Denying girls the right to be girls
One mainstream journalist said Target was ‘not to blame’. Rather, the commercialisation of childhood and contemporary social and cultural mores were. An online commentator held otherwise, contending that those articulating concern were projecting their own sexualised contentions upon girls, with girls being consigned to a ‘prudes’ category from which they should be freed. The ‘moral majority’ was hard at work, with Puritanism and mediaeval (sic) horrors of naked female flesh on the rise … This view appeared to be that ‘sluts’ rule, to be celebrated at whatever age, and that adult concerns for their children’s wellbeing was misdirected.
Yet is it ‘fair enough’ that seven to fourteen-year-olds are presented with images of adult-as-prostitute as ‘trendy’ and ‘desirable’, with their own contemporaries or almost-contemporaries arrayed in similar attire, so that girls’ aspirations are limited to an identification with (at best) ‘celebrities’ adopting ‘grunge’ or ‘sexy’ modes of dress, singers and pop stars living in a world where ‘making it’ or remaining at the top is dependent upon videos in which dress or the state of undress seems equally important as voice? Is it really ‘okay’ that what once was ‘standard streetwalker’ is sold as ‘standard seven-year-old’?
Western culture no longer consigns girls into wifehood before their time. Now the message is that girls must conform to an adult sexualised image. In both cases, childhood vulnerability is ignored and the potential woman-as-independent, as her own woman, disappears. In under-age marriage, girls are forced into childbearing, childrearing, housework and husband-work, grown-up and grown old long before their time. Culture dictates control through submission of person. With Target-wear and its equivalents, girls are forced into seeing themselves as ‘real’ through adopting a sexually objectifying style of adult dress. Western culture sets girls on a trajectory toward early capitulation to the body-image imperative. How long before they conclude that Botox and breast implants are next on the ‘must have’ list?
Subjugation to marriage may seem and be aeons from subjection to the commercialised image. Yet whether controlled through marriage or commercialised images of what it is to be a girl-woman, East or West, North or South, culture thereby denies girls the right to be girls. Read full article here.