Little Girls, Big World. The Not-So-Subtle Sexualization of our Little Girls Through Pop-Culture Fashion.

Little Girls, Big World - The Not-So-Subtle Sexualization of our Little Girls - Through Pop-Culture Fashion

Little Girls, Big World

Let me just preface this article with a big “IMO”. I realize that this is my opinion, and I claim it to be no more, no less. Let’s roll.

I have two daughters, so I am constantly on the lookout for adorable clothes that will reflect their sweet/spicy personalities. On a recent trip to a popular department store, I was appalled to come across several items of clothing that directly alluded to and/or had the undertones of some very sexual innuendo, not to mention wrong messages! These were not in the Teen section which would have been bad enough, or even the Young Adult section. This was the Little Girls section, right along-side the sweet ballet tutus, and fuzzy bunny slippers. This spawned a search for other examples of how pop culture is trying to not-even-subtly sexualize our daughters. Here are just 5 of my finds:

1. Lost? Maybe. In Love? Over my dead body!

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This adorable tank from H&M dons a nice little message: Lost in Love. What’s so bad about that? Well, the only type of love my 8 year old daughter needs to be lost in, is the kind for her mom, dad, siblings and maybe her dog. For some reason, I don’t think that was what they were going for. The (wrong) impression that this sends to little girl’s minds is that love is something you should lose yourself in, it’s poetic, it’s expected, it’s to be desired. This is not the message I want my daughters to buy into. It’s actually the antithesis of what I am trying to teach them. I want them to know that love is a powerful decision, within their ability and duty to bestow upon the people they deem worthy of it; and that smart girls guard their hearts, not  “get lost” along the way.

Ok, Ok, I’m picking on the poetry. Mincing words. Fine. But I’m only just beginning. Neo, do you want the blue pill or the red pill? Are you sure you want to go down this rabbit hole?

2. Love Justice?

When I saw this… something nagged at me.

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In and of itself, it is a great, great message. We should not only love justice, but pursue it and fight for those who can not fight for themselves. However. We do not live in a vacuum. And before the chicken, there was the egg…

It was as if I had seen this exact same thing somewhere before…  Oh yeah, HERE:

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Love. Pink.

Where’s the harm? Don’t see the inference? So what’s the big deal? What’s wrong with mimicking Victoria’s Secret PINK?

Besides being the shop that I have to distract my daughters (and especially my son) from, while walking past the rated-R storefront in the mall; this is the same company who denies claims that their line called “Bright Young Things” was NOT targeted to tweens. Oh, thank goodness because this is the message they are sending to those other bright young, ahem, things *that are in no way, and definitely NOT tweens. THINGS? REALLY???  VS went on record saying that these were not in any way targeted at Tweens, but to (and I quote) “College Aged Young Adults.”

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True Story: I was once in a dressing room at this store that is meant for “College Aged Young Adults”, and overheard young girls who couldn’t have been old enough to be out past 10pm, much less talking about what they were doing past 10pm. They were joking about how one of them had to take a Morning After pill that morning, because she didn’t even get that guy’s name. My heart just cried silently from behind the little curtain. And I silently walked out of that store, and haven’t returned since.

Our daughters are not “things”.

What are we teaching these girls? Granted, my hubby thinks its Christmas all over again when he discovers I’m wearing stuff like this, but there are plenty of places that are not targeting young girls that I can give my money to, and they are just as sexy! I think you get the point. PS: Just a little fun fact: if you dig deeply enough, you’ll find that Justice and Victoria Secret are all rooted in the same company, btw.  Interesting.

3. I Tawt I Taw A Putty Tat…

When I saw these cozy PJs, I began feeling verrrrryyy sleeeppppyyy… (tick-tock, goes the pendulum).

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Why would that be?

Remember this ridiculousness? Sweet Miley performing her latest song with the hypnotic GIANT cosmic Putty Tat (sexual innuendo I’m sure, intended) floating around in a galaxy and in a giant spiderweb? She was also wearing kitty heads on her outfit. Now, you can’t go into any store that sells girls clothing that you won’t find these same cats in some shape or form. Yes, even in children’s sleepwear. “But, it’s just a sweet wittle kitty…” Meow.

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Still not convinced? M’kay.


Besides reminding me of a cheesy 90’s movie starring Michael Keaton, or Fulsom Prison,  these bad boys came screaming onto the scene last fall:

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Right around the same time THIS happened:

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The twerk heard ’round the world! I immediately connected these dots er, lines. Feeling a little dizzy? Seeing double yet? Just wait.

5. (Not So) Blurred Lines

If visual allegory is too much of a stretch for you, this one literally spells it out. This is the shirt that actually made me go all “Mama Bear!” not just for my daughters, but all the daughters whose moms don’t care enough to censor their wardrobe:

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Did your jaw hit the floor? Mine did as I was strolling down the aisle in my friendly neighborhood Target. If not, I hope it’s because you’ve never heard the song this shirt is referring to. Keep reading. I snapped this photo right before I marched up to the manager to file a formal complaint. Yep, I most certainly am one of those moms.  Remember what I said about being willing to fight for justice for those who cannot fight for themselves?

Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics from this popular song sung by the dashing gentleman pictured above in #4- (I’ll bet his parents are so proud):

Blurred Lines

“And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me”

Again, what you listen to is your business. But, this to me, is one of the most demeaning, devaluing, degrading, and belittling song to women I have ever heard. It goes on to talk about how this girl is with someone else, and he wants to enlighten her and wake her up to her inner sex animal. If you want to know the rest of the explicit lyrics to this little ditty, google it because I won’t repeat them here. I hope to God my  precious, brave, wild, free, and fierce girls NEVER hear themselves spoken about in this manner, and if they are they will be well equipped on how to handle that! As a matter of fact, if a 30-something year old man were saying things like this to the 5 – 7 year old girl that Rainbow Dash here, targets (one that would be the size to wear this shirt) he’d be put on the sex predator list!

I must be some prude. I am blowing this waaaay out of proportion, it’s just a song, right?  Keep in mind, no matter what you feel about this catchy song or the lyrics, this shirt was hanging in the Little Girls section, pictured with and licensed by My Little Pony, which is only one of the biggest selling toys/lines directed at girls ages 5 – 12, give or take a year.

When I brought the shirt up to the manager, she was appalled. She told me that the shirts had been recalled and she didn’t know why this one was still on the racks. She thanked me for taking the time to fill out a card. I was really relieved to find out that I wasn’t the only mom who saw this for what it was.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying the fun parts of Pop Culture and even being trendy once in a while. But we must remain aware,  be willing to draw our own lines and guard them, lest they become blurred. And if they’re blurred for us, our daughters don’t stand a chance. A quote that guides me to this day is: “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.” Sometimes our intolerance is the only thing protecting the next generation’s innocence. In my short life, I have already lived long enough to see this be true. If we don’t protect it, who will?

Have you seen any inappropriate fashion for little girls lately?

Am I being over-protective? What’s the big deal?

What do you think?

Photo Credit: myself, H&M, Justice for Girls, Pink by VS, Reuters, and Public Domain.


7 Responses to Little Girls, Big World. The Not-So-Subtle Sexualization of our Little Girls Through Pop-Culture Fashion.

  1. MarkandErika Matuszek April 8, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    Right on, Sister. Thanks for putting this out there!

  2. pab1960 April 8, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    Go Mama Bear Go!

  3. Kendra April 8, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    I love this. I am constantly cringing at the clothes marketed to little girls… even at the toddler age, but I am downright shocked seeing #5. Unacceptable.

  4. Vanessa Moline April 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    My LITTLE girl turned 6 a couple of weeks ago. About a year ago I started counting down the remaining days that I would be able to continue shopping in the LITTLE GIRL’S section at Target. Why? Because I noticed something absolutely infuriating. The sweet, innocent ruffles and lace of the infant to 5T section ends abruptly at 6T. My options for my daughter’s new size at Target are to dress her like a teenager. Period. A Disney style, “force-ripened” teenager.

  5. Stephanie March 29, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    Right on. Even the style of clothing after 5t at basic everyday stores like Old Navy as well as Target are gross and too grown up just like other commenters have said. It’s a shame that you have to fork over $$ at places like Boden and Hanna Andersson just to get some age appropriate cute clothing for kids.

  6. Geekish Gal March 29, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    Very refreshing to know there are others out there who share the same beliefs and are raising little girls who will grow into women that will change the world. Great article!


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