Moms Aren't to Blame When Their Daughters Wear Sexy Clothes

little girl dressAre your daughter's clothes too sexy? A new study shows that about 30 percent of girls' clothing, even for toddlers, is sexualizing. Social psychologist Sarah Murnen asked independent adults to review clothing for girls from 15 major retailers and rate how sexualizing they found it. Whether it was because of slinky, lingerie-like fabric or a cut that emphasized a girl's chest, nearly a third of those clothes read as "sexy" to the adult raters. Even when the outfit included childish details like ruffles and polka-dots!

Not a big deal? I guess not, as long as you think eating disorders, low self-esteem, or depression aren't a big deal, either. But I think most of us want to raise strong, healthy daughters.


Girls who buy into sexualizing messages about themselves tend to have lower self-esteem and are more likely to suffer from depression and eating disorders (this according to a 2007 task force of the American Psychological Association). The clothes girls wear can play a big role in how sexualized they feel -- and from a very young age. So if this study is anything to go by, parents should buy more of their kids' clothes at Target and Gymboree and stay the hell out of Abercrombie Kids. (You're shocked by that last one, right? Eyeroll.)

But wait -- Murnen says we shouldn't be so quick to blame parents about this. Channel your outrage toward the marketers of girls' clothing, instead. "Blaming the parents is exactly what the marketers want you to do," she said. "They spend $12 billion getting your kids to want the things you don't want them to have, and then they blame you for buying them."

Yeah, and we love that game! When people scold parents and ask, "Is it really so hard just to make better shopping choices?" I always want to reply, "Is it really so hard to just make BETTER STUFF?!?" Because what goes through a clothing designer's head when they put "hot stuff" in sexy script on a toddler's dress? Making their mortgage payments, I guess, but I still think it sucks. Our girls deserve better than this.

Have you noticed little girls' clothing that looks too sexy?


Image via Burning Image/Flickr

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