The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do Clothes Make the Toddler?

Photo: Sarah Lee

There are times when I look back at photos of my eight year old self and I want to interrogate my mother as to what she was thinking when she placed me in multicoloured cycling shorts, baggy grey sports jackets or matching denim jeans and shirt. In fashion terms, being a child of the eighties certainly leaves a very distinguishable trademark.

However, once I pause for a moment I realize how lucky I am that I grew up in an age where young girls didn't have to be constantly anxious about whether their outfit was "fashionable" or whether they were as adventurous as their peers. Nowadays, young girls are bombarded with messages that encourage premature sexualisation, through TV, magazines, clothes and accessories. With every passing year it seems as though these messages aim to target increasingly younger girls with Primark recently introducing a T-shirt for three year olds that bears the slogan "Future WAG."

It is well known that a child's early development is absolutely crucial for shaping their future personality, attitudes, and aspirations and I shudder to think what effects these messages may have on young girls' later lives. What will happen to young girls who are offered "role models" such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and who are encouraged to aspire to the life of a footballer's girlfriend? Sadly, there is a market for these items. Parents are buying high heels or bikinis for their seven year-old daughters, and even younger. Our society is so accustomed to the sexualisation of women and young girls that many people no longer question it. 

Thankfully, organizations like Mumsnet have put pressure on retailers to withdraw merchandise which overtly sexualize young girls, and although it will take more than this to alter the widespread sexualisation of women and girls in our society it is a welcome step in the right direction.

For further reading… or to purchase girl empowering gear, visit our Girl Museum Boutique.

-Sarah Lynch
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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