why not them?

All we can do as parents is point out what negative attention versus positive attention and hit repeat so it sinks in. Eventually, I believe teaching them self-respect will win out.

-Parent of a High-School Girl in a High-Sex age

Charlie Mas said…
It's not an issue in our house because my daughters' tastes in fashion don't run that way. There has been the occassional hem line that was higher than I would like or neckline that was lower than I would like, but not on any kind of regular basis.

Immodesty isn't stylish. Never has been; never will be.
hschinske said…
Well, it dates me, but the general look of the model made me think of Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby (or maybe a bit later -- Blue Lagoon?). I don't have a big objection to the thigh-highs, but pairing a bare-bottom look with a very kiddish-looking hoodie is definitely pedophilia material (or ephebophilia if you want to get specific about it).

I have two daughters (college age now) and have never had much of an issue with their taste in clothing. In fact I've been quite pleased that there have usually been a lot of options available that suited both my and their sense of what was cute and appropriate. But yeah, the ads, ew.

Helen Schinske
Helen, well, yes, that's true. The whole Brooke Shields thing was quite the issue back in the day. Wonder what she tells her daughters? Of course, she was a model and actress but I recall her mother being criticized for allowing it.
Anonymous said…
The way I recall it, Brooke SAID "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins." The picture left the meaning of that phrase to your imagination, unlike the American Apparel ad.
Anonymous said…
I too find such ads offensive, along with a million other things in the media that traffic in the hypersexualization of girls. But I am chiming in - as a mother of two preschool-aged girls -because I'd like to hear how others have explained to their young daughters that such things are "yucky" without making them think negatively about sex and their bodies. I've told my 4-year old that I won't buy Bratz dolls, but I struggle to explain why.

Tara, again, no daughters. But you could ask them if they see any of your friends or other women on the street dressing like that. (Most don't so you are safe.)

Talk to them about great ways to dress using color or jewelry. Show them great fashion icons like Jackie Kennedy or Coco Chanel. In terms of someone closer to their age, show them the Obama daughters. They are beautiful and stylish without being crass.

I always dread the spring because, as I live near Roosevelt AND they don't enforce their so-called dress code, you see a lot of skin and cleavage which I think is inappropriate for school.
mirmac1 said…
My 13 yr old daughter and I walk by those oh so chic boutique. We talk about respecting ourselves and not being driven by what others see or Madison Ave pushes.
Jan said…
No daughters (so I only had to deal with saggy pants a few years back, and then only with one -- the other two had more sense). I have no problem with short skirts (because I remember how short mine were in the early 70s), but hate the cleavage, tight skirts, display (or lack) of underwear, etc. I think the ad is horrible. I went through this with my boys a few years ago when A&F was pitching what I thought was soft porn to sell clothes.

I hope someone has good advice for Tara. Barbies had their own set of issues when I was a kid -- but Bratz dolls strike me as 10 times worse.

Unknown said…
Here's a great article for anyone raising girls.

-public school parent
Anonymous said…
With my daughter in gymnastics and now cheer, she is used to wearing very tiny shorts or leotards but she understands that what is appropriate in the gym isn't necessarily appropriate at school or at the mall.

We avoided all media when the kids were younger. No TV, movies, computers, videos, etc. except for when at Grandma's house. We never went to Toys R Us or go catalogs with plastic toys. We hung out with other families of like minds. So Barbies, Bratz, etc didn't end up being an issue.

Now that my daughter is in public high school she talks about the 'rachets' at school (boys and girls who are loud, obnoxious and dress like the model in that ad) and she does not wish to emulate them.

Jet City mom said…
Bodies have been used in advertising for decades.
American Apparel is not the only advertiser who uses very young models.
( check out the age of the model on the cover of Vogue)

I think advertising gives us a great opportunity to discuss how the media tries to influence our decisions and perception.

Children also mimic their parents. Adults will pass their own neuroses about appearance onto their kids.

Neither of my kids attended schools with dress codes any more elaborate than " thou shalt not wear anything that will endanger oneself nor others".
While some kids went through stages where they dressed trashily, it lost its appeal when it didnt shock as much as expected.

My perspective as a woman who grew very large breasts overnight at the age of 15, was that I just wanted to look like everyone else. The only thing that fit me was tshirts because they stretched. What was I supposed to do with them? Clothes that my friends wore looked different on me. That wasnt my fault.
I think people should worry more about the behavior of their boys, than worry about what girls are wearing.
I agree Jet City but marketing is a big deal and it comes into the school. It's important to think about dressing appropriately for different venues.
Someone said…
Aiyiyi - this has been a nearly constant topic of conversation for the last few years at our house - a 15 year old girl (going on 30 sometimes) who challenges the "acceptable clothing" boundaries on many occasions. School attire isn't a much of an issue, it's the out of school times we "discuss" regularily. For a truly brilliant kid, she just cannot grasp that the clothing she prefers is sending a HIGHLY sexualized message. There has been more than one - "go back and change right now or!!!!" exchange when she's at our house (though her mother has the same talks).

I struggle with this as I want her to be strong and independent and make her own path in the world (she considers herself outside the norm in many ways) but she looks 25 and is in that insane boy-crazy phase all teenage girls go thru so really truly doesn't understand why it's not ok that the 30 year old grocery store clerk hit on her - sighhh.... Ads like that one - are well - blood boiling to me. But yes, using sex as a sales tool is a concept as old as time. Sadly it works.
NW Mom said…
I also find it completely inappropriate that the Ballard Girls' sports teams have BEAVERS written across the butt of their pants. I don't see this on the boys' sweatpants.

When I drive by Ballard High when school is getting out, I am completely blown away that some of the outfits the girls are wearing to school are allowed. It's shocking. Time for uniforms!
Anonymous said…
I agree 100% with Jet City Mom:

"My perspective as a woman who grew very large breasts overnight at the age of 15, was that I just wanted to look like everyone else. The only thing that fit me was tshirts because they stretched. What was I supposed to do with them? Clothes that my friends wore looked different on me. That wasnt my fault.
I think people should worry more about the behavior of their boys, than worry about what girls are wearing."

Sounds like if she were spotted outside of Roosevelt or Ballard today, she'd be judged right away by many commenters on this thread. I work in another district and one year during our excruciating review of the middle school dress code, several of us women noticed all of the recommended changes were targeted at female students. One person raised her hand and said, "How about we just make it against the rules to be a girl?"

American Apparel's ad campaign worked exactly as intended.

Anonymous said…
Sex. Like we all got it right. So making women hide their bodies is wrong and showing too much, by some arbitrary standard( Google American Apparell ads in Europe - the young women are topless and one shows a women licking a mans crotch!) is wrong. Lets face it, sex is a problem for humans to deal with, from burkas to porn, we are a confused species. I hope the new generation does better.


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