“Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That…?”

This Wall Street Journal article by Jennifer Moses is an article worth reading. 
As well as Justin Taylor’s perspective on her op-ed.

We’ve already started to hit this dilemma.
Our oldest daughter is 10.
She doesn’t want to wear clothes with Dora on them any more.
But honestly–it really is a struggle to find decent clothes that are cute, comfortable, affordable…that she likes…
And that are modest.
We don’t want our daughter looking like she’s auditioning for America’s Next Top Model.
There is no reason for 10-year-old-string-bikinis.
It honestly scares me.

Thankfully she still lives in the
“American Girl Doll World”…
Where she wants to do crafts and dress babies and living on the edge is painting her nails and be-jeweling her hair.

So–why do so many of the styles made for 10-year-olds look like they are prepping the girls to send them out onto the street corner?

Jennifer Moses makes the point that they way we dress our girls sends a message.
To others.
But most importantly to them.

In the words of Moses:

“All of which brings me to a question: 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?”

“As for the girls themselves, if you ask them why they dress the way they do, they’ll say (roughly) the same things I said to my mother: “What’s the big deal?” “But it’s the style.” “Could you be any more out of it?” What teenage girl doesn’t want to be attractive, sought-after and popular?

And what mom doesn’t want to help that cause? In my own case, when I see my daughter in drop-dead gorgeous mode, I experience something akin to a thrill—especially since I myself am somewhat past the age to turn heads.”

“But it’s easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn’t dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: “Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven’s sake, get laid!” But that’s essentially what we’re saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they’re still living under our own roofs.”

“…likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.”
~ 1 Timothy 2:9

Any thoughts?

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00793109148879037341 Brooke

    i read the same thing yesterday. my niece (6 yrs) loves to be trendy, but sometimes is really hard to find stuff for her.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13182607074543277164 Kara

    I know…even at 6 it can be difficult…
    I loved Justin Taylor’s response…
    “Where are all the dads?”

  • http://studyinbrown.com tonia

    Oh yes, I have a 15 year old. It’s tough. It’s tough to find clothes that convey the right message….it’s tough to find the line between creating more rules and cultivating a modest heart.

    I’m glad people are speaking up about it.

    on a practical note, I found catalogs (like Land’s End) the easiest way to find classic, modest pieces for my daughter. You can mix and match them with trendier things and put a pretty good wardrobe together. But it takes some work! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13182607074543277164 Kara

    Tonia–thanks for the idea–will check them out. I’ve found swim suits from them before and have been really pleased.
    Can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when she’s 15.
    Side note–I’ve really enjoyed reading through many of your posts. Your site would only be better if you could teach me how to make a lamp shade out of an antique doily. I was cracking up.
    Too funny.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06222275610383122279 Liana

    Kara, Thanks for this. I’ve done a lot of thinking about it lately. We’re not there yet…I mean S loves to pick out her outfit each morning, but just from the options that I have provided for her in her closet and drawers. And the size 4t clothes are fairly safe. I’ve looked at the older girls clothes and been shocked! And frightened, not only for my two girls but even more for all the girls whose parents DON’T regulate clothing. And wondering how I will regulate when the time comes. As soon as Sara was born, I had a completely different mindset & care when choosing my own clothing as well, knowing that I model for my girls what brings glory to God. And I pray for His grace & wisdom when I have to start teaching this issue to my precious girls….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17128370942285542644 Sarah

    My only disagreement with Moses is her comment about Evangelicals being skilled about teaching modesty…I think that perhaps she over-estimates our skill in the matter…and I also think in our efforts to achieve modesty, we tend to be fearful about discussing the topic of sexual health from a Biblical standpoint with our youth…we women often can’t even discuss it comfortably with each other! Not to say that there aren’t matters of privacy, but in general there are many who suffer in silence because of the un-written rule that sex is a taboo topic among “Godly women”.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13182607074543277164 Kara

    Liana–just the fact that you’re thinking/praying about it this early on is a good thing…I will always remember when Jason was walking with Colson through the mall and he was barely 3. They passed by Victoria Secret and Colson pointed and yelled REALLY LOUD, “THAT’S NOT MODEST !!!” So…I know they can pick up on a lot even at S’s age :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13182607074543277164 Kara

    Sarah–very very much agree with what you wrote. It’s tricky to figure out the line…between sharing too much and not being willing to open up about struggles…between privacy and as you wrote “suffering in silence”.
    That’s a huge thing for me as I process how to talk through all this with our oldest. I don’t want her to think the topic is “off limits” with me…therefore I can’t freak out when she asks good questions.

    I’ve been thankful for several authors who were at least willing to touch on the subject of sex and intimacy. Yes…I wrote the word sex on our blog. :)
    Kind of feels like that sometimes though…doesn’t it?

    Maybe I should add that category to the book list tab?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12613764822770164723 Lisa

    I had read the WSJ article on Tuesday and thought it was timely, as we were discussing purity in our ladies’ Bible study that morning. Not having a girl, I don’t have to deal with this issue of dress as much, but still the boys have to deal with how the girls dress and its effect on them. It’s important to have a plan and give our children tools to deal with the temptations that they will face in the years ahead.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02983730882054443213 Megan and Vinny

    i find myself reading proverbs 31: 10-31 a lot lately. i love the way it starts: “who can find a virtuous woman?” i am happy that i know virtuous women, and that my mom set a great example for me growing up. how we dress (as girls, too) and what we say are so very important. thanks for bringing this up.