“What Is Wrong With Us?”

CNN writer LZ Granderson received quite a response when he wrote a piece titled, “Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps.” In it, he recounted seeing an eight-year-old girl at the airport who was “the sexiest girl in the terminal.” Is Granderson correct in his assertion that parents need to take more control over their daughters’ wardrobes? Or is there a bigger problem here?

short-dress"I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.

Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie "10" (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her "Xtina" phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.

You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word 'Juicy' was written on her backside."

That is how Granderson describes an eight-year-old -- a sight that bothered him enough to write an opinion piece on how parents need to step up so that their daughters stop dressing like "tramps." But who's really to blame: The parents who allow their daughters to dress in an inappropriate way or the companies that sell the inappropriate clothes? And did Granderson cross a line with his word choice?

>>More than just clothes -- Tween makeup: Sweet or slutty?

It's the parents' fault

In his opinion piece Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps, Granderson asserts that responsibility lies with the parents. "It's easy to blast companies for introducing the sexy wear, but our ire really should be directed at the parents who think low rise jeans for a second grader is cute. They are the ones who are spending the money to fuel this budding trend. They are the ones who are suppose to decide what's appropriate for their young children to wear, not executives looking to brew up controversy or turn a profit."

His point is valid -- if parents didn't purchase these clothes for their young daughters, their daughters wouldn't wear them. As he says, who is taking the eight-year-old to the mall and whose money is she spending?

Don't forget to place blame with the companies

On her blog Pigtail Pals, Melissa Wardy agrees that parents need to step up, but insists that companies must take responsibility for manufacturing sexy clothes and marketing them to kids. She agrees that kids may spend parents' money, but they also spend their own money, shop on their own with their friends and are bombarded with inappropriate choices.

"It is unfair to put the onus entirely on parents because the marketing of this crap is relentless. Relentless… I absolutely think parents need to turn this ship around, send strong messages to marketers and corporations, and teach our daughters how to dress themselves with respect," says Wardy in her blog post Did You Just Call My Daughter a Prostitute?

However, she also insists, "[W]e need to do this with grace towards other families. Not all parents are aware of this issue yet, or some are but have no idea what to do about it."

>>Check out Stylish or sleazy: An honest look at your teen daughter's style

And by the way, don't call my daughter a prostitute

Wardy takes huge issue with Granderson's word choice, insisting he and all men have no right to call girls prostitutes, tramps or any names that compare a young girls to sex workers. She references the term "slut shaming" -- meaning, in short, attacking a girl or woman for her sexuality. "[N]o piece of clothing turns a girl into a tramp," insists Wardy.

>>One parent asks, "Where are the modest bathing suits for girls?" after Abercrombie & Fitch releases a padded triangle bathing suit top for girls.

So, what's the bottom line?

Most people -- especially parents -- can agree that some young girls are wearing clothing that is far too old for them. Eight-year-old girls should not be dressed in a sexually suggestive manner. It's inappropriate, disturbing and has long-term consequences for their self-esteem and how they view themselves. Wardy sums that part up nicely: "We need, as a culture, a fundamental shift in how we view our children, and how we value childhood."

>>Where do you stand on the issue? Was Granderson's call to parents to stop dressing their daughters like tramps a good message -- a point that needed to be made, even if with strong words? Or did he cross a line? Share you opinion in the comments section below.

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Comments on "Are parents dressing their daughters like tramps?"

Lissa March 01, 2014 | 7:01 PM

Your all a bunch of conservative losers jealous of hot provocative looking/dressing women who have everything that you don't. Men don't want your type and ultimately end up cheating on you because your BORING as a woman! Proud my daughter is a ty dresser and becoming a real woman desired by men instead of cheated on to be with the ty woman,lol… Call me what you want…I laugh at you all!

sarina singh September 08, 2012 | 9:19 PM

Great article! However, corporations do have to share in the blame, they are consciously marketing their clothes to little girls and this speaks to an ethical issue for me. Consumers need to wake up and send strong messages to this companies , esp Abercrombie.

Christopher August 13, 2012 | 11:08 AM

I think someone needs to step it up before the number of rapes increase. The last thing I want to see is some teenage girl's ass because her shorts are way too small while I'm at the store. I think they get referred to as "Tramps" because they leave nothing to the imagination. Parent's need to teach their daughter's that. The iest woman will show you the least and you will appreciate it far more when she shares it all with you.

anonymous August 17, 2011 | 11:33 PM

I am a parent that has a child at a Utah preschool. Bentley Williams (from the Bachelorette) sends his little three year old Cozy there. I was absolutely shocked at how she was dressed. She looked like a little hooker with her tube top dress and thigh high stockings. I have never seen a child so young dressed so inappropriately. It really is sad. Do parents realize what they are doing to these sweet little things? Not to mention the risk you put them at for pedophiles to try and get them. It's appalling. I hope they (the parents) will stop this.

Sara April 27, 2011 | 10:15 PM

I don't think the article was over the top at all- Granderson's title wasn't "you're daughter is a tramp" it's "don't dress your daughter LIKE a tramp". He didn't call the little girl anything offensive.

Teressa April 25, 2011 | 5:33 PM

I had enough of this years ago when my now 27 year old daughter was in high school and shows me an abercrombie & fitch catalog that was straight up porn. I immediately quit making any purchase there for anyone. I made my point with my family and there friends. You have to start somewhere!

terry Webb April 25, 2011 | 4:56 PM

In my opinion Stacy is right on the mark with this and one of the differences the general population can control is in its consumer choices and "boycotting" of goods. Unfortunately, there are mothers who dress themselves like this and become a hopeless example for their daughters. Having said that, some daughters raised by these mothers, make alternate style decisions on their own (although not enough in my opinion). Life will be full of choices for our daughters and teaching them to respect themselves as women first and foremost is the ultimate goal, reflected by how one dresses (or lack of thus earning the "tramp" label. Right or wrong, we do live and exist in a society where you are judged by your appearance. "A rose is a rose is a rose"; a statement of identity. I would apologize, but I don't make the "rules", generalizations or judgments. My observations in response to a thought provoking post. Thank you Laura.

Stacy April 25, 2011 | 2:48 PM

I thought Granderson's article was totally on the mark - I don't think he went over the line at all. As a parent of a young daughter, I think a lot about the decisions I need to make as she grows up and I think clothing choices are important. Sure, the companies need to stop making some of these things - but if parents DON'T BUY THEM, they won't keep making them. Manufacturers, teachers, coaches, television, etc. aren't responsible for how my daughter is raised, I am. Yes it'll get more difficult as she becomes a teen, but I need to work on laying that foundation early so she can make safe, confident decisions when she gets to that age.

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