Modesty Choices — Are We Misjudging Young Girls
Last month, CNN writer LZ Gunderson wrote a piece called “Parents, Don’t Dress Your Daughters Like Tramps.”
Immediately following the publication of this piece, my morning radio show co-host, Bryan Hyde, and I discussed the effects of dressing “like a tramp” and how, as parents, it is our duty to enforce rules with our children even if they go against what is popular.
We had several listeners call in and agree that it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure our children are appropriate. It is not the responsibility of the media, Britney Spears, clothing designers, Walmart or Ambercrombie & Fitch to tell our children what they should or shouldn’t wear – although I agree they certainly aren’t helping things.
It is up to us parents to establish with our children what is allowed and not allowed. Just because their friends are doing it, doesn’t mean our children have to do it. After all, who is driving them to the store and paying for these clothes anyway? Mostly the parents are – I’m sure the eight-year-old girl in the story did not drive herself to Walmart to purchase a pair of low-hip jogging pants with the word “juicy” on the butt.
But then a caller made a point: If girls dress that way, they should expect to receive negative attention from men.
Wait just a minute. If a girl dresses like a tramp, she should expect to be treated like a tramp? No piece of clothing automatically turns anyone into a tramp, prostitute or slut, and no writer will call my child a prostitute no matter what she is wearing. Is the clothing inappropriate? YES! Should she expect she may not be treated as respectfully because of her clothing? Yes. But does that give us the right to call her a tramp or prostitute? NO!
We’re treading on thin water here when we tell girls that they should expect to be mistreated because of their clothing. If I wear a shirt showing off my mid-section, that does not make me a prostitute and it does not mean that men can take advantage of my body because of my outfit. For too long that has been an excuse to blame a girl for being date raped.
I agree that women and young girls should not dress in a way that is intentionally showing off their body, but if we as a society think it is okay to treat women or girls differently because of the way they dress, we are opening the door for anyone to commit a sexual crime without taking responsability for it, or worse, putting the blame on the victim.
Jen Watkins is a morning show co-host at Canyon Media Broadcasting, the Publisher of St. George News and Director of Mrs. Utah United States. She also works as the PR and Social Media Director for a law firm in St. George.
She is a mother of two, journalist, blogger, columnist for Alive! Utah South, former marketing professional, and previously served as a police officer in the United States Air Force. She co-founded two networking groups in St. George and served as the Team Manager for the Chaparrals – RoadRunners baseball dance team.
Jen has been a reporter for many years, previously working as the Managing Editor for Today in Dixie and Sports Editor for the Park Record. She has volunteered with at-risk youth and the domestic violence council in Mountain Home, Idaho