Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Tweens
Jennifer Flaten

I flick through rack upon rack of clothes. The racks are overflowing with an assortment of low-rise pants, gauzy baby doll dresses, and spaghetti strap tops emblazoned with "Sexy" in glitter letters.

It is nearly impossible to find an outfit that doesn't look like it belongs on someone who dances around a pole. Ah, the joys of back to school shopping.

Sure, you expect to see a few trashy clothes in the junior miss department. Teenagers, especially girls are always pushing the fashion envelope. Once girls hit the teen years, they are more then more then willing to express their emerging sexuality.

The problem arises when you find clothes like this in the young girls department. That's right pre-teens are now being encouraged to dress sexy. Let me tell you sexy just is not a word that should be associated with a pre-teen.

Ah, but the times are a changing. Tweens are hot property right now. A, tween, in case you don't have one at home, is a child that is between the ages of 8 and 12. Although, the tween label applies to all both boys and girls, it seems there is more merchandise out to entice girls.

Most likely because at that age boys don't care what they wear. Girls on the other hand are becoming more and more fashion conscious.

As a parent, you know you eventually will have to fight the clothes wars. You expect to confront your child at some point and utter the words "you are not going to wear that." Depending on how awful the outfit is you may tack on an "over my dead body" to the end of that sentence.

What you don't expect is to have to say that to your 8-year-old daughter. Clothes

more suited for a night of clubbing then school are popping up in stores everywhere.

Welcome to the next generation of Lolita.

It used to be safe to shop for the pre-teen crowd. Their clothes were still cute, but not overly so, allowing them to express their individuality without being inappropriate. The worst you had to worry about was a disagreement about color, a naughty phrase, or certain celebrity being on a T-shirt.

Now you have to make sure your tween girl isn't running around in push up bra.

What parent sends their 7-year-old out in the world dressed like Mariah Carey? Apparently, all of them, how else do you explain these clothes being everywhere.

From the cheapest mass retailer to the finest department store, the clothes for young girls are disturbingly grown up.

I rarely hear other parents complain about this. In fact, the only other people I see openly upset about these fashion trends are Christian families.

Our paper recently carried an article about a Christian fashion tour that went around promoting modesty and the idea that girls are beautiful as god created them.

As you would expect this type of thinking doesn't draw a huge crowd or the support of many fashion retailers. It is next to impossible to find a clothing manufacturer that has a line of clothes that isn't a carbon copy of another manufactures.

Why are the Christians the only ones promoting this? I m in no way disparaging Christian families, I am just disappointed that no one from the secular society appears to find this trend disturbing.

For a long time now, I have been trying to understand why we feel the need to rush little girls into adulthood.

Of course, in the olden days people married in their early teens and had a family. Then again, they were often dead by 20. Since our lifespan has increased significantly why, are we making rushing our girls into adulthood?

It is bad enough that teenagers want to rush things, now little girls should too.

So, what is behind this mentality? Is it because women of today refuse to yield to the aging process themselves? There are 20 year olds who go under the knife or get Botox, because they fear they have wrinkles.

You would think the opposite would be true. With all our health care advances, people are able to live longer, fuller lives. You would think we would jump on the chance to savor childhood.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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