I love fashion. I love putting different types of clothing together to create something unique- something that appeals to my taste. That’s why I can be found at the mall at least once a week, looking for inspiration (or visiting my cousin at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels). The mall I’ve been frequenting the past few months is, for some reason, a pre-teen magnet. Kids screaming, jumping off of things, and laughing obnoxiously with their friends are everywhere, and there is no way to escape the madness…..I mean, their “ghetto jawn” ways, or whatever kids say these days. These kids have no idea how their cocky attitudes make them look. They think they are the epitome of cool, and that they’re just so damn, grown-up. You may think that at first glance- well, when you’re looking at the girls, at least (let’s face it- all the boys look like mini-Justin Biebers). Their hair is straightened like a pin, their pants and shirts are skin-tight, and they have more up top than most girls are supposed to when they’re 12 or 13. For god’s sake, they look more like 19-years-old than me! It makes me wonder why they are dressed like that. Do they understand the message they’re sending to others? Or are they only mindlessly copying their older siblings? And where the hell are their parents? I know I would never let my daughter wear yoga pants and an Ashley bra at such a young age.
To be frank, many young girls today are dressing like whores, and whether or not they mean to, they are. And to those out there who may accuse me of victim-blaming, you cannot deny that there are some people out there who will take it as an invitation to take advantage of them, whether it be verbal harassment or possibly rape.
No matter the circumstance, it is essentially the parents’ fault. Where do young kids get their money? Their parents. How do they get to the mall? Most likely their parents. Who regulates the household and makes sure the children don’t get in trouble? You guessed it, the parents. They should be looking out for their children, and believe it or not, many sources say this sudden trend can be dangerous. LZ Granderson expresses my concerns and beliefs perfectly in the article, “Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps”. Harsh title, huh? His article begins by creating a scenario in which he describes an eight-year-old girl being “the sexiest girl in the terminal”, due to her luscious lips, and skin-ight “Juicy” pants, among other things. He brings up the not-so-popular-with-parents “Ashley bra”, a pick-up bra aimed at elementary schoolers. And then he blames the parents- it’s the parent’s job to censor what their kid sees, and it is their job to make sure their kids are behaving properly. This is basically the same “why are kids today so trashy?” spiel that is seen pretty much everywhere (Granderson).
This is where the article gets interesting. Granderson goes even further into the problem. He brings up the possibility of mental-health issues that may result in the future from all of this rapid sexualization, with the help of an American Psychological Association article called “Sexualization of Girls”. Apparently, girls who are exposed to (if they take part in, especially) this sexualization, may suffer from “three of the most common mental health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression or depressed mood” (“Report from the APA…”). Since they are wearing less clothing, more of their bodies are exposed, and more of their peer’s bodies are exposed for the world to see. Many girls see these perfect, lean figures on other girls, but not on themselves, which makes them feel terrible. Maybe they think they will never get a boyfriend, be happy with themselves, or become accepted by others if they don’t have this coveted body shape. It begins with feeling bad about oneself- which could lead to depression, eating disorders, or possibly both. The article also details a study in which young women were given a bathing suit, and a frumpy sweatsuit. They were told to answer a few math questions, once while wearing the sweats, and another time wearing the exposing bathing suit. Most of the girls did a lot better on the test when they were wearing the sweats, and the study proposes this is because the girls were preoccupied with thinking about how they look, and who may be looking at their exposed skin while wearing the smaller item of clothing (“Report…..”).
There is also the possibility that young woman may lose sight of what women have been fighting for for decades: equal rights. An end to sexism. Whatever you want to call it. Dressing to fit the crowd (a skantily-clad crowd, that is) could lead into girls really believing they are no more than a man’s play toy, or an object to be undressed by all eyes (“Parents, Please Stop Dressing Your Daughters Like Sluts”) .
Although the parents are to blame, there is surely another factor influencing their style. How could you miss Lady Gaga and Britney Spear’s latest videos? It’s so obvious. These modern music queens are known for their risque clothing and dances, and kids are picking up on it, most likely thinking “If they can do it, I can”.
Speaking of risque dances, that’s another thing I’ve been noticing. Since early high school, students have adopted this way of dancing called “grinding”, a very sexual move that can be seen at nearly every school dance. And, people used to think the twist was bad! My cousin (the same one who works at Auntie Annes) says she has seen used condoms lying on the gymnasium floor after a school dance has cleared out. In fact, schools all across the country are trying to ban grinding (or “freak dancing”), saying it may lead to further sexual behavior. It’s just plain trashy. Sure, students may say this takes away some first amendment right, but it’s one of those things that you just shouldn’t do in public. People don’t pick their noses, or go to the bathroom in the middle of the dance floor, so why should they simulate sex? Not only does it make their elders feel uncomfortable, but plenty of fellow students feel this dance is on the same level of PDA (“Public Display of Affection”- no one likes it). For some reason, teens today just love to do it, and its one of the popular ways to make their want of sex explicit (Schory, Brenda).
Take my other cousin- Ally. She is currently 15-years-old. If you compared my 15-year-old self to her, you wouldn’t even realize we were the same age- she looks much older, much like a lot of the other kids her age. In fact, you would probably think she’s older than me now! She wears push-up bras, tight jeans, and small tops. Her facebook profile pictures (another issue) show her with a variety of boys, and girls in skimpy clothing, in suggestive poses, which would not be complete without the dozens of comments telling her how “sexy” and “hot” she is. Her weekends are spent partying in the woods with 90 of her closest friends and a keg. She also smokes, and always looks burned out. She revealed to me a couple months back that no one leaves her high school a virgin (she also revealed she hasn’t had to worry about that). Her older sister, who did things like that when she was her age, is graduating college this year, almost completely broke, with no money because she spent it all on alcohol. At one time, Ally dressed modestly; she wasn’t afraid of being judged for being a little dorky, and she did what she thought was cool, not by what others thought was cool. She used to be so creative and clever.
Both sisters listen to music that promotes this kind of behavior. Most of the songs they listen to are about some rapper who goes to a club to drink, and leaves with a presumably promiscuous woman. And the female artists? They’re not much better. There’s Rhinnah who talks about “S&M”, and then there’s Britney Spears who wants to “If you seek Amy” (pronounced “F-U-C-K Me”). They glorify sex. In fact, the Rand Corporation- a non-profit company that performs studies and experiments to alleviate indecision (Rand corporation)- created a study which has proven that pre-teens and teens who listen to a lot of songs that have sexually suggestive lyrics tend to start indulging in sex earlier. Alexandra Lupu’s article about this experiment says that the use of sexual lyrics hooks these kids into listening, and “Maybe if artists or wanna be artists nowadays would be a little bit more concerned about the quality of their music, then sexual aggressiveness would not be that common among teenagers.” (Lupu, Alexandra). They make men, and now women, look like the top dogs if they party and have all this sex, while successfully taking the bitter reality out of the story. Ok, so kids want to have fun: they want to drink, get high, have sex, and be happy. That’s the message I’m getting, and that’s the message they’re getting as well. People have to pay to get into clubs, and to buy booze. If you want a prostitute, that costs money too. If you don’t want to get pregnant, or get someone else pregnant- better invest in some condoms and birth control. If they spend their youth (say, between the ages of 14 and 25) drinking, smoking, and having sex like there’s no tomorrow, there’s a good chance they will be broke at some point. So, not only is the media messing with peoples’ morale and wasting time, it is burning a hole through their wallets.
Many musical “heroes” of today seem like they’d rather walk the streets naked if they could. Who cares if Lady Gaga barely wears anything but her birthday suit because she was “Born this way”? Or, how about “Jersey Shore”- a show about the exact people parents don’t want their kid to grow up to be like? It may seem it all comes down to parent’s role in censoring what their children watch, but since no one can escape media, everyone is exposed to it- it’s bound to get to kids somehow. I barely ever watch TV (except for when “Doctor Who” is on), and most of what I know about popular culture comes from my peers, no matter if I want to hear it or not. They call it “Popular Culture” for a reason (“Media may prompt….”).
As a self-declared child of the 1960s and early 1970s, I often think of how better it would have been to live back then- the music was awesome, TV shows were hilarious and original- you know, all that “shallow” stuff. Girls made sure to cover up in public, unless they were what is commonly described as a Hippie. Hippies are people who indulge in drugs and “free love”, and preach against violence and war. On second thought, let’s move to the 1950s and early 1960s (can you believe the huge difference in culture norms spanning just 10 years?) Dances consisted of actual dancing, and women made sure to look decent before leaving the house. People watched “The Andy Griffith Show”, “I Love Lucy”, and “Leave it to Beaver”- wholesome, family shows. The youth of this era listened to Elvis Presly, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly. Of course, people partied, but not as much as today- there were less unexpected pregnancies, school sluts didn’t exist, and there were no issues with sex in the media, right? One word, five letters, all caps: WRONG.
The 1950s seemed innocent enough with their sock-hops and poodle skirts but, the reality is, they were just as dysfunctional as any other era (speaking of sock-hops, during which students were told to take off their shoes as to not scuff up the gym floors, kids felt rebellious taking off their shoes!) There were plenty of social issues, one of which was the use of sex in the media, specifically, the music. There was Elvis, gyrating his way to fame, which was considered suggestive. Heck, the man was censored from the chest down when he performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show”! This new wave of music was music to “neck” to- a form of kissing that was popular on the dimly lit dance floors (“Sock-hop”) Rock ‘n’ roll was believed to be the Devil’s music, created to bring out the lust in teenagers, “luring them to hell”. This was a time where the twist was considered sexual, so imagine the caranery ’50s housewives would have if they saw what goes on today! There was also the issue of teenage/ pre-martial pregnancies. Due to the fact speaking of sex was taboo back then, people had little knowledge of contraception, so the number of pregnancies under these conditions were higher (“Teenage Pregnancies”).
In essence, today’s teens are actually learning. Instead of ignoring a huge part of our culture (or humanity, rather), we are embracing it to the fullest, which is living life to the fullest. Who doesn’t want that? I’ve been told eating chocolate releases the same hormone that is released during sex, and both are considered a luxury. Sure, there are implications to having sex all the time, but people can obtain serious issues from eating too much chocolate, no? Granted, chocolate can’t give you a sexually transmitted infection or get you pregnant (aside from the oh-so-loved food baby), but gluttony can lead to obesity and diabetes- life-threatening health issues. It all comes down to living like today is your last- you can’t hole yourself up in a room full of food that will supply you for the rest of your life. People need to take risks to get where they want to be in life. Sex is a rather simple pleasure, when you think about it. Some people want to become astronauts, which I believe to be far more dangerous than becoming what is known as a “whore”.
Come to think of it, why is being a whore such a bad thing? They’re only doing what they want, and from my experiences talking with this particular demographic, most of them are decent human beings. All they want is to have a little fun before they settle down, with the exception of those few who are terrified of commitment. Who can blame ’em? They’re not hurting anyone else, in fact, they’re doing just the opposite. Their “consumers” have a fun time, and everyone else is left without the hassel of being pestered by said horny consumers. People who take up this “hobby” should know the consequences, just as a professional surfer should know they could drown, or a skate-boarder could crack their head open. And it’s not like sluts and whores are a new part of our society. They’ve been around for ages, since the caveman days. Animals typically don’t stay with one partner for too long, so it’s only natural for cavemen, who were homosapian, but had animal-like tendencies, to jump from partner to partner. Davy Wavey makes some interesting points in his article called “What’s so bad about being a slut?”- one being that everyone is on a journey- life. Having fun, and doing “what you do” is a part of enjoying life, and whether you believe you should enjoy life all the time, ore reserve time for both work and play, it’s all part of the process. As Wavey says, we shouldn’t judge people on where they are in life. In this case, intention, rather than action, is key. Not all sluts are doing it in spite- as I’ve said many times, most do it for fun (Wavey, Davey).
If you want to live life like that, there are a few things you should know before jumping in; guys will talk about how “easy” you are, and some will see your love of sex as vulnerability, and take advantage of you. People say men like “decent” girls but, according to this “Yahoo Answers” question (and more importantly, its answers), there is a divide. The question reads:
“Whats wrong with being a ‘slut’ or ‘whore’?
I like doing whatever a guy asks of me, as long as he’s HOT. its fun :] a lot of people dissapprove [sic] though. why?! Wats [sic] wrong with it?! ;P”
The top answer agrees; saying she should do whatever she wants, and that men do the same thing, and don’t get any flack about it (“What’s wrong with…..”). This is a great point. Men are considered gods if they bed girls all the time, while woman are looked down upon for it. This may be because it is a lot easier for a woman to have promiscuous sex, rather than a large, drunk man thinking with his “second head”. Or the preconceived notion that women are meant to show their bodies in private, and be feminine and classy the rest of the time. As for the latter, men are supposed to be just as composed, but since they are “the bread winners” of the typical 1950s family, they can do whatever they want. Come on, it’s the 21st century, it’s only fair to let woman have some fun with less judgement.
Back to the answers to the Yahoo question, most of the answers have something to do with guys gossiping about how easy a certain girl is, and how she has no self confidence, how she’s being treated like a non-living object, and how she may suffer a broken heart, diseases, or an unwanted pregnancy. The last three are obvious, but how about the others? Although, there are men who admit to not wanting to date sluts for fear of infidelity, and possibility of carrying some disease, plenty of men would rather have a girl who has been around rather than a virgin straight-lace. They want a girl who knows what she doing, a woman with confidence. They don’t want to be the teachers- they would rather keep an equal playing field. I’ve never heard of a guy who would rather have a woman with no experience (“What’s Wrong With Being a ‘Slut’?).
No matter what, there will always be sluts,whores, and whatever else they’re called. They’re just ordinary people with a love of sex. Although, they are living life to the fullest, they are risking a lot. They have guts for doing what they’re doing, and I respect them if they do it with pride, while keeping tabs on the rest of their life. Some people make a living out of this behavior, and some of them are completely happy with it. Take Holly Hill- a psychologist who quit her amazing job at the request of her married boyfriend, who broke her heart because he began to feel guilty. She would have continued on with this lifestyle, hadn’t she felt guilty for the men who were cheating on their wives with her. She is an intelligent woman, who used her gorgeous looks and love of sex to help her pay the mortgage, and more. She had a few “Sugar Daddies” who were willing to pay $1000 a week for her services. So, who am I to judge (Robb, Amanda)?
Back to my cousin, Ally, she hasn’t hurt anyone but herself, and she says she doesn’t regret it. So, what if a child’s innocence is taken away early? At least they’re still living, and making the most out of life, and it would’ve happened anyway, right? Ally makes sure to take the proper precautions, which she reluctantly thanks her sex education classes for. If she wants to dress in revealing clothes, let her, as she wears them proud. She wears them to get a reaction, and if she does, kudos to her. I just thank god she listened in health class!
I’m all for people doing what they want, just as long as it doesn’t impact me in any way. It’s even more ideal if they aren’t hurting themselves at all, which I feel is usually the case considering there are so many people living their lives this way (wishful thinking?). Just as long as these people are good and considerate, I guess there shouldn’t be a problem, besides the fact people are taking up these lifestyles earlier and earlier. Hopefully, these “I want to be your friend” parents will see the light, or huge media corporations will drop their marketing ploy. Oh yea, that sounds likely.
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