This is an interesting video in a lot of ways. Moses saying that tween girls should not be dressing like prostitutes isn't really that controversial, is it? I know I've heard plenty of mothers lamenting about what is available in the stores for girls these days and how so much of it is inappropriate. But Moses knows that there is this large audience of women out there who will howl that, yes, young girls should be allowed to dress in hookerwear, to express themselves and their flowering sexuality, that it's never too young to sexualize or objectify a girl because the alternative is to accept that female sexuality should have boundaries - any boundaries - and women not being able to do whatever they want whenever they want with full approval is an unthinkable thought. Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon has already rebutted condescendingly, and she, a self-admitted HPV-resulting cervical cancer survivor. Women are apparently willing to take cancer on the chin rather than reign it in at all sexually or even consider it.
Knowing these women are out there, Moses waffles a bit. The outfits, they are scandalous, but according to her, "There's no mother in the world who isn't doing her best for her daughter." The interviewer, also a woman, would like to blame it - the irony - on the media and at one point interjects something about fathers also being to blame, which Moses nods and agrees with.
But let's face it, men don't dress their daughters. Women do, and in adolescence, girls' female peers help a lot. It's a parent's job to make sure those peers don't get to override any objective morality or common sense. And here is where Moses completely bails. At the end of the video, after making her case for why this type of clothing is terrible, she says she can’t stop her daughter from buying hookerwear with her babysitting money, but she won’t pay for it herself, darn it.
Excuse me, but what?
Jennifer, if you can’t stop your 11-year-old daughter from dressing indecently and provocatively, you have got a serious parenting problem and it isn't fashion related. Pull her out and homeschool her. Send for pamphlets from convents. Relocate to Lancaster, PA. You are the adult. Seriously, you own her life. You pay for everything, and I'd bet that includes private lessons, a regularly updated wardrobe, sleepovers with her friends, vacations, birthday presents. Yank it all and then see if she still won't comply. Be brave.
I see parents in the public who are negotiating with their toddlers, putting forth complicated arguments about why they should eat the yogurt they just screamed for. Look, I know what it's like to have an oppositional child. My son is a born arguer; there is nothing he likes better than objecting to stuff. But he knows at the end of this little verbal dance, he is going to have to finish his dinner, drink his milk, and do his homework. Because I'm going to make him. It might not be fun. It might not be pretty - that's his call - but it will be done. All this may make me sound like a martinet, but, honestly, kids like having boundaries, and they like knowing that someone is actually in charge and that there is a plan. It's predictable, and they can maneuver within that predictability. They may test you with everything they've got, but they aren't happy when they win. They are miserable wallowing in their own brattiness. And so are you.
It is easier to establish a pattern of compliance if you start when they are toddlers, but unless your tween is a sociopath, it can be done at eleven, twelve, or thirteen. You might have to drag out the big guns to establish your authority, but better that than the alternative: stocking up on Pampers and opening a tab at your local tattoo parlor.