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The Sexualization of Our Daughters
by Motte Brown on Nov 1, 2007 at 2:02 PM

I wasn't surprised to read Candice's post about sexy Halloween costumes for tweens. I've been noticing the "slutification of America" for years. And the fastest growing segment has to be young girls between the ages of 12-17.

Yesterday I found this article from The Philadelphia Inquirer about Victoria's Secret's new clothing line targeting young girls.

Victoria's Secret's Pink line, launched in 2004, has bloomed into a $1 billion brand. The company publicly promotes Pink to college kids, but dog prints, slumber party pj's, sweats aping soccer attire, camis and panties in ice cream-cone packaging suggest a decidedly younger demographic.

Have we mentioned that there are dress-up dolls "plush and pretty for the ultimate girly-girl?" Sure, that's what every college sophomore desires.

Pink is the Joe Camel of thongs. The line is advertised in YM and Teen Vogue magazines, which boast 12-17 aspirational demographics. The success is in the bottoms. All you need to do is count the number of teens with "Pink" plastered on their rears, the word in the VS world being more suggestive than simply being a "girly-girl." What kind of parents are paying for these clothes, which give strangers the pleasure of reading their daughters' keisters?

When I first saw a young girl with the lettering "S-E-X-Y" written across her bottom several years ago, I asked the same question, "What kind of parents...?" The answer is, there are many kinds of parents who'll let their daughters dress provocatively or immodestly. Here are a few "kinds" I've thought of:

Prideful Parents: I think some moms and dads take pride in the sexual attention their daughters attract, regardless of age. You might think that parents would want to protect their child's innocence but the sexualization of young girls has so infiltrated our culture, parents are oblivious that this has affected the way they see their daughters.

Feminized Parents: These moms and dads may be uncomfortable with the way their daughter dresses but the feminist movement has so "empowered" women (even very young "women") that parents feel powerless to exact appropriate parental authority over their daughter's bodies.

Disengaged Parents: These parents have indolently delegated the responsibility of raising their children to day-cares, public schools, other kids, other kids' parents, and organized activities and clubs (including churches) without proper oversight. These children are highly susceptible to the influence of today's youth culture which in turn is heavily influenced by today's sexualized pop culture.

These are just a few. And I can tell you that based on what I've seen young girls wear in some churches, Christian parents aren't immune.



Maybe I'm just a grumpy feminist, but I think there are two problems of terminology in this post:

1. Is the term "slut" really an appropriate one here? I think you're talking about immodesty, not necessarily sexual promiscuity. And, in any case, why not say, "sexually promiscuous" instead of "slutty?" The latter term, as it applies almost exclusively to women, is really very sexist. It also implies, contrary to what I take to be your beliefs, that sexual promiscuity is only to be condemned in women, as there is no comparable term for a promiscuous man.

2. Why did you use the term "feminized parents?" You're talking about parents who are unwilling to exercise authority. I'm not sure how this is "feminine," unless you're trying to make the equation women=weak. The role feminism plays in your argument has to do with a strengthening of the "authority" of girls, not the weakening of the authority of parents.


(((The word "slut" makes me feel uncomfortable.)))


I wear clothes from the Pink line.

Does that automatically make me a slut?

Of course, I am now old enough to have a 12-17 year old child so maybe I am just an older slut or an old slut.

JB, I liked your comment, and did you or anyone else notice this is the second post since the beg. of October with a title containing an attention grabbing but somewhat off-topic sexually explicit term?

The first was the "Porn Star" post.


The thing is, we have an entire generation of young girls whose primary goal is to BE SEXY (and, btw, what does that mean for a teenager, anyway.) And so, naturally, "sexiness" is marketed to young girls, and parents, not necessarily because they are "evil" may not know the best ways to curtail this.
Rather than encouraging the innocent femininity of our girls, while they are girls, they are bumrushed into sexiness -- what 10 year old needs sweat pants that say "bootylicious" across the rear?
Whatever happened to remembering the first time your mother *let* you wear makeup (and moderately), your first training, bra, etc....not your first thong -- when your 12? Or a mom lovingly telling her daughter, while she still can, and has some control --"back it up into the room kiddo and put on a camy, that shirt is too low -- love ya"
Those things develop modesty in a young woman, and hopefully, when she's dressing all by herself, she'll make better choices that show the REAL woman she is (i.e., class, intelligence, etc.) rather than just her body -- because isn't that what feminism wants anyway?

Lastly, in response to the other post, I think it's just harder to classify boys clothes as "slutty" (though i have a personal gripe with some abercromie-esque ads/clothes). And it may not be fair, but it is what it is, and as young women -- whether we like it or not -- we are judged by what we wear and how we wear it. If you know you're being watched anyway, be intentional about your choices and reflect what you WANT others to see. :-)


You know, as much as we women hate it, we are sole heirs to the word "slut". Also, I think it is a little much for us to ask people to not judge us by the way that we dress. Whether we like it or not, we do present people with an image by the way we groom ourselves.
There have been numerous blog posts made addressing the issue of appearance.
When you see an overweight 5 year old do you actually think good thoughts about the parents? I know I don't. I think "Oh. my. gosh. How many happy meals have they fed that child?!"
Now. Think of the mall. All sorts of people are there. You see a teenager with a low-cut blouse, low-rise jeans that are about a half size too small, hair in a sloppy ponytail, bright red lipstick, and eye shadow that is two shades darker than her jeans. Next, you pass the professional women with the button down blouse with just the top button undone, dark slacks, well groomed hair, and subtle make-up. Are you telling me that one doesn't come across as more conifident and intelligent than the other?
As Christians, we ought to want to present ourselves as the pure, stainless bride that we are. I really don't understand why Christians think it is a good idea to wear the tighter jeans, "but lit" (as we called it in college), and more revealing blouses. If someone could explain why Christians should adorn the "if you got it, flaunt it" attitude, I would be a whole lot less confused.


"I wear clothes from the Pink line.
Does that automatically make me a slut?"

Not necessarily. But the moral value of Victoria's Secret wasn't Mr. Brown's point. His post focused on how young girls are wearing clothes from stores such as Victoria's Secret that focus more on being sexually suggestive than on being little girls.

Also, the term "slut" is, in my opinion, fully appropriate for this topic. All "slut" really means is a prostitute or one that is sexually promiscuous. If that term makes you uncomfortable, so should seeing 7 year old girls walking around in as little clothing as a prostitute wears.

Considering how rampant child predators and sexual abuse of children is in our society, it's surprising that more people aren't very concerned.


I actually *don't* wonder, "What are their parents thinking?" when I'm faced with an inappropriately dressed teen (or an overweight five-year-old, for that matter). I might not like the way they're dressed or acting, but it's not really my business to sit there and criticize their parents. Maybe the parent in question is coping with as much as they can already, or they just lost their job, or they're having marital problems, and just don't have the emotional energy to fight over their teen daughter wearing pants with "Pink" written on the rear. Sometimes we're really quick on the trigger, and we shouldn't be.

JB - Excellent points, btw. :)


I think it's an issue of Christians in general not really delineating what it means to be holy. We miss the subtle markers that cause people to interpret our lives and actions in a negative light. And it doesn't just apply to women, but also to men who think it's perfectly fine to show off their muscles. Coming from a guy who used to be chubby, but now works out regularly, the temptation is there to merely "show your stuff." Granted, I believe men, being such visually-centered creatures, are more susceptible to the lusts of the eye, at least as it relates to a scantily-clad woman. Even so, we all have to be vigilant in upholding a standard of modesty and reflecting God's glory, not our sexual liberation. As someone once told me, the way you do anything is the way you'll do everything. Let it not be said that our minor rebellions against modesty outweigh our desire to please God totally.


I agree that this is not a result of the feminist movement but rather is occuring in spite of the feminist movement. The feminist movement is not about having girls judged by their sexuality, but empowering women to be judged by their worth as an individual. Radical feminists, for example, were the first social group to speak out against pornography. That said, the lack of modesty in clothing and oversexualization of the culture is troubling. But it is not because of feminism but because sex sells.


Come ON, people! It's slutty for young girls to wear that stuff! Admit it and don't always fuss at Bounless writers for the words they choose! You lose the whole point of posts when you do that!

"Feminized parents" is not a put-down of true femininity. Don't look for an insult against women where there is none. It IS true that many men have become feminized and beaten down by the feminist movement. Those men, and the women who rule them, have been ruined by feminists.

Finally, it's not inherently bad for a WOMAN to wear these Pink clothes, or any items from VS (I have quite a few things myself, but I'm a grown-up, after all), but there IS a problem with letting young girls and tweens wear the stuff. Whatever happened to a plain old training bra?


Personally, I think the word "slut" is fully appropriate here. I read this whole thing aloud to one of my friends here at school and she agreed that "slut" does not necessarily mean that a person is promiscuous, but that they're asking for attention. Even though we attend a Baptist school, there are plenty of girls here known as sluts, just for the way they dress. That title SHOULD make us uncomfortable! ESPECIALLY when applied to the under-18 age range. I see the way some of the Jr./Sr. High girls- and younger- dress at my church, and it's quite disturbing.

When I was a child, not only did my parents guard my modesty, but my mother also made sure I looked like a child, a pre-teen, a teenager, etc. My mother grew up in the 40's and 50's when black was considered to be a color worn by women, not girls. I think I was 19 before I got away with wearing all black. I had to wear Mary Jane's until I was probably 10, wasn't allowed to wear nylons until I was 12, etc. For my mother, modesty included making sure a person dressed in an age-appropriate manner. I fully agree with her. Age-appropriate dress seems to be a concept almost entirely lost on my generation. At 24, I need to dress 24, not 16- which is another problem. Not only are the 12 year olds trying to look older and sexier, but the 23/24/25+ group (which should be able to figure out how to dress attractively without appearing to be overly flirty) is trying to look YOUNGER and sexier! No wonder the young girls are misguided! They see their mothers and those who should be dressing like responsible ADULTS trying to look young and sexy again, so they try to capture that appearance too. They just happen to be on the young side of the fence. Young and sexy does not equal attractive. When a person intentionally tries to obtain that appearance, they deserve whatever labels they get. "Slut" included.


Why would 20-something women want to look younger, anyway? They're immature enough as it is. Women are at their most attractive around 30. (You heard it here first!)


Carrie, Rachel, DT, and Kathleen:

Thanks for your defense of the use of the terminology in my blog. But fellow blogger Denise Morris rightly pointed out that Focus on the Family recently prohibited the use of the term "slut" in most instances in their publications. I was not aware of that decision. Oh, and my wife told me it had the effect of distracting people from the main point.

All that to say I substituted more appropriate terms in place of "slutification" and "slut."


Adam: You'd be surprised! It seems like once a young woman passes 21, she starts to find herself older than she wants to be and tries to keep herself from getting any older. I personally don't get it. I try to look like the mid-20's woman I am. I have no desire to look younger. Why would I? People are finally taking me seriously. But I guess that's not what women want anymore. I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that the further a person gets from 21, the less "fun" they feel they can have (fun often being equated with irresponsibility). They're expected to grow up and act like adults. Which is the last thing they want to do. Irresponsibility is nothing short of epidemic in our society, but that's another topic for another time!

And thanks for your compliment. It makes me feel much better, in spite of being branded old and uptight (though I'm really not!) by my younger classmates!


Well this is kind of an off-topic rant, but I am 21 and wanting to dress like a classy, responsible, early-mid twenties woman. However, I just happen to be quite thin and can only fit into junior's size clothing. I have spent whole afternoons at the mall trying to find something classy (i.e. no superlow pants and shirts that say "cutie" or whatever), and left empty-handed. I am not defending teenagers dressing in a sexually suggestive manner, but I also think we should take into account that this is often all that is available for that age group. Even as an adult (with a small body), I am forced to spend hours shopping, and often also to spend more money than I'd like just to dress in a manner that is good for my age.


I disagree that girls dressing in revealing or age-inappropriate clothing should be defined as 'slutty'. I remember being a child/teenager and being utterly confused when my mum would get angry at songs or videoclips with sexualised themes or refuse to let me wear skirts more than an inch above the knee. What she didn't get - and what many people don't seem to get - is the sexualness of lowrider jeans or saucy videos goes completely over most young girls' heads. They have no understanding of why these clothes are considered 'sexy' and if they do they don't understand the effect it has on people around them. They see them as fun and fashionable, but the 'sexy' bit doesn't register.

That's why I think it's a bit much to call these young girls 'slutty' for what they wear when they have no idea that the original purpose of such clothing was to create a sexual response in the opposite sex. That would be like giving someone a glass of poison that looks like fruit juice and calling them stupid bimbo for trying to drink it.

I think it would be great to teach young girls more about modesty; eg how much leg, stomach or shoulder is OK to show in different situations, what fabrics and fits are appropriate, etc. But I don't think it's helpful to teach modesty by saying "anyone who wears hipster jeans looks like a slut"


Two points:
1. This issue (early sexualization of girls) and the potential problems have been noticed outside of the evangelical Christian culture. Earlier this year, the American Psychological Association (APA) released a special report on the topic. It notes, for example, the blurring of lines between woman and girl in advertising images (e.g., the grown woman dressed as a "school girl" or the little girl in full make up and an overtly sexy, glamorous dress). I have a few problems with the report, but I do think it is noteworthy that the APA was concerned enough to address the issue.

2. Feminists are found on both sides of the pornography debates. Yes, early feminists were against pornography. Unfortunately, many "modern" feminists are avid supporters (and producers!) of pornography.


It's about discernment. Today in our culture, Christians aren't discerning well enough about everyday things. I noticed that not one post brought the Bible into this subject. Sure, everyone has their own opinion, but when discerning, the first thing we should ask is, "Does the Bible have anything to say?". It is the Word of God! 1 Tim. 2:9 "...that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel...". Sure, Motte didn't use politically correct words, but Christians shouldn't be held down by those. We should be able to say what is real cause God sure didn't dance around any subject. He calls sin what it is, sin. In the end, Motte is calling people to discern (Ephesians 5:10) in the way they dress or let their daughters dress.


Re: mid 20s women wanting to look younger -

I'm 25, and most people would agree I naturally look around 18/19. I also work in a job which gives me little opportunity to dress older (since our clothing needs to be casual / comfortable). Plus I'm very small so can fit into clothes made for 15-year olds, and frequently do, since they're cheaper (not overly 'young looking' ones though). I'd like to look my age but sadly it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon. But hey, I console myself that I'm going to love it when I'm 40. :)


RE: "It seems like once a young woman passes 21, she starts to find herself older than she wants to be and tries to keep herself from getting any older."

I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I thought it was one of those "sins of the fathers" issues (although in this case it would be "grandmother"). I have found that with each birthday these last few years, I increasingly try to ignore them and it's been since I was 21. It's me theory that there are no exciting "markers" after you're 21.
10: "Yay! I'm double digits!"
13: "I'm a teenager!"
16: "I can drive!"
17: "I can give blood!"
18: "I'm a legal adult!"
19: "I can drink in Canada!" (although I didn't, this is a big deal in Southeastern Michigan, where I grew up)
21: "I'm legal!"

The only thing after 21 to even get remotely excited about is the insurance discount you get at 25, but let's face it's not the same sort of thrill as all those other ones were.


I agree with Patricia that the general sexualization of women in our culture occured not because of feminism but in spite of it. From my understanding, feminism's original intent was to empower women in an age where women who wanted to work were stifled from advancing in the workplace. Unfortunately, as women sought a means of empowerment, they saw a very real power over men in their sexuality; hence, many women now think sexuality = empowerment. When you have parents who've been ingrained in that mindset who are now raising young girls it is possible that, because of our culture's reaction to original feminism/what is considered as feminism today, some parents see feminine sexuality and empowerment as mutually inclusive, thinking "Well, she has the right to be proud of her womanliness".

Our reaction to the original idea of feminism was to 1) do everything that men do (and better), and 2) shed the "outdated" feminine ideals of long ago. Women were once raised to be modest; now they are encouraged to be overtly sexual. Men have traditionally been promiscuous throughout history; now women see themselves empowered by their promiscuity. Do you see the pattern? We keep trying to just do the opposite thing, and that has happened even within feminism, which I think is how we got to where we are now. These female-empowering ideas came through in sexuality before they came through in the workplace, which is why we have "advanced" (if you'd call it that) in women's rights to their sexuality, while we still see discrepancies in the workplace.

The REAL question is: How do we help women to find a uniquely feminine empowerment not in their sexuality but in the gifts and callings they've been given as women?


You know, as I read the comments defending the parents of these kids, and the kids rights to dress as they choose and not be judged for this, all I could think about is "Be in this world and not of it."


It has definitly always bothered me that the older I get, the younger it seems that little girls are wearing sexy outfits...

An 8 year old wearing make up with mascara...a 7 year old wearing daisy dukes...a 12 year old more interested in lingerei than my 24 year old self...Who do you plan on showing it off to anyway?!?!

I don't know...but I also have a problem with mothers of 16-17 year olds wearing bikini's at their son's end-of-season baseball pool party...Even if she is in EXCELLENT shape...huh...I wonder why that disturbs me so much...


You hit the proverbial nail on the head: "They see them as fun and fashionable, but the 'sexy' bit doesn't register."
I don't know how old you are, but when I was in middle school "bodysuits" were the fad at the time. Basically, the were leotards that didn't look like leotards. My mom refused to let me wear such a thing. . . although I did manage to sneak one to school underneath my clothes.
Also, in 7th and 8th grade choir "love songs" were quite popular solo audition pieces. "The Rose" by Bette Midler I remember being one of the more popular pieces. I tried to get my mom to buy the sheet music to this song and she flat out refused to let her daughter "sing a love song". Did I get why? Heck no!! I was very confused as to why such things were such a big deal.
But girls still wore bodysuits and sang love song with great passion.
With teenagers comes emotions, drama, and much irrationality. Adults are supposed to be the responsible ones. They are supposed to possess forsight and maturity so they can help their child avoid pitfalls (i.e. pre-marital sex).
So, while teenager may not know what they heck they are doing, adults need to be the ones watching out for their children.
Hyperbolic example: If a family is taking a vacation at the Grand Canyon and their daughter is playing jump rope near the edge, should they not encourage their daughter to come to a safer spot farther away from the edge?? If she were to slip on a rock and fall over the edge should they then say "Well, she was having fun! At least she went with a smile on her face!"
The same principle applies for gauging how a child dresses, you don't want to stop them from having fun and enjoying life. You want to help them make responsible decisions, not ones that will lead to their demise.


Christina, with all due respect, why wouldn't bikinis be appropriate attire at a pool party?

They are swim suits after all.

Why shouldn't adult women wear them at a pool setting?


And Carrie, I do believe that was the point of this blog...

The parents are allowing the sexualization of their daughters. And they should know full well how men look at women...just think how men are looking at their young daughters...

Honestly, the entire thing about modesty (or lack thereof) gives me the heebie jeebies. When I think about dressing up sexily to go out on a date with a guy I'm very interested in, I always stop and ask myself what my purpose is. He likes me, thinks I'm beautiful - but I have no intention of following through with the temptation I'm placing before him. I'm leading him into lustful thoughts about my person because I want to look sexy for him. No wonder the terms "slut" and "temptress" and "Lady in red" are all FEMININE derogatory words with little male counterpoints...we are tempting without being intentionally so...and modesty is a way to keep our brothers in Christ just as pure as they are/should be striving to keep their sisters...

So think about why a mother or father would let their 10 year old daughter out of the house to go to the beach wearing a string bikini with hearts on the chest pieces and bold lettering on the think about what men are looking at their daughter the way her clothes are begging her to be looked at...fat, ugly, hairy, old...handsome, debonair, charming...oh my gosh...I just can't imagine parents wanting to put their children in that kind of danger...

And no wonder there's so many fathers sexually abusing their daughters when they are prancing around in skimpy, low cut shirts, low cut jeans with their thongs peaking out, and wearing make up that makes them look 5 years older than they really are...

I know I went a little extreme here, but seriously...think about it...



it wasn't the attire, its the setting.

A full grown attractive woman at her son's end of year pool party prancing around in a bikini in front of her son and all his friends who are going through incredible hormone changes...

You seriously see nothing inherently wrong with that? or is the term "MILF" something that you seriously didn't think teenage boys use outside of movies?

Now take that same woman in her own backyard or on the beach with her husband, I see nothing wrong with it.


As many of you have mentioned, this has a lot to do with the desire that young girls and teens have for acceptance and male attention. In this culture, at that age, it's easy to feel like if you don't dress that way, you will be a big old ugly frump. Obviously it's not true, but when "all" the other girls are dressing a certain way, it's easy to lose perspective.

Personally I would love to see a teenage "What Not to Wear." Stacy and Clinton do an excellent job of showing people what they're projecting when they dress a certain way, and help them project the kind of image they really *want* to project. In a teenage girl's case, that would (probably) be "pretty, fun, and fashionable." S&C would probably need to be a little less acerbic with the girls, though...

If you personally know a young girl who needs that kind of help, maybe you can fill the "auntie" role, take her shopping, and show her that it's possible to be cute without showing everything, or going to the opposite extreme and wearing a burlap sack.

That said, it can be hard to find clothes that work. There was a period of time (about 6-7 years ago, ca. the advent of Britney Spears), when I gave up on finding a pair of jeans that fit. My choice was either super-hip-huggers or Extreme Mom Jeans with a waistline that went up to my rib cage. Neither was flattering or age-appropriate for me.


Well, there are a couple of things to point out here. The main responsibility would lie on the parents. The secondary responsibility would lie on the manufacturer. I think it is horrible that a line like Victoria’s Secret (I’m not sure what secret she’s keeping because it looks like she letting it all hang out targets younger girls. Pink isn’t a horrible line. I have a little sister and she wears it, she wears sweat pants that say pink on her bum, but she has been taught by two older brothers what it means to be a woman and a respectful lady of the Lord. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).” As Christians, we know the way we should raise a child up in, the Way of Jesus. So rather than looking within the world to see what is “good” we should look within the Word to see what is right.

I agree we should not look at all who buy “pink” as a slut and in no way do I think that is what Motte was inferring. I simply think we all can agree the trend of promiscuity amongst young girls in America.


Christina, if you don't feel teenage boys should see adult women wear bathing suits then maybe there shouldn't be end of year baseball season pool parties.

Have another party maybe a backyard BBQ without a pool.

I don't think it is reasonable to fault people for wearing swim suits at a pool party.

They are at the pool!

Now I can recall several times driving home from the pool and stopping off a store to make a purchase.

We always pull on at least a pair of shorts before going into the store, in order to be properly attired.


Oh wow, this is an issue that is certainly timely and definitely an issue. As an Elementary and Middle school major and a college student I can see many sides of this issue. I don’t care what anyone says, it is not okay for a 20 something woman to be flaunting her body either (adult or not). Our younger sisters and friends look up to us. If we are not modeling appropriate dress where do you think they are going to learn it? It doesn’t make it more okay just because I am older to dress immodestly (not to mention it is a huge disservice to my brothers in Christ). For the younger generation, wow… I am horrified by how some of my middle school students dress in school! I cannot believe that their parents let them out of the door, because my parents NEVER would have. For parents who don't get to see it every day let me assure you the boys do treat them differently and not in a good way. Sure they may get more attention, but it isn’t positive. And reality check, middle school students are not innocent little beings anymore. Girls are getting pregnant in middle school, both genders are talking openly about sex. Does that scare you? It certainly terrifies me! In a world were experimenting with sexuality is seen as normal, can you really believe that it isn’t going to hurt your daughter if she dresses in a certain way? Young men are going to start seeing her in as a sexual being and not a “friend” the moment she does. How they dress matters! Every time I see a “whale tail” (thong hanging out the top of pants) or the shirts that are way too low I find myself wanting to yank down their shirts to cover their bottoms (or up to stop showing cleavage) because I recognize that. I just wish their parents did. When I was a little girl I had to do a "test" before I was allowed to buy/wear clothes. Bend over (does my underwear show under my dress), arms above head (does my belly show), fingers to the side (are my shorts shorter than the tips of my fingers), is my shirt long enough it covers a few inches of my pants, etc. I absolutely LOVE that my father taught me to think about how I dress but also gave me ways to ensure that how I am dressing meets these standards. I still use these today and I am saddened that other women are not. When I have my own classroom I will make sure that my students are following the dress code, but there is only so much teachers and other figures can do without help! We need to stop making excuses to let our nation’s children dress this way and start making changes especially in Christian circles! We should have higher expectations for ourselves!


The subject of modesty isn't simply about the person wearing the clothes. Modesty has to do with how they are presenting themselves to the rest of the world. It doesn't matter what you are wearing when you are locked inside your bedroom with blinds closed.

How you dress affects how people look at you, and I think it is very important to keep in mind that men looking at women often results in lust...and the more provocative the dress, the more lustful the looks. So do you think that a woman fully aware of how she can garner that kind of attention and uses it in inappropriate instances (going on a date with a boyfriend, wearing a bikini at her son's pool party...) is in her own right to make the men looking at her lust after her (said boyfriend, or son and his friends...)?

Men are told to protect their female counterparts and to treat them as sisters in Christ. My point is that woman can exercise the same respect for men by dressing in appropriate attire so as not to cause them to fall into sin - wether its lustful thoughts or perverted behavior.

And on the point of this post, I think it is very important for parents to exercise that authority to
1) teach their daughters how to dress in a respectful manner towards men.
2) Protect their daughters from inappropriate and/or perverted attention.

I don't think a lot of people realize that the way a woman dresses can be seen as license for men to take advantage of it. A young girl dressing provocatively and flirting with her biology teacher is not going to result in her getting grounded - but it could result in her teacher being fired. A young woman dressing provocatively, flirting, and using suggestive language at a frat party could get her raped.

I found it quite interesting that flirts were considered evil temptresses in the 18th and 19th century...flirt being defined as a woman who encourages lustful thoughts only to leave the man stone cold - or worse, in a position incapable of thinking rationally and fully capable of doing something disastrously wrong that could result in the loss of his life. And of course, these days, the woman is completely innocent because all she did wrong was dress immodestly...


Liz-I cannot think of one feminist who advcoates for the sexualization of young girls. Feminists have consistently fought against sex trafficking of minor children and often more vocally, sadly, than churches. While some feminists do defend ADULT women's right to be a porn star, this is not true for minors and the majority of feminists would argue that pornography and the oversexualization is harmful to women as it promotes an unobtainable ideal of beauty and bases women's self worth on their appearance.


Just for the record, Catherine MacKinnon is a widely-read radical feminist who has been writing against pornography for over 20 years. (I'm reading her for two classes this semester, neither women's studies courses.)


It's a good thing when we get to heaven we don't have to be bothered with this whole clothing business...We can just be all free in our glorified, sinless bodies.

Heaven anyone? :-P


I dont' understand you mothers who are entrusted with instilling godly values in your children, thinking just like the world, with the "sexy" underwear and all the rest of it. You're called to be modest and you're also called to be an example for your sons and daughters. I'm not saying dowdy, but I am saying modest.

I see young mothers in the mall who are dressed up like they're going to stand under a lamppost and yell, "Hey, Sailor!" I see the same in Christian young mothers. Where are your brains? You are supposed to be countercultural, not get sucked in by what the culture thinks is attractive.



My response noted two separate thoughts or reactions to the blog. One point was about the rather widely (though recently) acknowledged problem of our culture's early sexualization of girls. The second point, which I did not connect to the first, was about the mixed views that feminism has had in regard to pornography (both the making and the distribution of it).

I did NOT say anything about feminists (old or new) advocating for the early sexualization of girls. Though *some* feminist thought may have this as an unintended but forseeable logical consequence, I don't believe anyone - feminist or otherwise - would say that the loss of childhood and sexualization of children (particularly girls) is a good thing. After all, the APA would be considered largely feminist in the leanings and ideals of its membership and leadership, and yet I credit the APA and applaud them for bringing attention to this problem (thus noting that it isn't just 'conservative' or 'religious' types who acknowlege that this is a problem).

My second (numbered!) point about feminist support of or opposition to pornography was not a continuation of the argument about the dangers of early sexualization. If you want to read more about feminists on both sides (pro and con) of the pornography debate, Wendy McElroy has an online book-length editorial ( or that covers the history of the debate within feminism. Admittedly, it is written by someone on the "pro" porn side of the debate. While I disagree with some of her conclusions, her research into the range of current and historical views on this subject within feminism is solid.


I didn't read all of the comments, so if this was covered, my apologies for covering it again...

The problem I see with this clothing line is that it focuses on a young girl's appearance and tells her that her worth is found in how she looks alone. And if a child believes that she is only valuable for as long as she looks good, we run into issues such as this:

Why place a child on display - essentially as an object - to be judged based on how she looks? (I am using the feminine because of who this clothing line is targeting). Teenagers struggle with this, being judged and rated by their peers. Why bring this turmoil to younger and younger children? The angst of teenage years ought to be confined to those six or so years we spend from junior high to our graduation from high school. What is it that makes us so anxious to extend these turbulent years? And how can we possibly expect our children to come through unscathed?


For the women in here that are in disagreement with Motte's post...

... if you were able to take the perspective of a man for one day, you would think completely different about this post.


I agree with David, for those of us that are grown, but still young men, I find it disgusting and sad to see little girls and teenagers wearing that kind of clothing. I've also had some close friends who are girls wonder why they are constantly hit on by every guy who sees them and when I tell them it's because of what they wear, they get mad at me! I can tell just from the posts here that things aren't going to change so I will just have to do my best to avert my eyes and pay no attention to the female population that does not respect men.


Adam D.
"when I tell them it's because of what they wear, they get mad at me!"

This is because we lived in a very twisted, fallen world. We are told constantly to "not judge a book by its cover", yet everyone does this every day. As Christians, we know that a "tree is judged by its fruits" (same thing, but back when Christ was on earth the printing press hadn't been invented yet).
For any women that read this that wear questionable clothing I only ask what kind of example are you wanting to set before other brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you really think people should take you seriously when they can see your belly button, bra straps, or what color bra your wearing??
If you do profess to be a Christian, don't you want to show people Christ rather than what I just mentioned??


David and Adam,

Thank you for proving my point (or points) =p


Thanks, young men who have responded here with a plea for modesty, for standing up for Christ. It's hard enough for young Christian women to take a stand against the world -- having to stand against a worldly mindset *in the Church* is no less than brutal spiritual warfare. So I thank you young men for your encouragement, as it takes courage, honesty, and vulnerability to say what you have said.


I agree with Karen. When I was 12 I was dressed to go out in all black, and mum told me no because I was "too young". I was utterly confused. How on earth can one be "too young" to wear all one colour, I thought? I had no idea black was any different to wearing all blue or all green, I just thought it looked classier. Any other ideas never even crossed my mind. I think kids in the 8-12 age range dont even register the "sexual" side of clothes they might be wearing, and it's completely up to the parents to monitor that. However, i do think that once girls reach 13 or 14 they do understand the sexual connotations of certain clothing, and they (and their parents) are responsible for what they wear.

JB: I also think it's ridiculous to say that the feminist parents are feminist simply because they are "too weak" to control what their daughter wears. I think Motte's point was that these feminized parents think their daughter was the right to be empowered, so they let her dress how she wants. It's not about their "weakness".


Working at Kohl's for a summer, I really noticed the Girl's and Boy's Department clothing. The clothing is becoming the 'mini' version of junior's and young men's department. What ever happened to allowing children to be children?
As for Victoria Secret's Pink clothing line, I love pink (the color). However, I do not want Pink or anyone reading Pink on my rear. I prefer people to look at my face not my rear. Additionally, a few years ago I stopped being a customer at Victoria Secret's. In my experience, there are more men in the store than women. I doubt a man knows the specifics of bra fittings. To me Victoria Secret's is becoming board-line pornographic (mannequins with heads and upward protruding hips clad in lingerie, cardholders are automatically sent a sales catalog with models (face-included) in lingerie). Victoria Secret’s promotes being skinny. Prior to not being a customer, Victoria Secret’s (in store) lacks sizes for full busted women. Victoria Secret’s is sending the message to girls and boys, men and women, that sexy is what sells. Sexy does not create a long-lasting relationship.


1. Scary.

2. Scary that parents are allowing their kids to make the decisions... so the kids can be "cool."

3. What about the dads? Where are the leaders, and the protectors?

4. In Florida is beyond scary. The girls do act and dress provocatively, have attitudes, and their goal is to be "sexi."

What's that gone look like at 25?

Can you blame them though? In the 20's, 30's and 40's crowd, (their moms, sisters, etc) there hardly exists a girl without showing some cleavage, or way too much skin.

Today, walking around a public nice area I wondered, do guys ever get tired of seeing so much cleavage? I can't imagine how difficult is to be a guy these days.

My guy-friend who I've known for years, isn't a Christian, and lives in California said to me: "I respect four women: my mom, my grandma, my sister and you." Sadly, so many women are out to sell this "sexiness" as if that will empower them longterm. Scary, that's all I gotta say.


This article is wonderful, and I am very happy that someone has the nerve to speak up about this sort of thing.

It IS slutty to bring sexual attention onto yourself unless you are married and the attention you are getting is from your spouse.

Just as purity is not simply about abstaining from intercourse, being or not being a slut is not simply about if you have promiscuous sex with multiple partners.

I wonder if people are not deceiving themselves into thinking that they don't buy VC for the sexy image it portrays. If not for the image, why else would a person buy a pair of $40 sweat pants with "Pink" across the rear, when they could buy a pair of $8 sweatpants from Ross or Wal-mart or the mall? Don't fool yourself: that brand name has connotations of sexiness and desirableness that women crave.

I feel very strongly that women should not wear clothes that they know full well may cause men to stumble, nor should they support any store or brand that uses sex to sell clothes or other products. Victoria's Secret uses soft-porn to sell perfume, bras, and clothing; Sketchers uses soft-porn to sell shoes, and of course, the list goes on. It is so ridiculous.

I feel so badly for the young girls who have grown up thinking that their sexual dress and behavior is appropriate. They assume the behavior makes them pretty and acceptable to the world, when all it does is draw the lusting sexual attention of males. The consequences of this kind of attention are so far reaching, and little girls simply can't comprehend the damage they are causing to themselves, to men, and even to other women.


I've been observing these trends for several years and it's obvious that secular culture is pushing the "sexy" image to an increasingly younger audience.

My main "beef" is what the church is doing to combat it. I attended a pre-marital seminar last semester that addressed topics like sexuality and realtionships. Something that the speaker said really stuck with me: you do not suddenly become a sexual being when you are thrust into certain situations or "cross the line" in a relationship. You are born a sexual being.

Being single or young does not make you non-sexual. The fact is, you are sexual whether you are in the right context (marriage) to fully express your sexuality erotically or not.
Instead of redeeming and embracing God's design for sexuality, the church has gone the opposite extreme of culture (in many cases): we try to avoid the idea altogether. Sometimes we talk about sexuality in regards to married people, but sexuality applies to everyone. It's only sexual activity that is the province of married people only.

We tell men (and women, occasionally) not to lust; but we don't teach them how to appreciate sexuality and beauty. We belittle sexual desire and label everything sexual with a stamp on it that says "SIN!" in big red letters. Why aren't we teaching men and women, single and married, young and old, how to embrace, appreciate, and handle their sexuality in a godly way from a younger age? I'm not saying we should introduce our children to age-inappropriate concepts, only that we should re-evaluate what kind of messages we're sending when we tell them that the things that they are naturally discovering about their bodies and their desires (that God put there) should make them feel guilty. Let's stop being prudes, shall we, and take a stand for godly sexuality in its right context as a holy gift.


I know this topic is from months ago but I felt I had to say something.

I am horrified at the rape apoligists here.
No matter what someone is wearing they are not asking to be raped. A child's clothing is never ever an excuse for rape. There is no excuse for rape ever.

As for the word slut, it is a sexist word used to put women down.
Men sow their wild oats. Women are sluts. Is this really the view Christians want to perpetuate?
Children wearing revealing clothes are not knowingly enflaming lust. They are children. These are the clothes that are available and fashionable. Girls are not to blame for men's lust.
Christians seem to subscribe to the double standard. Women must be pure and virginal while men battle with lust. If pre-marital sex is wrong it is wrong for both genders.
Even if men do struggle with lust more than women it seems a feeble excuse to say I'm a man I can't help it.

I'd also like to point out that modesty is not the same as chastity. Modesty differs from Tehran to Florida, from the beach to the office. Chastity is pretty much the same everywhere. You can be modest but unchaste. You can be immodest but chaste.


Didn't Victoria's Secret launch their PINK line to cater to younger girls because these younger girls were buying inappropriately older, sexy underthings?

As a regular VS shopper (my 25th b-day is Tuesday), I'm familiar with both the PINK line and the regular VS line; the PINK line is much tamer than the regular VS line...I have no problem with VS or PINK simply because it's UNDERWEAR. The only word I saw splashed across the butt of cropped pants was the word "PINK". My only problem with those pants is that everyone knows they came from an underwear store. A classy woman would never advertise where she buys her clothes, only that she looks good.


I realize this article is from a long time ago & many of the posts are older, but I too had to make a comment. I am the mom of 2 teen girls, 1 in college, 1 in high school. I wholeheartedly agree with the author & the article. It has made me sick to have to raise 2 beautiful girls in this society that wants to sexualize them so young. My husband has always wanted to know where the fathers are in these issues. They know what goes through young & old men's minds when they see young girls dressed provocatively & he cannot believe the way some dads allow their girls to dress. I would like to say there are fashionable alternatives and we as Christian parents have got to take a stand, draw the line & let our girls know how important this issue is - for their own safety, for the sake of Christ.
Finally about the slut - it may be a strong term, but unfortunately it is accurate. And it applies to both male or female when it is used to mean the look of promiscuity or the act itself. Once again, why aren't we willing to call sin what it is - sin.


One more thing - how can any self respecting Christian woman shop at Victoria's Secret when they promote nudity and sexual promiscuity in their commercials on primetime? Their commercials alone are like watching a short porn movie! Why do we give them our business? I stopped shopping there several years ago after I saw one of the commercials and was completely appalled to see the model doing a pole dance! Come on ladies - we can get our underwear elsewhere!

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