When I was a sophomore at Virginia Tech, I saw a documentary called “Jesus Camp” about preteens who were oppressed by the extreme religious convictions of their parents. For example, a young girl had not been allowed to dance, even by herself, because it would “promote sexual urges.” In the documentary, children who were preteens and younger were relentlessly harangued about “sinning” with rules that even the Pope would have trouble obeying. I had hoped that I would never hear anything close to that kind of repression again, but the article “Retail stores shouldn’t capitalize on sexualization of young girls” raised some concern.
(Brooke) Leonard blames Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister for promoting sex to preteen girls. In terms of the market for teen and preteen clothes, those stores are the most risqué mall offerings. In other words, using A & F and Hollister as the moral standard for preteen clothing is akin to using Hooters as the moral standard for sports bars.
It’s not so much that these stores are promoting sex; they are giving younger siblings what their older siblings wear. As Leonard mentions that she is an older sister, it’s fair to assume that her younger sister wanted to wear the clothes and read the magazines that she does. While my younger brother didn’t choose to shop in Hollister’s junior department or read Cosmo, he joined boy scouts and received the president’s gold volunteer service award three years in a row by emulating me.
TriCities.com reported about an incident in Bristol, Va., when a waitress had been handed a pamphlet saying that her clothes “make men want to be sinful,” along with suggesting that rape victims wouldn’t have been raped had they dressed more conservatively.
Until Baby Gap and OshKosh sell clothes for juniors, is it fair to tell preteen girls that they can’t wear what their older sisters are wearing because it makes men want to be sinful? By selling clothes that older siblings wear and younger siblings want to wear, are clothing stores promoting sex?