Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lolita Effect at Ello's - Bloggy Announcement!!!!

My beautiful bloggy friend, Ello is hosting a blog event that’s a must participate post for any and all parents of daughters... actually, it should be of interest to any parent (as boys will likely be effected by this at some point) and I think really this is just a human issue, everyone’s created the problem, so everyone should take a good look at it.

On Wednesday, May 28, 2008, Ello will be posting a review of the book The Lolita Effect by M. Gigi Durham, PH.D seen below:

Not only a review though, dear friends, Dr. Durham will be there to answer questions and discuss issues that concern us. I haven’t read the book yet, though I think after this it will be on the top of my TBR list – you don’t have to have read it yet to participate...

For me, this has been an issue since my daughter was in 2nd grade, and it’s getting worse as she gets older. My daughter is tall for her age, always has been. So by the age of eight, she was in size ten clothes because that’s how tall she was... well, those of you without daughters this age may not be aware, but size ten seems to be where clothing manufacturers decide to hoochiefy the selection.

All of the sudden, I couldn’t find a pair of pants that actually covered her little baby bum. Seriously, why does a kid who doesn’t have hips yet, need hip hugger jeans. That’s not all my friends, no that’s not all. I actually had to start buying little diva low riser underwear. I hate this, I really do. But when I buy her the cute flowery bloomers a kid that age should be wearing, you can see three inches of them above her pants anytime she bends over. I’ve combated this in a myriad of ways, the latest of which is buying those babydoll tops that come down past her butt – it still doesn’t solve the jeans problem, but at least she doesn’t look like a mini exhibitionist.

When my daughter made her Communion, we went together to buy her new shoes and a dress and the veil... this is special mother daughter time and I really thought, being that the selection should be primary to kids who are only eight, that the whole avoid the risqué clothes thing wouldn’t be an issue... it still was. Little one also has big feet for a kid her age. I pictured cute, white little mary jane shoes with lacy bobby socks... umn, they actually had white stilletto’s with CLEAR heels in the same section... and yes, in her size, a 3 at the time... Come on!!! Seriously, are there parents out there buying these... are there daughters strippers in training? What’s the deal?

The upshot is, my daughter doesn’t, in fourth grade, dress like the cool kids. I’ll bring her to the shops she likes for special occasions, but I refuse to spend fifty dollars on a pair of boots she’ll grow out of in six months, which are not right for the elements anyway. I refuse to get her any article of clothing that doesn’t cover her midsection, except for a bathing suit... I’m not such a prude that I mind my daughter wearing a two piece so long as it’s age appropriate (and there are some)

She doesn’t complain about it too much, but she does see the difference. I only wish it could’ve waited, the whole, ‘I need the cool clothes to fit in’ thing, until she was at least a bit older than 8.

There are other issues besides clothing that will be discussed at Ello’s. Self esteem and the way a girl starts to see herself at a young age will be paramount, I’m sure. I hope you’ll all be there to check it out and add your thoughts.


Mom In Scrubs said...

Too bad I'm doing a dinner that night. It's Lulu's birthday too!

I can't echo your sentiments enough. I've blogged about young kids and early exposure to sexuality before, and my kids are only (almost)4 and (almost)7. It's disturbing and a hard trend to circumvent when you shop at chain stores and watch TV (even parentally supervised, ack!)

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Mom in scrubs,

It's too bad you won't be able to make the discussion during real time, but it'll stay up at Ello's if you want to go read through the discussion and comment later. I'm sure it'll be really lively.

SUV MAMA said...

I am going to try. I really am. I'm on my own with the babes this week, but I'm going to make an effort! I'm going to see if I can purchase the book today, just to get through a few chapters.

This topic VERY MUCH interests me.

I refuse to buy Katherine 2 piece suits with triangle shapes that cover her little chest. WHAT IN THE WORLD are those swim suits about???

I never thought of myself as prudish, but I find myself strictly censoring her clothing. I'm really interested to hear what the thoughts are on this and what other Mom's are experiencing.

Do the clothes make the girl?

Ello said...

Hey Merry! Thank you so much for spreading the word and in this excellent post! My daughter is in the same position as yours! She is 9 but wearing 12s! Some 10s are ok, but overall, she is wearing 12s. The 12s at least help in that her shirts aren't as crazy tight as the manufacturers seem to think kids should be wearing their shirts and I refuse to buy low riding jeans. Luckily for me, I can find jeans that cover her butt at Target of all places! And gymboree still has good jeans but hideously expensive. I never buy full price there. But I'm gonna be sorry when she completely grows out of gymboree sizes becuase what I see at the department stores are really upsetting. So I'm so glad you are stopping by! See you tomorrow! Dr. Durham will be checking in on questions from the morning all the way into the afternoon!

Anonymous said...

Same thing with those horrible Bratz doll. Seriously, I don't know what people are thinking when they give a Bratz doll to a little girl.

Our culture is apparently going NUTZ.

(This is the second writer blog I have seen discussing this issue. Could someone please tell me how an erotica writer with an underage protagonist involved in a dark fantasy can say she isn't promoting exploitation of children!?)

Merry Monteleone said...


I'm so glad you'll try to make it, and like I said to mom in scrubs, if you can't make it in real time you can always stop in later... I have a hunch this discussion will last longer than a day.

And I'm with you on the bathing suits - this year I did buckle and let my daughter pick one that has the triangle top (usually if it's two piece, it has to be a tank top) - it was this cute yellow one with a skirt - the skirt is the reason she really wanted it, of all things... the rule is she has to wear the sensible one piece to the public pool and the yellow one can be for our own backyard in the sprinkler.

Hi Ello,

You know, our target only seems to have the low ones, though I've found better ones at sears and old navy.

My daughter's 10 now, and she's going to need a bra this summer or at least by fall. She's tall and slim, with very long legs... her hips are almost even with mine, though I have short legs, but still... So this all is getting very scary for me, as I know her body's getting ready to change in a way her emotions won't realize... ack...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for stopping in. You've probably heard this one on the writer's blog because Ello's a writer and our little writer network likes to get the word out to interesting things like this.

By the way, I could do a whole post on the evil's of Bratz dolls - what moron thought there was a need for children's toys with blow job lips? really?

As far as the erotica writer - I don't know which one you're discussing, so I can't comment for certain. Though I will say this, Lolita by Nabokov (though the story completely turned my stomach and I've mentioned multiple times that I had to toss the blasted thing across the room a dozen times a sitting and never would've read it if it wasn't assigned to my group) did not promote exploitation...

First of all, in that instance, it definitely was not written for children. Second, an astute reader would, while finding the treatment extremely distasteful maybe, understand that there is an art in capturing the character's vantage point. I don't have to like it, but it's still not exploitative.

Erotica is definitely not written for a YA set, but I can see a writer using a teenage character in a realistic depiction being less than virginal. There are YA books, written obviously for teens, that deal with sex... though I haven't seen any graphic enough to be considered erotica..

I'm diverging a little here, but I'd have to see the case in order to agree or disagree. On a whole, the inclusion of say an underage protagonist who is sexually active does not make it exploitative. If it's an eight year old who's written to enjoy sexuality, then I've got a problem with it. If it's a sixteen or seventeen year old... well, depending on the storyline, it's likely more lifelike than exploitation.

Anonymous said...

MaM said:

"Erotica is definitely not written for a YA set, but I can see a writer using a teenage character in a realistic depiction being less than virginal."

Really, I'm more concerned with potential perps who read erotica concerning underage children than I am about underage children themselves reading the crap.

Do you suppose kids reading erotica about kids will get the idea to go out and entice someone? Or isn't it more likely that some adult who already has the urge will find the erotica only reinforces it?

People are out there marketing this stuff and selling it. People are out there buying and enjoying it.

And children are being put at risk.

But, nobody wants to accept their part of the blame. The perp gets away with proclaiming his or her own victimhood (bad childhood, genetic tendencies, yadda yadda), the erotica writers are claiming the right of free speech (a conscience? what's that? it's art, I tell you!), and the doll manufacturers are all about supply and demand (capitalism rules)...but wait, who's demanding this stuff? Parents? Kids?

What's the root of the problem?

silken said...

Merry, I am very interested in this! thanks so much for letting me know! I am not sure I can take part in the discussion, but will follow along as I can.

this is a topic of real interest to me and others I know.

we have been in the same situation as you w/ our daughter. not quite as early. I think our daughters have to wear sizes so much larger because the clothes are made so much smaller. my 12 yr old wears a 16 shirt and 14 pants. the 12 dresses are pretty much ok. as for finding bathing suits....that is really tough (I am a prude all the way around!) I appreciate your rule for your daughter and her new suit. I think that sounds like a great compromise.

I will get the book and I think it will be something my husband can use in his ministry as well. thanks!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Anon,

As I said earlier, I don't know which writer or work you're talking about specifically, and I'm not about to pass judgment on another author's work without having read it - then I can judge all I like. If you're talking about banning, you've got no sale here. Sorry. I dislike the idea that someone can exert their moral superiority and control what other people read or see. You're perfectly at liberty to control what your children are exposed to - in fact, I think that's every parents' job. But not other adults.

"But, nobody wants to accept their part of the blame. The perp gets away with proclaiming his or her own victimhood (bad childhood, genetic tendencies, yadda yadda), the erotica writers are claiming the right of free speech (a conscience? what's that? it's art, I tell you!), and the doll manufacturers are all about supply and demand (capitalism rules)...but wait, who's demanding this stuff? Parents? Kids?"

First, I think lumping doll makers and erotica writers in with pedophiles and sexual predators is a little out of line.

In my estimation, the punishments are too light on sexual predators - that is our legal system and I'm not sure how to change that, but it's the people, in essence, who set these laws. We should be demanding change and voting against people who don't get the job done. I think any crime against a child should have a harsher penalty than murder. There are police experts that balk at this, though, believing that more pedophiles will kill their victims if the punishments were that strict - and they might be right.

That's a whole different topic though, I don't think there's any room to excuse sexual crimes or any sort of crime against a child. I'm sorry. I don't care what the perp went through in their childhood, nothing could ever excuse it.

As far as bratz dolls - I said earlier, I hate them... Why do they make them? They're outselling Barbie. Who's to blame? The consumer. Period. We can't blame the manufacturer here. They might've had the idea, but millions of moms lined up and bought the stupid things. It's supply and demand. If people stopped supporting these things, if sales suddenly hit the floor on Bratz dolls and every parent wanted The Scientist Doll, you can bet that manufacturer would cut way back or maybe stop making the Bratz and go with the one that's selling. We, the consumers, are to blame.

Who's demanding the stuff, well, from my experience, the kids do. They see their friends with them or see a bunch of commercials on TV, and then they want them too... Guess what, you can always say no. My daughter received Bratz dolls at two different birthdays from well meaning relatives and friends with really bad taste... I took them back to the store.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Silken,

I haven't read it yet either, but it's definitely on my tbr list now.

Hopefully you can make it over to the discussion, but that's the fun of blogs, you can always read it later, too.

Colleen_Katana said...


I did not learn about fashion and expensive clothes until 7th grade when I learned what an incredible NERD I was. Seriously, I was. It's rather embarrassing.

And as for sex and dressing to attract men, etc...well, hell, I'm still trying to figure all that out.

Colleen_Katana said...

Oh, an after thought question, because I'm curious...

At what age do you think low-rise jeans are acceptable for kids? 8 and 9 is really young...but at some point, they'll probably choose them for themselves, right? At what age is that appropriate?

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Colleen,

At what age? Hmmm... I was kind of hoping they'd be outta fashion by the time I had to worry about it... lol...

I think I'll start letting my daughter exert a little more independence in that direction when she's say sixteen or so... though I have to say, I'll still put my foot down when it comes to trampy, and I can if I'm the one paying.

My mom didn't even have a discussion with me about make up or clothing or any of it... so I made some tragic teenage misteps as far as fashion goes... I'm planning on taking my daughter for a nice day out when she's old enough, to learn about skin care and how to apply make up correctly and all of that.

Colleen_Katana said...

True...and there are "low-rise jeans" which fit nicely and don't show underwear or anything and then there are the SUPER TRASHY low-rise jeans which I wouldn't even wear on Halloween when costumed as a prostitute. But I think once she gets to that age where she wants the trendier things, there will be compromising...most girls know that the REALLY low jeans are not classy at all. I hope. In any case, the long waisted pants ARE coming back in style. They're all over Bebe and Diesel.

Demon Hunter said...

I've already commented at Ello's. I'm still reeling from your experience with your daughter. Clear heels?? WTF? That's scary. Obviously, pedophiles work in ALL industries...

Mary Witzl said...

I had this problem with my eldest too, Merry: she was the tallest kid in her class for several years and I struggled to find appropriate clothes for her. She would look so wistfully at the cute little Hello Kitty shoes, which did not fit her; her feet, too, were bigger than everyone else's. I also noticed that the clothes went from 'kid' to 'ooh la la' all too quickly.

Our girls grew up without Barbies -- we just said no. We told them that if they wanted to save up their own money to buy a Barbie, fine, but we would have no part in it. At some point, this really clicked: they both think Barbies are stupid now, and the eldest tells the girls she babysits for all about Barbie's silly figure problems. I can't get over mothers buying their girls Bratz dolls and provocative clothing; it makes me sad. I know at least two mothers who live vicariously through their daughters, clearly delighting in the male attention they receive. I feel so bad for their daughters!

Mary Witzl said...

Merry -- I just wrote the longest comment (as usual) and Blogger ate it right up.

My daughter had the same problem. She was taller than all of the kids in her class and I could NEVER find appropriate clothes for her. She used to look so wistfully at the cute Hello Kitty shoes and little-kid shorts her friends' mothers bought them -- all out of her reach. And Japan has this problem of turning girls into sexual objects as badly as America does -- worse, in some respects. Prostitution in Japan is known as 'selling spring' -- basically selling youth.

Our kids didn't have Barbies. We said no, and they learned to live with it somehow. We always told them that if they wanted to buy Barbies, fine, but we would not waste our money on them. Now they think that Barbies are silly and I've even heard the eldest tell the girls she babysits for that Barbies have silly, unnatural figures. I love this. We've had a few battles over make-up and clothes, but our girls are generally sensible and look for clothes that are fun, but practical.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Colleen,

You know, there can be a fine line there. I've seen some teens around here wearing low jeans, but with less revealing tops and the jeans aren't so low as to see their underwear... it can be cute and not over the top, tacky.

Honestly, some of the moms who wear low rise jeans would do better not to - jmo. But it's hard to find a middle ground there, clothes seem to go from young and sassy to grandma - and no one in their thirties wants to dress like a grandma.

Hi Demon Hunter,

The clear heels cheesed me off, too. I'm guessing they were made for adults to be honest, I live in an area with a lot of Italians and Hispanics (and a lot of them are petite with tiny feet). Still, they shouldn't have been stocked by the kids shoes.

Hi Mary,

Your first comment didn't get eaten, I've enabled the moderation feature because I was getting an awful lot of spam comments and couldn't figure out how to delete them, so I enabled moderation and just haven't been accepting them.

I feel for your daughter with the hello kitty shoes, I know mine didn't understand why her girlfriends could all wear some things that they just didn't make in her size anymore.

I've seen parents live vicariously through their kids, especially with sports. So far the football dads seem to be the worst, though I've seen it in baseball too... I'm hoping I don't run across moms living through their daughters in the romantic department... I think that might just turn my stomach.. and I don't see how that behavior won't have long lasting emotional impacts on their kids.

It seems like at some point you should outgrow the mindset that looks and youth are the most important thing - but for some people that mind set only increases the farther away from youth they get.

ChrisEldin said...

It was an awesome discussion.

The girls clothing choics sound appalling. What do you do? I mean, if you even take the dramatic step of having them tailor made somewhere, will she be ridiculed by her friends? My heart goes out to you because it is NOT easy being a parent.