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The Sexualization of Little Girls

I usually write about topics like this one at my personal site, but I decided to address it here at Wizbang as well.

If you're interested in homeschooling your kids but you're still on the fence, this article from Lawrence Downes just may convince you to keep your kids home.

It's hard to write this without sounding like a prig. But it's just as hard to erase the images that planted the idea for this essay, so here goes. The scene is a middle school auditorium, where girls in teams of three or four are bopping to pop songs at a student talent show. Not bopping, actually, but doing elaborately choreographed re-creations of music videos, in tiny skirts or tight shorts, with bare bellies, rouged cheeks and glittery eyes.

They writhe and strut, shake their bottoms, splay their legs, thrust their chests out and in and out again. Some straddle empty chairs, like lap dancers without laps. They don't smile much. Their faces are locked from grim exertion, from all that leaping up and lying down without poles to hold onto. "Don't stop don't stop," sings Janet Jackson, all whispery. "Jerk it like you're making it choke. ...Ohh. I'm so stimulated. Feel so X-rated." The girls spend a lot of time lying on the floor. They are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

As each routine ends, parents and siblings cheer, whistle and applaud. I just sit there, not fully comprehending. It's my first suburban Long Island middle school talent show. I'm with my daughter, who is 10 and hadn't warned me. I'm not sure what I had expected, but it wasn't this. It was something different. Something younger. Something that didn't make the girls look so ... one-dimensional.

It would be easy to chalk it up to adolescent rebellion, an ancient and necessary phenomenon, except these girls were barely adolescents and they had nothing to rebel against. This was an official function at a public school, a milieu that in another time or universe might have seen children singing folk ballads, say, or reciting the Gettysburg Address.

It is news to no one, not even me, that eroticism in popular culture is a 24-hour, all-you-can-eat buffet, and that many children in their early teens are filling up. The latest debate centers on whether simulated intercourse is an appropriate dance style for the high school gym.

Frightening, isn't it? It's also unbelievably ironic that the sexual revolution has actually fostered an attitude that is the complete opposite of what was intended. Rather than little girls learning that they are equal in value to little boys, they are learning at the very impressionable age of 10-12 years old, that they have no intrinsic value except for being entertainment for little boys.

Mr. Downes expresses it best in this paragraph:

Suburban parents dote on and hover over their children, micromanaging their appointments and shielding them in helmets, kneepads and thick layers of S.U.V. steel. But they allow the culture of boy-toy sexuality to bore unchecked into their little ones' ears and eyeballs, displacing their nimble and growing brains and impoverishing the sense of wider possibilities in life.


Hat tip: Crunchy Con

Added: A commenter asked why I didn't blame the parents and why I mentioned homeschooling. The parents must accept a lot of blame for this trend because they buy the Bratz dolls and the like. I also mentioned homeschooling because these kinds of trends run rampant in the public schools, and if you read the entire article, you'll see that the schools are becoming powerless to stop them. I also blame the sexual revolution because, according to the feminists of the 60's and 70's, sex was socially acceptable as a past time for men but not for women, so they pushed free sex for women arguing that it made women "equal" to men. Well, it doesn't. It makes them a tool of men.


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Comments (30)

Have you seen the "Bratz" t... (Below threshold)

Have you seen the "Bratz" toys and their ilk? Girls dressed up in what used to be called lingerie just 15 years ago which appears aimed at about 8-10 year old girls.

Not to mention that MTV reached this level a long time ago with a programming format and style aimed at 10ish year olds as well. MTV has owned kids in the US for a long time.

It's the parent's allowing ... (Below threshold)

It's the parent's allowing this to happen, not the schools. Not sure why you would bring up the home-schooling issue here. Unless you keep your kids locked away from all outside influence?

And I think you are making quite the stretch about the sexual revolution teaching little girls that they are entertainment for boys. I hardly think that is the case. They are imitating todays pop culture which like it or not is using sex to sell its product (i.e. Brittany Spears, Christina Aguelerra (sp?), Shakira, Beyonce, and etc.). And it's not like it is only the females doing this.

And I say this as a parent of 2 girls (toddler and infant), who will be constantly vigilant of what they are watching and what they are playing with as they grow up. That and the ability to say no to your child and the realization that you have to be a parent (and not always their best friend) is the best way to avoid seeing your daughter up on stage dressed like Mr. Downes describes at age 10.

jpm100,I'm very mu... (Below threshold)


I'm very much aware of the Bratz dolls and I can't stand them. I have expressed my disgust with these kinds of dolls at my personal site many times.

These Hollywood and NY medi... (Below threshold)
Captain Joe:

These Hollywood and NY media values are what is expected in today's vacuous times. Education has been sacrificed at the altar of Las Vegas. No child left behind should be no child's behind left to the imagination of today's educators. It's a catastrophic nightmare that will ruin a whole generation unless citizens recognize the damage that being done to American's youth.

It's the parent's allowi... (Below threshold)

It's the parent's allowing this to happen, not the schools. Not sure why you would bring up the home-schooling issue here. Unless you keep your kids locked away from all outside influence?

I see. So you're blaming the parents, not the schools---but you disparage a rather obvious step a parent can take to keep their daughter away from this trash? Which is it? Is a parent only allowed to act if he/she can get a majority of the other parents in the PTA to go along?

mcg,I'm really not... (Below threshold)


I'm really not sure what you are referring to. I highly doubt these kids were forced to go to this talent show, let alone participate in it. All I am saying is that Kim's mention of home-schooling is not going to eliminate every sort of outside influence on your kids. You have to be an active participant in their lives as well as a disciplinarian.

What, you don't think a home-schooled kid could find out about Janet Jackson or have a group of friends that want to emulate Brittany Spears? Believe me, I appreciate and understand the benefirts of home-schooling, but I just don't think it applies here.

Kim,Thanks for the... (Below threshold)


Thanks for the update and guilty as charged, I did not read the entire article. Not sure it would change my overall opinion that this sort of behavior starts, or is at least not changed when first encountered at the home. I will read the whole thing and respond again then.

Sounds like good exercise; ... (Below threshold)

Sounds like good exercise; I don't remember seeing too many fat lap dancers.

What do you expect from gov... (Below threshold)

What do you expect from government schools run by a corrupt National Education Association?

They get to practice their dancing right after reading "Why Sally has two Moms"

Next thing you hear about oral sex on the school bus and lesbians in the bathroom.

Government school has gone down the drain. Pathetic.

The great unreported story ... (Below threshold)

The great unreported story in this vein is the shutting down of "Child Super Models" sites/Webe Web last month, which ran sites like Laurie-Model.com, which charged for pictorials of 8-16 year-old girls in various states of undress -- in the most suggestive poses.

I'm not sure what this says about MSM, bloggers or the world in general, but it seems to me that this is an important step in the freeing of children from such influences, and that some news organ of some kind should take very public notice of this.

Here is the (almost unpublished/largely unread) AP story:

Associated Press Writer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The operators of a Florida-based Web site for child models pleaded not guilty Thursday to pornography charges that could hinge on whether prosecutors can prove that suggestive photos of clothed children are illegal.

Attorneys for Marc Evan Greenberg, 42, and Jeffrey Robert Libman, 39, contend the men did nothing wrong by posting photos of young girls at their Webe Web Corp. sites and charging people $20 a month to look at them.

Jeff Pierson, an Alabama man who took many of the photos used on the site, has reached a plea deal and is cooperating with the government.

None of the photos showed nudity, but prosecutors say they still meet court-approved definitions of pornography because of the girls' ages - as young as 7 - and the nature of the pictures, which included children in panties, high heels and adult-looking lingerie.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said the pictures - which were billed as images of child models - amount to "soft porn" that's prohibited by federal law.

"(Webe Web) has been a big player in adult porn sites and in child sites," she said.

I figured this was going to... (Below threshold)

I figured this was going to be a story on child beauty pageants. That's one of my personal hot button issues...

You might as well keep your... (Below threshold)

You might as well keep your kids home period. Have you seen been to a dance recital lately? Or in the last thirty years? While the school is to blame, dressing little girls up like little sex kittens is nothing new and certainly not something that is limited to public schools.

And no matter which way you want to spin it, it really comes down to the fact that it is the parents' fault.

Blaming schools for this pr... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Blaming schools for this problem is ridiculous. This has nothing to do with schools. This type of behavior begins at home. A teenager might have a job and her own money. She can buy her own clothes. A 10-year-old doesn't have tat. Her parents have to buy the clothes for her. THEY are the ones who allowed her to dress like a tramp.

Sadly, the ACLU has taken away the ability of schools to do anything about anything. I would be willing to bet that, if a school tried to ban suggestive clothing for such an event, there wold be a parent out there screaming and yelling about her child's rights. Schools don't have the money to fight those types of things, so they don't even try.

What ever happened to paren... (Below threshold)

What ever happened to parents who said, "You're not going out in public dressed like that!"

And had had established parental authority to back it up.

Don't even mention those ev... (Below threshold)

Don't even mention those evil Bratz dolls to me. I hate them with a passion and see them as a symbol of what is wrong with America's children.

My sister refuses to buy them for my nieces, a stand that I heartily applaud. If I ever find a Bratz doll, a knock-off version thereof, or something equally disgusting in the house, it's going in the trash. Schools are partly responsible, but I blame the parents the most.

You dress 10 year old girls like sluts, and they will act like sluts. The average American female has sex somewhere between 13-15 years old. That's beyond sad and into the realm of horrifying.

The term rock and roll was ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

The term rock and roll was slang for sexual intercourse in the late 40's and 50's ...
Perhaps none of you went to school dances..if you had you know it was like an awkward mating ritual...of course it (at least the best songs)allowed the opportunity to "move it" or dance "close and slow"...he wasn't called "Elvis the Pelvis" for nothing...
The Puritans banned dancing..ah but that didn't last..the best thing parents can do is give our kids a positive sense of self and never buy the logo clothes...and of course tell them to "Turn it Down!" ...and "You call that music?"

Before 60's and 70's Femini... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Before 60's and 70's Feminism, women were accepted as the gatekeepers who put the brakes on men's baser instincts.

Now, women are expected to be just as boorish as men.

Congratulations, Feminists; now women are just as boorish as men. You must be very proud to be equally skanky as men.

"Sadly, the ACLU has taken ... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

"Sadly, the ACLU has taken away the ability of schools to do anything about anything. I would be willing to bet that, if a school tried to ban suggestive clothing for such an event, there wold be a parent out there screaming and yelling about her child's rights. Schools don't have the money to fight those types of things, so they don't even try."

Posted by: Steve L

They only try when someone wants to mention the positive impact God has had on their life. I mean, really. That might lead to the ruin of society!

Homeschooling not necessari... (Below threshold)
Tom DAvis:

Homeschooling not necessarily is the answer, but raising your child in an adult-centered rather than a peer-centered way is. My eight year old daughter received a Bratz doll for Christmas and before 5 min had passed she told my wife that she would have to sew another shirt for her new doll because the one she was wearing was "not appropriate".

Where did she get that idea? From my wife and myself telling her from year one that she should dress like she wished to be treated. From my the constant reinforcement of that message in every aspect of the lessons she receives.

She is not shut off from the outside world, far from it. Her world is, however, adult centered not peer centered and so far she has been able to put the early sexuality in context. Her brothers are older and the same technique seems to be working for them as well.

Even if you can't homeschool, keep your child parent-focused, set high standards for your self and for her, and acknowlege your falibility when you fall short of them. And for heaven's sake don't let them participated in an immodest dance recital like that no matter how much she whines and screams...its called being a parent.

First off, the NEA does not... (Below threshold)

First off, the NEA does not control America's schools. Each state and each school district has its own association that represents members in collective bargaining. It also provides liability insurance among other benefits.

SCHOOL BOARDS determine dress codes. Go to school board meetings and speak up. Joe and Jane Q. Public are mostly clueless about what really goes on in schools.

As a teacher, I deplore the choices of dress I see, but the community has to stand up for its stnadards or else there are no standards.

Capt. Joe,No. Not H... (Below threshold)

Capt. Joe,
No. Not Hollywood and NY media values.
American values. Good ol' red, white, and blue CAPITALISM.
Its ALL about the money.

BTW, Hollywood and NY are run by the business world.
Are you one of those american-hating communists I read about, who want to make it difficult for businesses?

Little Miss Sunshine - Oliv... (Below threshold)

Little Miss Sunshine - Olive said it all in her performance.

First off, the NEA... (Below threshold)
First off, the NEA does not control America's schools. Each state and each school district has its own association that represents members in collective bargaining.
-- spoken by goddessoftheclassroom.

Right, and the NEA has no input at all... please! You may chortle at that sort of line at your teacher meetings, but it doesn't wash with me. The NEA influences teachers -- from moral and political points of view, to conduct in the classroom -- who then have a captured audience to influence for about 5 hours per day, much in the same way.

Every year there are articles where teacher unions and organizations go to bat for their members who dress more for the club scene than the classroom; if you don't think that has an influence on children, you haven't a clue at all.

Of course, with a screen name like "goddess of the classroom", you may be unable to see the forest for the trees.

Oh Goddessofthe classroom. ... (Below threshold)

Oh Goddessofthe classroom. You must be either blind or a member of the NEA.

The NEA is the single biggest reason why American schools are so pathetic today. They fight school vouchers every step of the way and work for more government funding all the time. We continue to throw more and more money down the NEA government school rat hole each year and what has it achieved? Nothing but more stupid kids dependent on government. It's a joke.

Look at countries where the money follows the student and the student goes to schools that actually teach something rather than thrusting pelvis dancing and "Back that Ass Up".

Ever compare discipline in private schools to public NEA schools?

The NEA pushes its agenda on these children every day. It' a crime what they are doing to future of America, but fortunately there are people who see them for what they are and send their kids to private schools or home school.

Facts and statistics don't lie, the NEA does.

Anyone remember the young B... (Below threshold)

Anyone remember the young Britney Spears, touting the virtues of abstinence all the while shaking her money maker like no others.

Look at her now, two kids, in the news for horrific parenting, divorced, and letting it all hang out when she's partying up with the young slut club.

Let all like her serve as an example of where this all leads.

I believe public schools co... (Below threshold)

I believe public schools could be vastly improved if you allow one simple change:

Let parents chose which public schools to send their children to. Then each school gets its share of education money based on enrollment.

Of course, we'll never see this. The NEA, which has been defending incompetence for a generation or longer, squeals like a stuck pig at even the hint of introduction of real accountability.

Of course, parents who buy Bratz dolls for their prepubescent daughters and who see nothing wrong with letting them dress and act like strippers probably won't care what schools their kids go to, anyway.

So you sistas got your "equ... (Below threshold)

So you sistas got your "equal" rights, only to not only screw up your own lives, but those of little girls. It's appalling.

Where is this school; I ain't letting my little one near it.

This thread has fallen behi... (Below threshold)

This thread has fallen behind, so I doubt that this discussion will continue too much longer, but I'd like to know on what Charlie on the PA Tpk and Jeff base there opinions.

My point is that it's the LOCAL Association that matters far more than the NEA or even the state's association. I despise the political positions of the NEA, but my local association, and yes, I'm a member, does consider the interests of the students. However, it's function is to protect the intersts of its members. Please keep in mind that if a teacher is discipline for inappropriate dress and wants to file a grievance, the association HAS to do so.

Schools boards set and enforce the discpline code. Standards start with them.

Absolutely shocking. My wif... (Below threshold)

Absolutely shocking. My wife is about to give birth to our first little one, and I'm frankly worried if this is the kind of world that kids face. What kind of people consent to this kind of exploitation? Sad.

I've seen all kinds of chil... (Below threshold)

I've seen all kinds of child porn. I care a lot about it and I want to know what I'm talking about. It upsets and distresses me more than almost anything else, I guess partly cause I had quite a messed up sexual childhood myself.. Sites like "young cuties" and "cheerful stars" are so fucking blatantly pedofiles who keep JUST barely within the law. Pics of 8 year olds with tiny knickers, spreading their legs and pulling down at their tops.. these images are legal, and all over the net right now under the guise of "art images, appreciating the human form + fashion" the real issue is pathetically obvious - What is the intent behind an image like that? You can argue with a dickhead about whether something is supposed to be sexually provocative, but the FACT is that these "child model agencies" aren't satisfied with pics of kids being kids, I really believe they fancy children. Kids want adults' approval, and will do almost anything their encouraged, that's the only reason most of them don't look abused. I think if they knew what the intent of the photos were they would feel totally exploited and betrayed, particularly when their older. Some of them do realise that they're being sexually provocative to camera, but again, children won't understand why that's wrong unless adults tell them, specially if they're encouraged.

I want to do something, but what can you do. I also think beauty pageants are the same as these agencies - half are just pedofiles who comfort themselves that the kids enjoy it and it's legal and just creative, but there's infinte alternatives aren't there. What creeps me out more than kids acting like adult sexy models is when they're dressed in pink, with fluff, and generally made to look little and innocent, and combining that with this emulation of grown up provocative behaviour.






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