Beauty Standards Imposed Upon Girls Beginning At Early Age

I was having a conversation yesterday about young girls (from infant to tween) who wear 2 piece bathing suits and I caught myself stating, "I just don't think it is appropriate for these little girls to be wearing such provocative clothing. " How did I utter something so ...sexist ?

It was a slip I admit, and upon further reflection I determined this way of thinking is normal within our society. The person I was speaking to didn't find any fault with my comment, she took it as a sign that she could trash young girls that are too "sexy"!

The problem with my comment is that in entertaining the notion that young girls, tween girls, teen girls, young women, women, middle aged women and senior women should dress a certain way I reinforce oppressive beauty standards


Because women are called upon to dress and conform to beauty norms on a far deeper level than men ever have . Young girls run around in bikinis and we gasp , "she's too revealing". Yet when young men run around in revealing clothing that only covers them from waste down , not a word is uttered .

That is not to say that exploitation and heavy sexualization of young girls is okay, just that starting at a very young age we demand girls look and act a certain way. Whether it's manners that are only for girls, what toys to play with (dolls or something else domestic, pink and girly) or how they should look , the pressure to conform seems to be applied steadily and heavily upon girls and does not appear to be as intense when considering young boys. Girls are often ostracized if they like sports or "playing with boys".

Other countries marvel at the level of freedom women in America have, how confident and in control we appear. This may be the case in comparison to countries where girls are not allowed to go to school or other places such as Italy that are dominated by misogynistic leaders. Yet women in America operate under just as rigid and damaging norms and expectations , albeit in a different way because beauty norms especially are a form of control.

So what , one may ask, should be done? People can't just walk around naked as the day they were born, it isn't sanitary some would argue . I guess acknowledging that a separate and more stringent set of norms and expectations are imposed upon women in society would be anyone's first step. Since that has been done over and over for the last 30 years what action should be taken? I suppose I should stop judging girls and their parent's to start.

Seriously, as I have written time and again, the problem of beauty standards and cultural norms have improved vastly over time, yet there still is a long way to go. What is more, there now is a new culture which imposes oppressive demands upon men, as if that would make anything better. I am not arguing men now know the feeling of being in the role of the other, rather that our society cant fix one problem by creating another.

0 Response to "Beauty Standards Imposed Upon Girls Beginning At Early Age"

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger