Lianne George is a reporter and a senior editor of Macleans, Canada’s magazine specializing in current affairs. Her article “Why Are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” raises a question of modern tendencies in fashion for little girls and adult women that started to worry certain circles of society because of their overt sexuality. The main point of the author is that in the modern society too much attention is paid to nymphet’s cult inspired by porno movies and Japanese cartoons. The main audience for this article includes parents of little girls and teenagers, all women, feminists, members of religious societies, and specialists in fashion. The rhetorical strategy of the author includes detailed examples from the pop culture, description of the goods provided for kids in retail and online shops, and historical analysis of modern tendencies in fashion. She also explains negative impacts of the cult of a body on the development of children’s outlook. George’s strategy is successful and gives her audience an opportunity to muse over the modern tendencies in fashion and perspectives for the future generation.
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The author states that young, immature girls tend to wear clothes that emphasize their sexuality and even six-year-old kids are extensively occupied with their appearance and image nowadays. At the same time, adult women try to look like teenager girls following Lolita style. George claims that “eroticization of girlhood – once the stuff of Russian literature, Atom Egoyan films, Japanese comic books and good old-fashioned American porno – has been seeping ever more into the larger culture” (2007, p. 280). She also argues the value of these new trends in culture, which are mainly caused by the marketing strategies oriented to big sales among the targeted groups of buyers.
George notes that the edge between the goods for adult women and young girls is rather fuzzy, which makes the attributes of girls’ childhood such as pink color, puppies, princesses, and angels a part of the adult world with the obscene meaning. Thus, kilts as a part of the Catholic school uniform obtained a new understanding because of their widespread utilization in pop clips and porno films. The problem stated in the text is believed to have existed for almost two decades. Still, some people might think that it is somewhat forced. It brings the reader to the conclusion that if someone sees overt sexuality in young girls’ clothes it might be because of some mental problems of the given person not the problem with fashion and style.
The examples from the pop culture provided by the author include the public image of Britney Spears who owes her popularity to the clip where she appears as a sexy schoolgirl. The kilt and pigtails associated with Catholic schools created a distinct image remembered by millions and launched her career. It gives the readers of the article the general idea of the problem stated by George. Still, it is possible to note that Britney Spears is a representative of the popular culture, and her image just reflects the tendencies and tastes of mass consumers.
The description of the goods for children in the market confirms the author’s statement about fetishizing girlhood. She provides the example of a pylon-exercising kit placed by marketers in the children section of the online shop, claiming that it looked as it perfectly fitted there. It gives the idea about main directions of culture development. The author also states that modern marketing makes kids a target for sales strategies and develops the society of consumers. She compares the games that little girls used to play in the last century with modern games, and her readers come to the opinion that some features of an adult life stopped being just a game and are incorporated into the everyday lives of modern children. It seems to be true because children become adult much faster nowadays.
Georges also provides a detailed historical analysis explaining the origins of modern fashion. It is stated that “up until the late 18th century, children, both male and female, were outfitted like little adults” (2007, p. 281). The author compares this tendency with the Victorian age when fashion dictated strict differences between the dresses of adult women and young girls. Girls were allowed to wear long dresses and have their hair up only when they came to a mature marriage age. It proves the idea that fashion changes over time and brings a reader to the thought that modern tendencies in fashion are nothing but an effort of adults to see in their kids a little copy of themselves. It also proves that modern tendencies of having children become adults fast are not new in the history of fashion and might be dictated by life conditions.
Although the idea of the same clothes for children and adults seems to be rather normal for the 18th century, George stresses that in the 21st century it has a different expression with fashion shifting to a childlike style and bearing an element of sexuality. It gives the reader an overall understanding of the tastes of modern society that are reflected in children’s behavior as through a distorting mirror. It is noted that although little children cannot conceive the whole meaning of fashioned clothes, especially T-shirts with ambiguous phrases, it gives a chance for adults to think over its appropriateness for their kids. The author seems to be right at this point because not every clothes style is appropriate for little kids.
The author also observes the point of view of some feminists who stood against making a woman an object for sexual fantasies. Still, modern women are often praised for their bodies, and it makes them question the necessity of getting an education and developing their minds. The reader is led to the conclusion that modern children grow up in a society that praises the empty shell of public image and good appearance. It is emphasized that marketing strategies consider children to be potential consumers. Therefore, girls are mostly identified as shoppers, even if they are only two years old.
George also reminds a reader that children are mimicking the behavior of adults, and the choice of goods for kids in the market reflects the tastes of their parents and the efforts of women to look sexier, younger and feminine. She compares these efforts with the tendencies of the last century. It is a general opinion that during the feminist movement, women tried to look manlike wearing trousers and jackets. This emphasized their will to obtain equal rights with the opposite sex and have an opportunity to get higher education and a well-paid job. It seems that now women are tired of being treated like men and tend to express their attitude to reality with the help of a teenager image.
The article “Why are we Dressing our Daughters Like This?” by Lianne George raised a question of modern tendencies in fashion for little girls and adult women that started to worry certain circles of society because of their overt sexuality. The author proved her statement with the help of the appropriate research on the subject and supported her opinion with the analysis of resources relevant to the topic. The article is believed to have a positive impact on the potential audience.
George, L 2007, ‘Why are we dressing our daughters like this?’, Macleans, 1 January, pp. 36-40.