On my daily travels around the fine town of London, I have noticed a sudden eruption of a people attired in a way which offends my sensibilities; buttocks poking cheekily from denim hot pants, side-boob flashing slashed vests, belly revealing crop tops, wobbly high heels and French tipped manicures at the end of fake tanned limbs, lashings of gloopy lip gloss and eyes weighed heavy with claggy mascara. No, this isn’t a post-hen party walk of shame, it isn’t the gaggle of tuppeny hookers congregating around Soho, these are pre-teen girls.
Teenage girls are a law unto themselves and a disaster of fashions, but they have earned this right through decades of rebellion, Beatles and Biba. What we have now is bratitude, Bieber and pre-teens dressed like trollops. There’s no two ways about it, the streets are awash with girls barely able to fill a bra, revealing said bra to all and sundry, and even with youth and a less than conservative wardrobe on my side, I’m left slack-jawed in amazement and making the sort of tutting noises that leave you feeling you’ve aged irrevocably (Mother, I still refuse to acknowledge that I’ve turned into you just yet). I draw the line at uttering “back in my day”, but seriously, back in my d-errr, I mean…
It seems the greatest crime among the 10-13 year olds of the land isn’t cheating at conkers or stealing someone’s Glee pencil-top rubber, it is to actually look 10-13 years of age. Furthermore, it seems that among the girls of this age bracket, it would be a greater social gaffe to resemble anything close to a sexually innocent child – the more like something that fell off a lad’s mag casting couch, the better. Hemlines have risen faster than their years and almost as high as my disbelieving brows.
Why the rush to grow up and abandon childhood? What is wrong with looking, dressing and acting like a child, if indeed you are a child? It isn’t long before these young “ladies” (term used loosely) will be clamouring for youth restoring lotions and crêpey breast concealing necklines and wishing for just a few more years of trouble free cares. Childhood is all too brief, sadly not as brief as the flash of briefs bestowed upon me by the gawky-limbed tweenager, struggling to contain her excitement and her giblets in a pair of sparkly hot pants on the Northern Line.
Sexualisation of children is a weighty subject and I in no way claim to have the final word on the topic. Yes, there are awful sexual predators out there, who may become aroused at the sight of a tween in a crop top, but these are people with a severe illness who would also view a toddler wearing a modest floral smock as a potential target. There is also the argument that by looking upon a pre-pubescent child as dressing “provocatively”, that I am the one with the problem, as they are but innocents, naively playing at dress-up and knowing nothing of what their costume conveys. However, when girls of this age make themselves up to look like girls of more advanced maturity, they are opening themselves up to the advances of boys (and scathing judgement of all) who can’t spot the difference between a confident and willing harlot and one merely playing at being one. The attention can, I’m sure, be quite damaging.
So who’s buying these wannabe strumpets their clothes? Who is allowing them out the house looking like Strip Joint Barbie or worse, the cast of Geordie Shore? Sure, the unstoppable Machiavellian media machine produces the images of “all grown up” Miley Cyrus and the rest of the gusset-flashing Mickey Mousers for tweens to admire, but it’s their parents who ultimately buy them the magazines, allow them to watch the shows and who provide the funds for the belly chains and boob tubes.
Children will want to grow up faster than their years allow – it’s all part of the thirst for knowledge, discovery and independence that even a toddler is cursed with, but that doesn’t mean their supervising adults have to give in and allow them to abandon their youth and fashion themselves into miniature Katie Price parodies. Sometimes it’s a parent’s job to say “no, just because little 10 year old Sauvignon-Jo’s mummy allows her to wear a thong protruding above her low rise ra-ra skirt, doesn’t mean that you can too”. It may not be “cool” to deny your child the option to look like a gutter harlot, but it’s most definitely a prerequisite of parenthood that you protect the little dears from the harsh realities of the world at large, from themselves and more importantly, from tasteless fashion.
You may be wondering how this all really affects me, as I do not have children of my own and have no intention of becoming a child therapist, so why should I have a vested interest in the attire of other peoples’? Well, over and above all the reasons regarding taste, decency and sexual predators, with all these pre-teens dressing like trollops, it makes it a damn sight harder for the rest of us to stand out in the whore parade!