The Indignant Musings of a Modern Day Prude
Here is one such instance for your consideration.
Last night we played the third game of the State Championships, which are being held in a small-ish town in northwest Georgia. It's a little more...rural, than our own little suburban enclave. We live on the outskirts of the the big city, with a lot of other professional urban families.
They are doctors, lawyers, financial consultants, real estate agents, business owners. Many of them hail from other states, drawn here by job opportunities, weather, families, lovers.
It creates an interesting mix of cultural, religious, philosophical and socio economic lifestyles.
For this reason, it's sometimes almost possible for me to forget that I live in the South.
But inevitably, something happens to yank me back to the reality of my geographical misfortune with remarkable efficacy.
This week, our little foray into the wilds of the Georgian countryside was one of those moments. I found myself in very close proximity with people that most of the civilized world would refer to as "rednecks".
Now, I'll admit, there are rednecks in every state. It seems a designation that is determined less by geography than it is ignorance and apathy. But Southern rednecks are a breed all their own, if you ask me. Unless one has experienced this firsthand, there really is no way to quantify it.
Not all of the characteristics exhibited by rural Southern folks are...bad. Some of them are charming, quaint, endearing, even heartwarming. I've written several pieces over the course of my blogship chronicling these traits.
But at their worst, the rural uneducated can be an obnoxious and irascible bunch. This is usually the case with sports of any kind. However, it is especially true of youth sports.
It's been an interesting week to say the least.
So, last evening, all the team parents were waiting for the game, which had been delayed by about 45 minutes, to start. We were gathered under a small pavillion trying to stay out of the sun, which, although well on it's way to the horizon, was still amazingly hot and glaring.
Other people gathered there as well. Two little girls, whom I would have guessed to be around 7 and 10, were drawn to the team baby, which is not unusual. That kid is a chick magnet extraordinaire. Women of every age are unable to resist his charms and there is often a crowd gathered around whomever happens to be holding him at the moment.
The boys figured this out pretty quickly and have been only too willing to use this to their advantage. It's actually quite comical to watch. I daresay it's the only time a 14 year old boy is willing to use a toddler as a fashion accessory. They hold him awkwardly and without finesse, but it doesn't matter. Every female is impressed with a man who is willing to be drooled upon.
Anyway..I didn't pay much attention to these two little girls at first. They ooh'd and aaah'd over the baby like every other little girl. They made silly faces at him, they offered him treats. They asked his mother a million and one questions, and made little moues of distaste at the mention of breastfeeding.
Then I happened to notice the caption on the back of the bright red t-shirt worn by the older girl. It said..."The Front View is Even Better"
I gasped audibly and I know my jaw dropped. One of the other team Moms raised her eyebrow and said wryly, "Wait'll you see the front."
The front, perhaps predictably, read, "The Back View Is Even Better."
I was, quite frankly, shocked out of my ever lovin' mind.
Ten years old people. Perhaps younger. It was hard to judge due to the heavy black EYELINER ringing her eyes, giving her a haggard, jaded look. The younger girl, astoundingly, was similarly adorned.
You know, I would have found such a t-shirt offensive on a woman of any age. It's tasteless, demeaning, diminishing. It takes away a woman's humanity and makes her nothing more than an object of sexual gratification.
But although I would not like it, I would not object if the wearer was an adult woman capable of making her own decisions, objectionable and foolhardy though they may be.
The freedoms that our forebearers fought so hard to obtain, unfortunately extend to such questionable behavior. When they won the right for women to govern their own lives and their own destinies, they also won the right for some of us to act like cheap tarts should we so desire.
But these were children. And I found the fact that they were appearing in public so attired to be the worst kind of perversion.
Because somebody who should know better let them out that way. Somebody who should have their best interests in mind every second of every day, let them out that way. Someone who has been entrusted with their innocence, let them out that way.
And that's when I heard it, shrill and strident, ringing in my ears, and threatening to burst forth from my large and sometimes injudicious mouth...
I wanted to take that child by the hand, drag her to the bathroom and scrub her face back into childish nudity. I also wanted to tell her mother a thing or two, but I couldn't quite figure out which one of the group of heavily made up, scantily clad hoochie mamas, was their mama. All of them looked to me, like big sisters. Big, slutty sisters.
Either they were, in fact, big slutty sisters, or, they were the star and supporting cast for girlhood lost; cut short by the tragedy of an unplanned pregnancy.
People. We have GOT to do better by our girls. We have GOT to teach them that they are more than their ability to attract a man. That they have worth beyond their beauty. That they have a purpose and a place in this world.
Our girls are more than breeders, they are leaders. History makers. Teachers. Mentors. Role Models.
With that said, I have to confide that more and more lately, I am thanking my lucky stars, that....
I have boys.
How do mothers give their daughters a healthy sense of self in this day and age?
Damned if I know. But I know they've got to try.
And that means just saying no to crass, suggestive, skimpy, and vulgar apparel on ten year old girls.
Oh, and also? I could do without tees that read "Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks At Them".