Have Northfield parents gone over the edge on their daughters’ sleazewear?

Blogger Susan Lenfestey has a commentary in Sunday’s Strib titled, It’s summer, and folks are busting out all over (Barbie doll image is my selection):

pinkcoat_barbieNor did we who believe in gender equality intend this to be a license to the fashion industry to market slutwear to prepubescent girls, and bondagewear to their big sisters…

It’s not just young people. Women at the office are showing more, well — lower cleavage than the plumber under the sink. Seems to me we’re a culture obsessed with sex but clueless about eroticism…

It’s the sleazewear being marketed to girls and young women, and the women who buy into it, that makes me sorry for how far we’ve come — and how backwards we’ve gone.

I like viewing summer sleazewear on the women of Northfield as much as the next guy but I’d have to agree with Lenfestey… it’s a bit distressing to see how many young girls are dressing like the Barbies they’ve played with.


  1. Jane Moline said:

    I regret that comment–Randy, your pony tail in high school and “hippie-phobia treatement” cannot compare to the treatment of women in this society and the continuing assault on their rights and ability to be treated equally.

    All of you who think that dressing up in a manner that emphasizes your breasts and legs and puts them in the forefront (pun intended) has not spent much time in the real WORKING world.

    These girls fail to use good judgement in their attire, their parents are unable or unwilling to do anything about it, and we have the job of educating them.

    All of you who are so tolerant of everyone’s clothing choices need to take a big, adult size step back and ask yourselves “If I was hiring this person for a teller job in a bank or an office job in my office or an important executive position, what would I think if they came to the interview dressed like that?”

    Yeah, if they want a career at Hooters I guess they are dressed appropriately.

    If they came to school in a bikini or just their underwear, we might have agreement that they had gone too far. The school administration has drawn a line saying what is socially acceptable. You might disagree, but where is your limit? And does your limit really take into consideration compassion for that person or your libertarian view?

    The critisizms of my comments seemed to suggest that I am some kind of prude that is intent on forcing my views on others. My concern is that these girls are attempting to follow what they think is fashion without realizing that they are judged constantly by society –regardless of the denials in this blog, and that society thinks that women do not deserve equal pay, equal rights or equal protection. When our young women are encouraged to dress inappropriately, they fall into the stereotype arm-candy depiction of women.

    To say that it does not or should not matter what they wear ignores that it does and will matter to many, many people. To say that all of those people are not important also ignores that they do and may someday matter to these girls–so either you encourage them to dress in a sexually provacative matter or you stand by and do nothing to prevent them from being marginalized by society. I think we should be providing dress guideline for students and enforcing them in a reasonable manner.

    July 5, 2008
  2. Holly Cairns said:

    Jane said:

    Victoria Secret, Abercrombie, etc., are attempting to market to very young shoppers–and many parents have left the scene, throwing up their hands and giving their little darlings want they want. (Which is not usually good parenting.)

    Well, I am sure they said similar things when the hem was raised above the ankle.

    I am repulsed by this statement:

    “throwing up their hands and giving their little darlings want they want.”

    Ridiculous! I bet you, Jane, don’t show your ankles. But, if you do, maybe you are one that gives your darlings what they want?

    Men have been showing their chests for years. Women can wear bathing suits.

    As a former teacher, the hat rule makes the most sense to me.

    I taught in a district that banned hats (and was VERY conservative on many points, even to the point of me being asked to teach creationism, which might or might not have been a district policty then) and was really glad to see the eyes of the boys I was teaching when they said “No hats.” The eyes tell a thousand stories, and I was better able to reach those I could see.

    Anyway, this topic irks me. We are afraid of women in this society, or what?

    And, who named you all God of what is acceptible clothing? Did you start this topic, Griff? What’s your opinion of early native american clothing? You must think that all native american women were showing too much.

    July 5, 2008
  3. Too much emphasis on attire and not nearly enough on courage, conviction, bravery, ability, creativity, honor, honesty, loyalty, kindness, and any other delightful quality that makes a human someone to admire…way too much emphasis.

    Teach the children these things and the rest will take care of itself.

    July 5, 2008
  4. William Siemers said:

    Maybe school uniforms would solve the problem…at least when the kids are in school. I think uniforms make sense on a lot of levels.

    Outside of school…Getting teens and pre-teens to display an appropriate appearance can be a challenge for parents. Fashion is fun for kids…It’s been fun since they were 1 year olds and were cooed over by adults admiring their new outfits. Then they get a few years older and also want the admiration of their friends. A few more years go by and it seems like they most distinclty do NOT want adults to admire their appearance. This is a time in life that fashion probably reaches its most important level…when there is, as Bright states, …”too much emphasis on attire”. The fact that this stage almost always coincides with puberty can lead to a level of ‘sexualized’ fashion. And as been mentioned here, it’s been that way for a long time.

    But it’s the kids who have too much emphasis on attire. Parents are just trying to moderate their behavior. That’s what parents do.

    July 6, 2008
  5. David Henson said:

    This is a sleazy blog issue. I don’t think “sleaze” when I look at that barbie. The idea that Griff or Jane or Anne get to define appropriate clothing (Griff no offense but given the option most would choose 100 out of 100 times to look at the barbie over you). I am really not sure from where this angst derives (perhaps personal sexual frustration) – but if you are cloaking harsh judgment of teens in Christian morals then perhaps look more to ideals of charity, love and understanding. Adults referring to teens as sleazy is “just plain sleazy.”

    July 6, 2008
  6. john george said:

    I still think this whole thing is a two way street. I taught my daughters that we men, including their brother, are naturally aroused by a lot of exposure of female flesh. So the wise thing to do is keep that exposure to a minimum. This knowledge helped them in their decisions about how to dress. This isn’t sleaze. It is just common observation. I refer to it as not defrauding another individual. It might also be put into the Christian concept of not setting a stumbling block in front of another. I don’t think this is harsh judgement, David. It is showing understanding and respect for the opposite sex. I do think there has been too much self exaltation in this whole area in our society. The idea that I could be offended by some woman’s attire sets up the whole argument that they have a right to self expression and can choose to dress however they want. I am then accused of infringing upon their rights and, God forbid!, proposing censorship. I suppose they can do this, but I think it demonstrates a severe lack of understanding and respect for others. But, then, this virtue seems to be disappearing from our society on many levels.

    July 6, 2008
  7. David Henson said:

    John – it’s a free country and you can be offended by whatever you choose. And you can base your beliefs on untested logic; what did you tell your boys ?, did the girls play soccer ? A discussion of attire or teen attire is reasonable but starting out calling it “sleazewear” is immature and no more fair the than starting the discussion referring to “uptight prudewear.” BTW – that Barbie has more coverage than a Northfield girls soccer uniform so I don’t think ‘flesh exposure ratio’ is the core concern.

    July 7, 2008
  8. john george said:

    David- You are correct in your analysis of being offended. I agree with you. Offenses are most often subjective in basis, but I don’t think you understood my point. I was only laying out a sequence of arguments that I have actually experienced that lead to the accusations. That is why I labeled it a lack of understanding and respect for others to wear whatever you want to and to heck with what other people say about it. I think it is called hedonism. When discussions are suppressed out of a fear of violations of rights of expression, then I think we do ourselves a bad turn in trying to foster understanding relationships. Communication is tantamount to understanding one another.

    As far as what I told my son, I told him the same truth- he will be naturally atttracted to and arroused by the exposed female figure. For him, it was a learning of self control and how to divert your eyes. The other thing I taught him is that girls are attracted to men who will listen to and interact with them. This can be a snare for many young women, especially if they do not have a good relationship with their fathers. There are young men who will exploit this need and draw young women into a dependent relationship. They used to be referred to as players. I have no idea what the current term is, but the behavior has been around for quite some time. I taught him to recognize his peers, male and female, for who they are and not to do this.

    My son played soccer. I only had one daughter who was involved in sports- volleyball. This was at a conservative Baptist private school in Owatonna, so I think you can imagine the level of dress standards required there. As far as the flesh exposure ratio in relationship to male attractions to it, I believe it is the core of what we are talking about. I prefer not to label it “sleazewear”, either, but that is Griff’s term. I think it is best to understand how we are wired and make decisions/standards from there. To deny we are made a certain way, I believe, is to bury our heads in the sand.

    July 7, 2008
  9. I wonder if they took into account that people’s arms and torsos are different lengths? (Sorry, my forte’ is classical sculpture and I naturally tend to think people in terms of length, width, height and shape.)

    From the Northfield News article…

    shorts and skirts for men and women must extend past students’ fingertips when they lower their arms to their sides.

    July 16, 2008

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