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On the Sexualization of our Daughters and Ourselves

April 19, 2011

My friend Mina sent me this article just now and I found it so alarming and unsettling I wanted to share it right away. It’s about girls rather than women but I didn’t want to post it just at SOAM since it’s really something that effects every age of women. Push-up bras for six-year-olds should make you sick, and it should also make you wonder why you feel YOU need one. The answer is: because you are told you aren’t good enough without one. And you – we, as women – believe it. I call bullshit. Your breasts are FINE. Just like a six-year-old without any is FINE – perfect even! I’m not saying you should , restop wearing push-up bras if that’s your thing, all I’m asking is that you pay close attention to the message marketers are sending to you and to every female (and male) on this planet regardless of age: You aren’t worthy, but we can help with that! They reduce you to money. They reduce our children to money. They do this by attacking our very self-worth. Stop allowing it. You are worth so much more than that, you beautiful women.

Go read the entries at Save Our Daughters and maybe think about writing one yourself.

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5 Responses to “On the Sexualization of our Daughters and Ourselves”

  1. Bryana Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Not only did this article make me sick, especially since I have a 2 year old daughter, it made me rethink where my anger is directed. The article is right, we commonly get angry at the retailers and designers, but they can only sell what will be bought. Scary, very scary.
    I remember growing up as a child, my dad was so strict on what we wore and when we could wear certain items of clothing, makeup and shoes. However, despite my parents best efforts in teaching me that “I am fine just the way I am”, I had a self-esteem problem. My teenage years were not pretty or graceful. They were damaging and destructive. Although that has changed and I have a very new and beautiful outlook on not only my own body, but every womans body, I still wear a pushup bra from time to time, I’ll wear the low cut jeans or tops. Not to feel better about myself persay but to feel sexier, some might even say a little more proud of myself and the body I have grown to love.
    But I am nearing 24, not 7 or 8, and I never grew up wearing a pushup bra or sweatpants with “Juicy” scripted along my ass (nor do I wear such pants now… or ever!). And my daughter, you better believe she aint wearing nothing of the sort until she is mentally capable of making that decision, which in my own perfect world may be 40 years old :)

  2. Bonnie (TIAW) Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Well don’t stop being mad at the companies who sell them because, really, they have every opportunity to NOT sell this crap even IF people will buy it. They really CAN take the high road. They’ll still make money. They deserve just as much anger as the parents who buy the crap.

  3. Mina Says:
    April 20th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I agree with you, Bonnie. Parents have responsibility for sure, but that doesn’t excuse irresponsible (dare I say even predatory?) marketing on the part of retailers.

    This article really got to me…I happen to be a mom to only boys, but with my eldest beginning middle school this year I’ve been hyper-aware of the change girls go through during the tween years. Last year, they were playing handball and running around at recess, this year it’s designer labels and makeup (and they’re 11). That happens between elementary and middle school…one year, in a snap.

    And I happen to live in one of those “Real Housewives” kind of areas where plastic surgery abounds…and the pressure is horrible on these young girls.

    I guess I feel like to some degree when marketers target adult women with “buy this product and it’ll change your life”, we are better equipped to respond with a critical eye and have to take a bit more responsibility for how we let it affect us. BUT…Children aren’t so equipped. I still remember my oldest boy being upset at the brand of diapers I bought his younger brother, because it “wasn’t the softest kind”. He was 3, and he believed the commercials wholeheartedly. He didn’t understand profitability, the cost of advertising, or that there might be exaggerations or even flat-out lies in commercials. Translate that to ads for push up bras or the “credit card” underwear cited in the article and it makes me sick to think about it.

  4. Colleen Says:
    April 20th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I actually read this earlier and read parts of it out loud to my husband. We’ve had discussions in the past about how I am so depressed that the “tween” age exists now. When I was 11-12 I was a KID. I giggled about the boys in my class, sure, but I wasn’t already trying to be a teenager. Now 9-10 year-olds are the new early teens, and it just gets to me. I love my daughter, I’m thrilled to have a little girl, but I don’t know how I’m going to deal with having a “tween” because I never was one myself. I worked with tween girls for 4 years and it’s a stage of life that simply didn’t exist 15 years ago–and to be perfectly honest, I really wish it still didn’t exist.

    And I’ll be darned if my daughter wears a bra before middle school (unless, of course, she gets my boobs and NEEDS it!). Her daddy doesn’t even okay two-piece bathing suits despite the fact she’s in the cute-toddler-big-diaper-in-a-two-piece stage. Cute is okay, sexy is not, end of story.

  5. Irate Says:
    April 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I read an article today about a 17 year old girl and a 24 year old teacher and their “relationship”. The comments that followed it were amazing. Everything from ” she’s a whore” to “he’s a pedophile”. It goes along with everything that seems to be happening lately. These barely legal looking females, showing all in television shows, these movies that show women as nothing but window dressing. We take 15 year old girls, say they’re 18 (as if it matters) and have them strip down and show us the ideal woman. And we wonder why young girls try to be like them when thats what most of the advertising is directed at. We wonder why real ADULT women feel insecure. I find it honestly disturbing. I’m not old (27) but that can make even me feel old. I remember being younger and waiting to look like these women. I find it odd that with all the things we try to censor in society, this is not one of them. Maybe because it appeals? I don’t know why any adult male wants a child girl, why any parent finds this acceptable, why we can tolerate this blantant distruction of our women and their self esteem and self worth.

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