A while back, my friends were having a discussion on the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girly-Girl Culture.
I have to admit, I had never heard of it, but I was annoyed by the thought. Most of you know how much I loooove Disney, and all things Disney. How could anyone think that the Princesses were "poisoning" my daughter? Come on. I didn't really chime in on the conversation because my momma taught me if I do not have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say it at all.
So fast forward to today. I was reading an article in a magazine called "Little Girls Gone Wild". It was about the author's opinion on the Cinderella Ate My Daughter book, as well as her thoughts on raising her own daughter. The more I read, the more I thought, "YES!"
I have always taught Julianna the importance of modesty. We don't do little girl bikini's, pants with words written across the bum, or things like that. Honestly, I thought that was enough. I never thought about all the other ways our world sexualizes our young daughters.
The article makes it a point to say being sexy is not the same thing as being sexualized. This is what really got to me. She went on to say that it isn't only about imposing sexuality on children, but valuing a girl for her appearance over other attributes.
It really made me stop and think. My first thought was, "This is ridiculous. How could anyone think that Cinderella or Ariel would send a negative message to my child?" The more I thought about it, the more I realized that selling little high heal plastic shoes to 2 year olds is opening a door to sexuality. Sure every kid wants to dress up and pretend. I get that, I really do. Does my child have a closet full of dress up clothes and little high heels? Yes. Will I take those things away? No. But think about it - someone out there is marketing sexy grown up clothes to our daughters. Think about your average toy aisle at Walmart. It is filled with finger nail polish, lip gloss, make up, fancy dresses, high heals, and boa feathers. If a grown up had all of that on, what would you think? You would think sexy. Right?
So if we open this door with our daughters now, where do we have to go as she grows? Higher heels, shorter skirts, more revealing bathing suits, more make up. Think about Miley Cyrus (Well, you know, any child star. Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears.). It always starts out as a cutesy girl that appeals to younger girls. The more time goes on, the more that cutesy star becomes more and more sexy. Miley Cyrus performed with a stripper pole at the Teen Choice Awards! A stripper pole! Yeah, that's a role model for you!
So what do we do in this age to protect our daughters by being exploited by the media, marketing, and "role models"? We have to teach them to find value in who they are, not how they look. We have to monitor the shows they watch, the music they listen to, the friends they choose. It scares me to think that we are constantly teaching our children to "grow up and be sexy" without even realizing it.
Its out there, and it's subtle. Take notice before it's too late.