"Why," asks Jennifer Moses in The Wall Street Journal, "do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this -- like prostitutes, if we're being honest with ourselves -- but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?" The answer indicts a generation of mothers who grew up as the most liberated generation in history, and who are only now having second thoughts over what they want for their daughters.
"We were the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn't have to worry about getting knocked up," she says. "We were the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputation but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom." And now thousands of moms don't have a clue about teaching their daughters the perils and foolishness of giving away their bodies so readily.
There are lots of reasons for the current excesses of little girls whose sexy style goes way beyond their psychological ages. We could round up the usual suspects in media and advertising, with focus groups and consultants, but common sense is all anyone needs to see what happened. It's one of those pesky unintended consequences of the sexual revolution.
Post-Pill mothers worry more about appearing like hypocrites with their daughters than assuming parental authority, setting thoughtful moral guidelines. They can expect to hear the same excuses from their daughters that daughters have made since the first cave girl donned a well-off-the-shoulder leopard skin.
High-tech complicates matters. Coinciding with a mother's ambiguous messages are the peer messages bombarding the adolescent's cell-phone network, merging texting with "sexting." When these young women get to college, parents can expect no surrogate gatekeepers to help them resist the increasing pressure for "hooking up."
This mother's plaint about young girls in "plunging necklines, built-in-push-bras, spangles, feathers, slits and peek-a-boos" is getting none of the buzz of a similar plaint of the famous Tiger Mom about permissiveness in educational discipline. Modern moms seem to be more animated over how their children study for the SATs than how they deal with their beckoning sexual lives.
They should reprise the cliche nearly every mother once asked her daughter on her way out of the house dressed like a hooker: "You're not wearing that?"