As a mother of a preteen girl, I am, of course on the cutting edge of fashion and trends. Ok, I’m not fooling anybody–many of you have seen how she and I both dress. Well, anyway, I was appalled when I saw, fresh off the truck and out of the stock room at Kohl’s, new footwear for little girls…The Pretty Talls and Pretty Tall Too sneakers. At first glance, it looks like any other casual shoe for girls; pink, glittery, and sporty, yet girly.
Then I read the box top. The shoes promise to “Lift your spirits, and your soles!” It’s a sneaker…with a one inch wedge heel.” Wait, did I read that correctly? Yep…tennis shoes with a heel to “secretly” make our height challenged children taller. And to think that all these years, I’ve allowed my daughter to suffer the humiliation of being…dare I say it? Little? I think I just heard some of you gasp!
I told my ten year old daughter about the shoe and she informed me that “Tennis shoes are for running…not to prance around like a pretty pony!”Right on, kiddo.
Ok, so we have teenage girls upchucking in bathroom stalls after lunch everyday…and doing heaven knows what else in a bathroom stall because they have been quite convincingly lied to by the media, their friends, their boyfriends, and even their own mothers who audibly bemoan the fact they can no longer fit into their size 2 wedding dress after a decade of marriage and one or more kids.
Too many women(not all women–I wouldn’t want to be accused of making broad generalizations!) who get plastic surgery don’t do it for themselves. They do it for two reasons–in hopes that their husbands or boyfriends will love them/not leave them/not cheat on them. The second reason is to make other women jealous of them and be hated by them. Well, now there’s a couple of positive messages to send out into the universe. I don’t know of too many women who would choose to be carved up like a Christmas turkey over and over again in order to be beautiful unless their self esteem is in the toilet…along with their lunch they just threw up.
We have athletes, predominantly males, using anabolic steroids to enhance their on the court or field performance. It’s not just college and professional athletes either–there is a rising number of high school athletes who use them.
We perpetuate and reward the women in our society who claim that they “don’t need a man” to help raise their children, help run a household, help financially support them, or even to be present at all. So our teen girls are trussed up in adult clothing that in many cases is nothing short of indecent. And to do what? The messsage transmitted to them is not to have a husband…but merely to “git a man” by debasing themselves and camouflaging what they perceive as physical flaws with provocative clothing. There’s a huge difference. A very sad, traumatic difference.
So, let me get this straight. It’s not enough that our teenagers and adult women experience self-loathing and exaggerated feelings of inadequacy, we must now have it pervade our elementary age population.
Way to go, fashion industry…You are the devil.
©Mary Flanagan Taylor