Kathryn Lopez

Dr. Meeker paints a blunt medical picture for any mom or dad being coy about parenting: "In 1979, when I graduated from college, there were two (common) sexually transmitted infections. Herpes 2 broke upon the scene in a fierce way, increasing 500 percent from 1980-1990. By the time 2000 rolled around, there were over 30 STIs in the then 15 million Americans who contracted a new STD each year. Now, in 2011, the CDC reports that 20 million Americans contract a new STI each year and almost 50 percent occur in young people (teens and college students)."

Meeker's tough-love motherly advice? "For all of the mothers out there too afraid to tell their children -- that's what 12, 13 and 14-year-old girls are -- that's it's acceptable to parade around in clothes which announce to any young man that they are sexually available, it's time that we grew up. Our daughters aren't living our lives -- theirs are tougher. That means they need tougher moms."

In truth, a mom trying to get her daughter to adopt a little modesty doesn't have a lot of help, from TV shows such as "Glee" or in the pages of Seventeen magazine, or at the mall. If you're shopping with your daughter this spring for a prom dress, it's a sea of "plunging necklines, built-in push-up bras, spangles, feathers, slits and peek-a-boos," as Moses writes. But, as the ad agency that created the Tide commercial doubtless knows, it's not like there are protests in the streets or at the cash register about it.

But what if mothers and women managed to summon a moral authority that could make an impact? A dignified authority that would teach girls to have higher expectations for themselves and the men they attract; a protective authority that would celebrate the father who wants only the best for his daughter; a motherly authority that finds authentic freedom in femininity and modesty.

Somewhere in all the female empowerment of the last decades, the feminine was lost. Regrets, we have a few. Sometimes our lives are a witness to this. But we're older and could be wiser, too; we're teachers and models now.

It's time to step up to the fashion plate.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.