Too much, too young?

Recent study shows that 31% of children’s clothes have sexualizing characteristics, according to LiveScience.

Young girls tend to gravitate towards clothing that many view as too mature for them.

Young girls tend to gravitate towards clothing that many view as too mature for them.

I was walking through Target the other day when I saw a group of girls walk past me. They looked to be 11 or 12. Every single one of them was wearing a shirt that showed their stomach. 

Now, I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing for these girls to be wearing clothes like that. They should be able to wear whatever they want, or what their parents feel comfortable letting them wear, but it got me thinking, were these the clothes I wore as a 6th grader?

No, they weren’t. Most of my clothes should have been burned on sight. My closet was made up of sequined Justice shirts, heavily ripped skinny jeans, and those fake glasses that are too big for your face. But these clothes were trendy at the time, and they made me happy.

I’m sure that those girls that I walked past in Target were also wearing trendy clothes that made them happy. Why would they wear clothes that they didn’t like?

But why are crop tops, tiny shorts, and shirts that are low cut even in kids’ sizes?If you guessed societal sexualization of children, you would be correct.

Emily Bonneau, social studies teacher at Liberty, has a seven year old daughter. She remarks on her worries that this issue will affect her daughter. 

“I worry about how she feels pressure to look attractive all the time, and the adult themes that are being targeted towards young people like herself,” said Bonneau. 

This seems to be a societal issue, stemming from years of sexual exploitation of children. 

“It’s a shame that society has gotten to the point where sex sells children’s clothing,” Bonneau stated. 

Walking past displays, you see clothes that seem to be tailored to young adults, yet are in children’s sizes. There are three big reasons for this shift in the fashion industry. 

The first one being social media. It seems like in today’s society, social media seems to be the blame for every problem we face, and this problem is no exception. Children are frequently on social media in today’s day and age. They see grown women living lifestyles that they want to copy. They are exposed to adult trends at a young age, thoroughly causing children to be exposed to sexual trends that may not be the most appropriate for children to wear. 

Reason number two is capitalism. Ok, maybe capitalism is a little bit broad, but this issue generally comes down to money, as most problems in our world similarly do. Clothing brands have a long history of portraying women as sexual objects. While I think it’s awful for brands to do this, it’s an entirely different ballgame when they are targeting little girls. 

The third reason doesn’t have as much data supporting it, but I think it still holds a lot of merit. Society is obsessed with pushing little girls to grow up faster than they should. Through social media and other types of media that they consume, little girls are being told that it’s not okay to be a child.

According to LiveScience, 31% of clothes being sold for children have sexualizing characteristics. So who is to blame for this?

It may seem easy to blame parents, but that would let the marketers off the hook. The parents are just a pawn in the marketers’ game, as they spend billions of dollars on advertising these clothes. 

“Retailers are smart, and they know what society values…Companies won’t sell these clothes if people don’t give them attention and money,” said Bonneau. 

Don't miss our latest posts!

Subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date with the Live Wire's newest content!