“Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?”
- Friday, April 08, 2011
How do 12–13 year-old girls dress for a party? In “mini-dresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade,” says Mrs. Jennifer Moses in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “They look like a flock of tropical birds.” Then she asked the question many are asking, “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?”
Mrs. Moses provided little analysis of this phenomenon in answering her own question before giving own opinion. Her 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?’”
Moses continues, “We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control…. 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.”
But following that “norm” did not produce happiness. Speaking of her own friends, Moses says, “I don't know one of them who doesn’t have feelings of lingering discomfort regarding her own sexual past. And not one woman I've ever asked about the subject has said that she wishes she’d ‘experimented’ more.”
Mrs. Moses’ article opened up a forum in the WSJ for over 600 comments in response. Some of them addressed the moral values implicit in her question. One person wrote, “Why do we let them dress like that? We don’t. It’s important to emphasize the differences between beauty and attractiveness at a young age. Being more involved in our children’s lives will strengthen various values, it will also (hopefully) put us in the position to be the role models we need to be and provide us with a better chance to block negative influences.”
Another wrote, “It is sad to see girls give away something so precious. Our daughters need our loving guidance toward living well-adjusted lives away from the call for promiscuity from all over. They need to enjoy being young women of character. It is hard for a teenager to look to her future life, but parents must guide them to protect that future by how they present themselves now. If we require modesty in the workplace, why can't we require modesty in our most precious young daughters?”
A homeschooling parent wrote: “The socialization offered by the public and by public school is exactly what we are trying to avoid…. The [popularized] view of the opposite sex as sex objects is the central social message of public school children, the main-stream-media, movies, and most TV. It may be the single most destructive thing many Christian homeschoolers are trying to avoid, and rightly so. … maybe you can't control who your children become, but while they live in your home you can do your best to protect them from this destructive message and group-think.”
This is exactly the message that I’ve been sharing at recent homeschool conventions—homeschooling provides the best cultural medium for parents to protect their children from the toxic effects of a media and entertainment culture that produces hyper-sexualized and often obscene materials.
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