1/25/2005

Child Porn

Via Michelle Malkin...

Would you let your teenage daughter go to a prom in this dress? It sells at a Manhattan store for $495 and is a top-selling gown for the designer, according to the New York Post.

This prom dress is so skimpy, even the designer's CEO wouldn't let his teenage daughter wear it. But the dangerously revealing gown, prominently advertised in Seventeen Prom, YM Prom and Teen Prom, and on sale in a Midtown shop, is a top seller for the company this season.

"I was shocked when I first saw it, but now it's one of our top 20 dresses nationwide," says Nick Yeh, the CEO of Xcite, the Stafford, Texas, company that designed the dress and some 200 other styles this season.

"I have a 15-year-old daughter and, no, I would not recommend she wear this dress.

"As a businessman," he adds, "I'm not judging what a teenager should wear or not wear. It's up to the parents to decide for their own children."
Teenagers will always be drawn to aspects of culture - music and fashion, most notably - that are likely to annoy their parents. The process of separating from your parents and establish your own identity is a healthy and proper part of growing up, and I understand that. Still, when I look at a dress that I would expect to see (briefly) on a stripper, I don't think I'm being unreasonable when I put my hands up and say "Whoa, hold on here."

The sexualization of young girls has been underway in our culture for some time. It was at a Philadelphia Soul game last year where it really leapt out at me. During a timeout for a TV commercial, the "Junior Soulmates" came on the field for a performance. Girls as young as eight years old performance a hip-hop dance routine in uniforms just like these:


In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have been very surprised. Public schools now issue athletic uniforms to students that have the school's name printed across the rearend. Abercrombie & Fitch sells thongs in kid's sizes. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I'm intensely more aware of this sort of thing than I ever was before.

For me, the most depressing aspect of this phenomenon is that so much of it is taking place with parental approval. While I'm sure that there are some enterprising young women who are shelling out their own cash for dresses like the one pictured above, it's likely that most of them are being purchased with money (and approval) from their parents. The eight-year-old girls "working it" with the Junior Soulmates aren't getting themselves to the stadium - their parents are bringing them, and dressing them, and applying their garish whore paint stage makeup.

As a parent, it's my duty to do my best to prepare my children for life as an adult. Part of this process involves letting my children make some of their own decisions. The flipside of that is my obligation to provide them moral guidance as to what is appropriate and what is not. Sometimes, this is going to involve cliche phrases like "you are not going out of the house in THAT outfit," and tolerating the eye-rolling and foot-stomping that follows.

Parenting is not a popularity contest. A parent who strives to be their child's best friend will succeed at neither. If more parents were concerned about being parents instead of being pals, there would be fewer sixteen-year-old girls wearing prom dresses like this.