What I present here is merely observation and not in any way intended to attack you. I just want to share with you, and let you take what you will from it.
There is an ongoing trend in clothing that teenage girls wear, one that I occasionally participated in without realizing what I was doing, one that my sisters and friends participated in, and one that oodles of teenage girls participate in now. The trend? Revealing clothing.
Now, now, before you get all angry at me and stop reading, please let me make my point. I’m not calling anyone a slut. Far be it. But I am calling the clothing that some people wear too revealing.
I have a 10 year old cousin, and I’m constantly amazed at how hard her mother has to work to dress her like a little girl. She’s a smart girl and in that awkward part of life where you really really want to be grown up but you’ve still got so far to go. She still needs to wear little girl clothing – or at least clothing that borders on a little mature, but still very modest. If for nothing else so that the people around her can remember that even though she’s smart and funny and intelligent she is still only 10 years old. She was carrying a “grown up” purse last time I saw her… which I thought was ingenious on her mother’s part, because it was a great way for her to get a little responsibility without having to “grow up” too much physically.
I’m digressing. Let me tell you a story.
A few nights ago I went into Starbucks with a few males that I know. We walked in and inside the store were about 7 pre-teens and teens. I’d guess 12-16 years old. Each girl was wearing as little clothing as possible. Mostly short shorts, but also several tank tops and one halter top.
While we were waiting in line, it was obvious that the guys with me were uncomfortable. They kept walking around me in circles, going over to the merchandise, and finally came up to me and said they’d wait outside. I kind of had an idea what was going on, which they later confirmed.
There was so much skin showing it was hard not to stare. Not that the guys with me were perverts or losers or obsessed with sex. But I am a straight-happily-married woman and those girls were getting my attention with how much skin was exposed. I can only imagine how it would feel to be a male.
I have to be really careful here because this can border on sexist and that is not my intention. So with that being said, I say this: men are generally visually-stimulated creatures. Pretty halfway-naked women don’t help men stay pure. And it just makes them feel worse when it’s a pretty halfway naked teenage girl.
The guys that were with me left so that they wouldn’t feel the temptation to stare at the girls too young to be wearing the clothing they were.
I wonder if those girls realized the kind of struggle they gave men when they walked into the room. Those that revel in that kind of attention are often lacking personal validation from other areas of their life. Most of them are simply unaware.
I wonder if we taught kids more about guarding themselves if we wouldn’t see a little more modesty. It’s so easy to let them go around with the crowd, but if we continually let little girls dress up as women and we continually let men stare at those little girls like they were objects to be lusted after then we have to consider the repercussions to the emotional stability of everyone involved.
I wonder if I thought about any of this growing up. Did you? Do you? Most likely not. It’s not on our radar most of the time. Why worry about what we’re wearing when we have a million other things to worry about?
To me it’s not just an issue of guarding their bodies. It’s also an issue of guarding their hearts. Having an awareness of the effect they have on other people. Acceptance that if they are going to wear that type of clothing, they need to be prepared for the reactions they’re going to get. And that goes for adult women as well as teens. How are you going to put on a pair of short shorts with the word “cute” or “hot” on it and then get mad when guys stare at your butt? You put WORDS on it! Of course they are going to stare!
I honestly think this is something that all women, regardless of age, should at least consider. I used to be a hardcore let-me-wear-what-I-want-and-you-have-to-deal-with-it type of person. But I’m slowly realizing that you have to be aware of the influence you have on other people’s lives. In speech, in manner, and in dress as well. The sooner – and younger – we can get that into our heads, and hearts, the better off our girls will be.