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« Blog-a-Book: Jeeves in the Offing II or Maybe III | Main | Playing games with common sense »

August 31, 2007

That’s why they call it UNDER-wear....

Mark Earley is correct to say, as he did in yesterday's BreakPoint commentary, that many teens long to see stores offer more modest clothing. As Wendy Shalit notes in her book Girls Gone Mild, even clothing for pre-teens and toddlers is out of control. Visit the mall these days, and you will find--for pre-teens, mind you--French maid costumes, including garter belts. A Halloween costume company features "Child Pimp and Ho Costumes." You'll find shirts for toddlers with slogans like "Shopping Ho" and "lust" emblazoned across the chest.   

Unbelievably, when schools try to instill some sartorial discipline, it's the parents who give them grief. Shalit describes how a school in Arlington, Texas decided to institute a "cleavage crackdown"--and met resistance, not from students, but from a parent:

One student, Tyler Edwards, nodding with enthusiasm, said, "I think it's good that they're doing it"---the pressure to wear plunging necklines was getting out of hand. But a parent, Tom Pederson, found it necessary to vent his concern about the new dress code to a local reporter: "It puts a little bit of a policeman approach to the educators, and they really need to focus more on teaching."

Shalit also describes Chicago parents who were incensed when a teacher told their eighth-grade daughter to go home and change into something more in keeping with the school's dress code. The girl was, according to the teacher, either wearing a see-through shirt with no underwear beneath, or was wearing underwear and nothing else--both popular trends at that school that year. According to the teacher,

Her parents called up and there was a big powwow with the principal about his attitude and how--you know--Did he have bad thoughts? Was he lewd? And stuff like that. It was the principal's and the teacher's problem, according to the parent. That was the first time that we took seriously that there were parents that really didn't share our values.

I really don't know what to say about all this, except the obvious: Some clothing manufacturers are evil, and some parents are idiots.   

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Market saturation occurred, so they changed the fashions enough that women "just have" to get all new wardrobes. This new pregnancy-smock style will last a few years, and then mid-riffs or cleavage will be back in again. It has been that way all my life. It is not driven by a desire for not showing off wealth (modesty) nor of a desire to not be more attractive to the opposite sex than the next woman. It is driven by the profit motive.


"But younger women say they find modest clothing not repressive, but liberating. They are realizing that modest clothing forces people to focus, not on their bodies, but on their brains and personalities. " (From Breakpoint)

In my middle age, I am wondering why this is a surprise! What mothers and fathers want young, undisciplined teen boys leering at their daughters! I am glad for a modesty revival for the sake of my teen age boys...


My father regards t-shirts as underwear.

Who chooses what culture is supposed to mean?


labrialumn, I don't understand: "My father regards T-shirts as underwear."

Is it a matter of T-shirts exposing the forearms?

I guess I don't have much to add to this article, except that its infuriating. Children are children because they have innocence; when they're forced out of that innocence, they're forced to become adults when they aren't actually ready to. =/ I kind of want to slap the parents who don't think to protect their kids' innocence. Grrr.


The Boy Scouts of America kicked out a good friend of mine when he was 14 because he was gay. Who is protecting his innocence?

I HATE to bring this back LGBT issues but the concept of "innonence" has been on my mind a lot lately (and in a fair amount of blogs).

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