Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?

Tiana at LAF/Beautiful Womanhood linked over to Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That? in the Wall Street Journal regarding how we let our daughters dress.

So this is pretty much half the article, but it was good:

Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we're being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?

I posed this question to a friend whose teenage daughter goes to an all-girls private school in New York. "It isn't that different from when we were kids," she said. "The girls in the sexy clothes are the fast girls. They'll have Facebook pictures of themselves opening a bottle of Champagne, like Paris Hilton. And sometimes the moms and dads are out there contributing to it, shopping with them, throwing them parties at clubs. It's almost like they're saying, 'Look how hot my daughter is.'" But why? "I think it's a bonding thing," she said. "It starts with the mommy-daughter manicure and goes on from there."

I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, "If I could do it again, I wouldn't even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?"

We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn't have to worry about getting knocked up. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that's certainly the norm among my peers.

So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn't), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don't know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We're embarrassed, and we don't want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.


Stephanie said...

We actually were just talking about this article in one of my law classes. So interesting that so many of these women feel remorse about things that they did and now feel unsure of how to teach their own children about morals. My professor pointed out how it goes to show that no one, even non Mormons, ever regrets not experimenting more (with things like sex, drugs, etc) in their youth, but they do regret experimenting too much.

How lucky we are to have the gospel standards to provide a protection from that remorse if we abide by the teachings.

Thanks for sharing!

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Interesting shout-out to Mormons there at the end...

Heatherlady said...

Interesting. I've heard similar sentiments from women I know. It REALLY breaks my heart to see kids becoming so sexually active so young and parents not really minding all that much. I read in Teen magazine about 8 years ago a poll asking boys when they thought the right age to first have sex was. The majority said 14-15... and that was 8 years ago. I know 12 year olds who are sexually active and whose parents pay for the birth control pills. It is really scary. It makes me so grateful to have clear standards about what is right and wrong.

Erin@mamaswhoknow said...

I just posted about this article today on my blog. My husband found it and forwarded it to me yesterday.

This was my favorite quote:

"Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?"

Something we have recognized for so long.