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“Why are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” by Lianne George Essay

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Updated: Jun 25th, 2020

Summary

The article “Why are we dressing our Daughters Like this?” discusses fashion changes that seem to exaggerate the sexuality of the girl child. The author, Lianne George, analyzes the adjustments in marketing strategies as designers seek to expand their market for female clothing and beauty products. The article analyzes the perception of the girl child in the past centuries and compares the current obsession with the sexuality of the girl child to past eras. George examines the impacts of the changes in societal norms and marketing trends, which help to propagate the notion that girls as young as eight years should identify with the sexualized feminine gender.

The author considers the feminist movement to have played a key role in influencing the acceptance of the sexual overtones in almost all matters relating to women. The lack of a subtle approach in the pursuit of social, economic and political empowerment of women has exposed young girls to the notion that a woman, despite her age, gains recognition through her sexualized character. George emphasizes the need for the society to exercise caution and sobriety in the upbringing of the girl child because the current obsession with feminism is creating a generation of women whose perception of the self depends on their sex appeal. The essay will provide a critique of the article “Why are we dressing our Daughters Like this?” by Lianne George.

Strengths

The article uses evidence from clothing historians to demonstrate the influence of the societal norms on the dressing of young girls. For example, in the 17th century, male and female children wore outfits similar to their elders and representing their social class. The author presents an analysis of a Louis XV painting to demonstrate that sexual overtones in the dressing of children persisted amongst royal families. The paintings show the image of a girl, 6 years old, wearing a low-cut dress. In the second half of the 18th century, the perception of children as innocent individuals emerged and became the norm in the society (George 280).

The design for girls’ clothes in the Victorian age emphasized that young girls did not have any sexuality. The author compares the current trend of dressing in young girls to the 17 century when there was no distinction between girls and women. The society considered a girl of 8 years as a woman. The article uses sales data to demonstrate the effects of marketing on the acceptance of sexual overtones in products meant for young girls.

For example, the sales for cartoonish dolls such as Cabbage Patch Kids declined with the introduction of the Bratz dolls in 2001. The dolls, which sexualize women through big breasts, long legs, big eyes and lips, allowed MGA Entertainment to generate about $2 billion annually in profits and outsell popular conservative dolls (George 286). The author incorporates interviews with psychiatric experts such as Susan Lin, who expresses hers concerns regarding the mistaken perception that children do not comprehend sexualized slogans.

Weaknesses and Recommendations

The author does not include any comprehensive case study to demonstrate the link between marketing and the sociological and psychological factors that have influenced the acceptance of the tendency to sexualize the clothing for young girls. A case study, relying on a significant sample size, is crucial to the demonstration of the trends in the perception of the girl child in today’s society due to changes in the marketing and advertisement industry. Although George uses evidence from clothing historians such as Anne Hollander to illustrate the effects of the changes in societal norms and the dressing of the girl child in the 17th and 18th centuries, he does not present any studies, surveys or interviews to demonstrate the influence of societal pressures on the acceptance of sexualized clothing for young girls.

While feminism has had considerable impacts on the values and believes adopted by the society regarding the girl child, providing a chronology of the impacts of the feminist movement in various eras would provide a succinct view of the link between feminism and sexual overtones in matters relating to women. Separatist feminism encourages the need for strategies and policies that separate women from men and focus exclusively on matters of women and girls. Separatist feminism has influenced the radical approach in creating a space for women in the social, economic and political arenas. Separatist feminism is responsible for the exaggerated approach in the way mothers culture their daughters to challenge the status quo in the society. The author does not provide concise examples of the social and economic effects of the sexualized dressing in young girls.

The perception that sexual appeal is the most important aspect in a woman is likely to have detrimental effects on the core goals of the feminist movement. George should have analyzed outcomes such as low self-esteem and increase in sexual abuse and gender bias. The article should have analyzed core areas of focus for religious organizations, family groups, media critics and other parties that have teamed up to reverse the current trend of producing sexualized clothes, dolls and other products for young girls. The article highlights the need to reevaluate the goals and objectives of feminism to avoid counterproductive strategies for the empowerment of the girl child.

Works Cited

George, Lianne. “Why Are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” Maclean’s. 2007: 278-286. Print.

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"“Why are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” by Lianne George." IvyPanda, 25 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/why-are-we-dressing-our-daughters-like-this-by-lianne-george/.

1. IvyPanda. "“Why are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” by Lianne George." June 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/why-are-we-dressing-our-daughters-like-this-by-lianne-george/.


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IvyPanda. "“Why are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” by Lianne George." June 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/why-are-we-dressing-our-daughters-like-this-by-lianne-george/.

References

IvyPanda. 2020. "“Why are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” by Lianne George." June 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/why-are-we-dressing-our-daughters-like-this-by-lianne-george/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) '“Why are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” by Lianne George'. 25 June.

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