“What in the hell is wrong with us?”

There’s a great article by LZ Granderson, a writer for CNN.com and ESPN. It also goes hand in glove with a recent piece I wrote. Most of the time when we have articles about modesty and young girls, it’s a white gal like myself or a mom like Jennifer Moses. Granderson is a father and he’s a black man. Guess what folks? We’re all saying the same thing. This has nothing to do with race or gender or any other social demographic. It’s about common sense: parents need to be parents, not BFFs.

As Granderson notes, we can carry on all we want about young girls dressing too provocatively, but ultimately we ought to be talking about the parents, something that the interviewer in the above clip seems to wrestle with. It’s not the 10-year-old who drives herself to the mall, much less does she earn the money with which to buy porn-inspired fashion. A parent or some other adult has to facilitate the entire shopping experience. I made this point in 2005 when I gave a talk at a fashion conference in New York. Like Gunderson, I used the same Abercrombie & Fitch example of thong underwear for young girls. You might recall – it happened in 2002. Family groups protested. But before AF could pull the item from its stores, the item sold out. That means that parents took their daughters to the mall and gave them the money to dress like tramps. As Gunderson writes, “What the hell is wrong with us [them/you]?”

His entire article is worth reading, but let me share one of my favorite parts with you:

I don’t care how popular Lil’ Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn’t always makes me popular — and the house does get tense from time to time — but I’m his father, not his friend.

Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, “No, and that’s the end of it.”

The way I see it, my son can go to therapy later if my strict rules have scarred him. But I have peace knowing he’ll be able to afford therapy as an adult because I didn’t allow him to wear or do whatever he wanted as a kid.

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