Patricia Dalton, in the Post article, makes an important point:
Women once complained about being reduced to sex objects. Now, their daughters are volunteering to be sex objects.
She then goes on to blame feminists, the pill and MTV. Ok, that is nonsense and Jill at Feministe quite properly takes Ms. Dalton to task on her ridiculous assumptions. I agree with Jill, and won't repeat her comments here. You can read them yourself at Feministe from the above link.
Yet no one seems to be addressing what I think is the important point: Why are our young girls/teens dressing like eye candy? Why do they want to? And when you discuss it with them, why do they seem to need to?
I want to repeat this. They are not dressed like sluts or whores. They are dressed as decorations. They are objectifying themselves as much as the bikini girls in a pin up calendar.
My observations have no links, because these come from a completely non-scientific study of my daughter and her friends.
I KNOW my daughter was raised as a feminist. So why does she feel the need to show off her body when any teenaged male is near?
She will tell you that sexual stereotyping (as well as any stereotyping) is wrong. She is self confident and intelligent and believes her gender is not an obstacle to success.
Then as soon as a "cute boy" (her words) is near, she becomes the stereotype. When questioned, she and her friends become defensive. I think they know they are wrong, that their behavior is a contradiction to what they believe. If I remember my college psych class, this was called cognitive dissidence. Please, someone correct me if I'm wrong.
This all echos what I felt as a young adult. This was back in the mid 70's and I really believed that no boy would be interested in me if I didn't show off my body. Why else would they bother?
So what is the answer? Is this a normal phase that girls go through when their bodies change so much, so fast? When they are desperate for approval from boys?
I don't think so. I think, as feminists, we lost the sexual revolution. Nothing has changed since I was a teen, when it comes to sex. We need to stand up and say, I am not eye candy. I am not here as a decoration.
As adults, we need to show our girls that it is important to demand respect. Do not allow the media to control what we are.
I imagine people are rolling their eyes at that, saying, "You can't change teenagers." But I disagree. My daughter will argue with me that I don't know anything, then I overhear her repeating exactly what I said to her friends. Of course, it is presented as her own idea. Kids do listen, they just can't let their parents know they do.