Tag Archives: sexualizing children

Children: Makeup & Bras

27 May


A little over a week ago, I asked Facebook what they thought of my tension over children in make up and/or in adult styled clothes? Most people agreed putting make up on children sexualizes them. To be clear: My tension with children in makeup is because I do not believe makeup and/or sexy clothes should ever = sex. Because it doesn’t! Clothes and makeup can be expressions of SO many things.. Though sometimes they are representations of feeling sexy and/or attractive (which, to be clear, does not mean sex). I took serious issue with my knee-jerk reaction. Consciously, I do not agree with my subconscious. There is some work left to do, you know?

I do not think we should contribute to an idea that clothes and makeup, used to be attractive or to enhance attractiveness or.. whatever the reason, should automatically equate with sex. That leads to our default assumption about someone who is wearing “attractive” clothes (whatever that means; the definition varies from culture to culture) and/or makeup is looking for sex or wants sexual attention. THAT is dangerous and simply untrue. There are so many reasons why people wear clothes that revel the lines of their figure or use make up to enhance features (or play down certain features). So much of it is just normal in our culture anyway. It’s just.. habit and expected (many women put make up on for the work place. It’s only recently the requirement of wearing makeup has been disputed).

Even after dismissing this reason for being uncomfortable in my subconscious and reaffirming with myself that clothes/makeup does NOT equal sex (I have plenty of habits to undo), I still felt uncomfortable.

So.. why?

There was a comment left on my FB page that this robs children of their childhood. I think this is what bothers me. It’s not that I don’t think children should learn about how to be a fantastic adult. I do! Childhood is the foundation for how are default adult characters will be. And that’s the problem I have with putting adult makeup and adult clothes on children. There is sooooo much time for this later in life. In fact, MOST of our lives, we will spend being adults. Playing with clothes, playing with our hair.. and while we say looks are not important.. we understand, as adults, that our societies will judge us based on our looks, how we present ourselves. I’m not saying that doing this is correct way to be but it is a reality (which is why I fight rape culture; because people still think how a victim is dressed contributes to rape and well, the victim had it coming. That’s flat out wrong).

Childhood should be about building character. They already watch adults primp, figure out what clothes to wear, spray on cologne or perfume and fix their hairs.. or not do any of these things. They are observing. So why put them in the position to make adult decisions? Why can’t they just left to observe a while? Those years of figuring out how they want to express themselves are coming up fast.

Then again, I have a friend who lets her daughter (under the age of 10) dye her hair the color she wants (I thinks he picked pink). I think that’s awesome! But it was seeing a 7 year old I know, happily showcasing her bras to me..  made my heart sink and my stomach cringe. Seeing her in eyeshadow got to me. That is what triggered this discomfort. She’s just a little girl. It doesn’t seem like costumes .. or playtime. It felt too grown up.

Perhaps I haven’t figured it out just yet.. What do you think?


NJ High School Tells Girls No Strapless Dresses *Edited*

8 May

No no

I read the article about the New Jersey high school dress code not allowing strapless dresses to be worn at prom because it is too “distracting.” Some parents agreed with the rule and others claimed this was slut shaming.

For me, this is particularly interesting issue. I agree with skirts not being allowed to be shorter than 6 inches or have to be longer than where your finger tips reach on your thighs when you put your hands down at your sides. And this rule that the high school has passed into dress code is interesting. Why am I not upset about the idea of a teen girl wearing a strapless dress but I am upset when teen girls wear things that are too tight or too short.

Why is one thing okay and another is not?

The most notable piece of information here is the environment. In one scenario, the teen girl is at school, in class (presumably). The other scenario is her at a high school dance. In class, a dress code makes sense because class is about learning and it isn’t about fashion (well, I don’t feel it should be in high school). But a prom is about having fun, dancing and having the time of your life.

Personally, I don’t understand why girls wear short dresses when they go to dance. I have tried it and while I looked fabulous (yes!) I couldn’t dance the way I wanted to. A girl needs to get down!

I do think we need dress codes for minors but where do you draw the line? A strap seems to be a ridiculous line to me. If they were discuss dress lengths, on the other hand, I would be inclined to agree.. But why?

What makes this slut shaming? It’s that their reason is it will be too distracting for the boys. But isn’t that the reason for a lot of girls’ dress codes in school? It’s wrong. That can’t be the reason anymore. It should not be allowed. We can’t talk about it like this anymore because that is distracting from the real issue here: that girls are responsible for not distracting boys’ attention, that we are responsible for their successes or failures at school. And vica versa! We are responsible for our own behavior. It is about personal responsibility and not blaming others. But I am not against the idea of dress codes or dressing guidelines simply because it keeps everyone on a “equal” level (and no, I did not attend a school with a uniform. I also thought this was as a high schooler and my opinion hasn’t changed because I’m older).

Strange. I had never thought about it before. What are your thoughts?

Also, recently I noticed how uncomfortable I am when little girls wear make up. I’ve always been uncomfortable with it but now I am really uncomfortable with it. The first thing I think of is pedophiles and how inappropriate it is for a little girl to look like a grown woman.

I do understand where people are coming from when they say “But if she hadn’t dressed like that she wouldn’t have been attacked.” Maybe this line of thinking starts when girls are little. It doesn’t mean it’s correct. It’s just something we’ve carried on.

That is something to ponder. What do you think?

P.S. It is very important for me to note here there is a difference between telling children/young adults what is appropriate to wear and telling a grown ass woman what is appropriate for her to wear. But right now, I don’t know the lines sometimes.

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