Features

Thursday 18 September 2014

From little girls to Lolita: our darlings are becoming too sexy, too soon

Andrea Byrne

Published 26/11/2006 | 00:11

  • Share

AS SHE struts sexily down the street, pouting provocatively, hips swaying, tight jeans hugging her thin thighs, an overgrown, grisly, beer-bellied construction worker whistles wildly and shouts profanely from up on the scaffolding.

  • Share
  • Go To

Other men slow down their vehicles to get a better gawk. But as they do, they soon realise - to their horror - that this beauty is no woman but a girl; a girl who is probably no older than 11.

There's no denying that little girls, by their very nature, love to play dress-up. Left alone, they will ransack their mum's wardrobe and come tottering down the staircase, sporting the highest stilettos. Give them a lipstick and they will probably smear it all over their face.

Up until recently, I saw nothing wrong with this (in fact, as a child, my head was permanently in my mother's make-up bag). But things have escalated off the Richter scale.

The other week I was horrified to see a 10-year-old girl wearing jeans with two pink handprints on the posterior - one on each cheek - helping us focus on the spot supposedly waiting to be grabbed, patted, or pinched.

Similarly, it is not uncommon to see provocative and suggestive logos, such as 'Juicy', 'So many boys. So little time', or 'Porn star in training' emblazoned across little girls' non-existent chests.

Furthermore, fashions for young girls worryingly encompass pre-teen thongs and padded bras. What happened to the good old days when little girls dressed in frilly party frocks and played with Barbie? Now, a clique of sultry-eyed, midriff-showing, thigh-boot-

wearing trollops known as Bratz Dolls have assumed Barbie's throne.

What's going on here? Aren't there any parents in charge? Who's making this stuff? Who's buying it? And why is nobody raising a ruckus? Are we turning people who are traditionally seen as pure, innocent, and in need of protection into people who are more aware of their sexuality? Are we witnessing a process which we might call Lolitalisation?

Sexy is always in vogue. This is the society and the world we live in. It's in our music, it's in our fashion, it's in our culture - but to implicate young innocence is utterly inexcusable. Little girls' attire is getting increasingly skimpy. I never dressed like that when I was a little girl, nor did any of my contemporaries. My mother had more respect for me and did all she could to preserve my innocence for as long she could. But nowadays, young girls are venturing into adulthood before their time by falling prey to powerful popstar persuasion and our society's obsession with sex.

Halloween, just gone, was clearly looked upon as the perfect opportunity to dress vampishly. Gone are the days of gory get-ups and monster masks. Nowadays, girls have traded silly and sweet for skimpy and sexy. Many kids who come to your door are tarted up beyond belief, looking like skanky Las Vegas strippers.

Women once complained about being reduced to sex objects. Now their daughters are voluntarily allowing themselves to be seen as objects by the clothes they choose. And while many parents may register disapproval, they fail to take action. In that failure, they unwittingly place their daughters at risk by allowing them to bypass what should be the best and most uncomplicated years of their life.

It is very unsettling to see little girls who should be enjoying make-believe tea parties instead striking sexy poses, dressing in adult fashions, sporting big hair and flaunting these 'come hither' looks that jar with their baby-fat cheeks and missing front teeth. The emphasis on the 'ideal' appearance brings forward the agonies of adolescence by years. While no one is saying that little girls should be denied the chance to play dress-up, there is a world of difference between harmless role play and Lolita-like precociousness.

There are two issues here: commercialisation and sexualisation. Children are being made the focus of cheap marketing ploys like never before. You only have to turn on the TV to become acutely aware of how actively children are being targeted and how persuasive these messages are, particularly for impressionable young minds. As regards sexualisation, there are pressures for children to talk, dress and act like young adults. This extends to clothing and attitudes, and is all part of a creeping plot to sexualise the young and bring about the shrinkage of childhood.

But isn't this less about fashion and more about parenting? After all, the grown-ups still presumably hold the control and the cheque books for children of this age.

Parents, sometimes without even realising it, put their daughters at risk when they camouflage these issues by allowing them to dress like adults. Such a dress code prompts the child to imitate adult female behaviour, which in turn, short-circuits normal development. It can also encourage older children and adults to relate to these young girls as sexual beings, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Our society rightly takes great pains in protecting children from physical harm, but we seem to have lost sight of their emotional and social needs. The unfortunate reality is that we, as a society, are rushing little girls out of childhood with the result that they are becoming too sexy, too soon.

Read More

Editors Choice

Also in this section