Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Indignant Musings of a Modern Day Prude

Please forgive the vulgarity, but sometimes, I find the outraged query...WHAT THE FUCK? reverberating off the smooth white walls of my own skull.

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".



  • At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That beats the 8 year old child at my sons' school who wore a pair of tight legging-style pants that said "HOTTIE" across her bum. Also, the 12 year old boy whose t-shirt read, "Your retarded". Disgusting in my books.

    We have been fighting for uniforms in our school because of parents who cannot (or will not) make the appropriate decisions for their children.

    I think it's just common sense. And for the record, I don't care HOW old my kids are, even as adults, I would express my disapproval.

    And we need a licence to own a dog. (shakes head)

  • At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was so relieved when I thought we were having no kids and there were only boys. Now this girl is coming. A few rules from the start:
    She can have long hair and a dress when she is old enough to ask for them. No need to make her girlie from the start.
    No earrings till 12.5, and you can bet makeup doesn't come before that. I don't wear makeup, so maybe that will help.
    And, harlot clothing? Yeah -- when you are paying your own rent.

  • At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You can bet those girls have a truckload of Bratz dolls littering the trampoline and the couch on their front porch, as well.

  • At 1:20 PM, Blogger Shelley said…

    You know, it's strange how different perspectives can be. I've always been glad that I don't have boys. Being a mother of only girls, I have always seen boys as the enemy. However, I have friends who have only boys, and they have the same view of girls, as sneaky little tarts who are out to get their little boys in trouble. :)

    That being said, those little girls are what I refer to as "prosti-tots", and believe me they are not limited to the southeastern U.S. They are everywhere. Or should I say, clueless parents who allow such behavior are everywhere. At 7 and 10 years old, the kids are certainly not the ones buying the clothes and the makeup.

    How do you give your daughters a sense of self-worth? You start at a very early age. You don't buy them or allow them to wear belly-baring, whore-ish clothing. I have never even allowed any of my girls to own a t-shirt that says anything like "It's All About Me" (No, it's not), or "Princess", or "Wanted It, Saw It, Threw a Fit, Got It." (Yes, I saw that t-shirt in a store.)

    You praise them for their grades, their wit, their athletic ability, and their compassion, and their ability to think. You talk with them over and over again about how girls on TV and magazines are NOT what real girls look like. Real girls do not have the straight, stick-like bodies of little boys. Girls have curves. And that's ok. Girls also should have a sense of modesty. We emphasize health, not looks.

    My girls play sports, they do not "cheerlead" for the boys. They are softball players, dancers, volleyball players, swimmers. And they have never owned a Bratz doll.

    As you can probably tell, this is a huge issue with me. When my oldest daughter started dating (at 15), I told her this: You are not looking for the cutest, most popular, or even smartest kid on the block. What you want to look for is someone who is sweet to you and treats you with respect. A lot of girls think having a boyfriend is so important. I tell them it is much better to be single with self-respect, than to be treated like crap by some jerk.

    I think maybe I might be doing something right. My 16 year-old is 5'6" and about 140 lbs. She is a dancer, and muscular. By Hollywood standards, she is probably fat. By real-world standards? She is just fine. And the reason I think I'm on the right track is because she likes her body. She is not obsessed with being on a diet, losing weight, or wanting to be stick thin. She likes herself just the way she is. And that makes me smile.

    I could go on all day about this, but I'll get off my soapbox now. :)

  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger Middle Girl said…

    My soon to be 23 year old daughter and I certainly had some talks and battles.

    I did my level best to instill in her a sense of self-worth and to appreciate and love who, not what, she is. I told her then, I tell her now..."you're strong, you're capable, you're beautiful, inside and out."

    Mothers of daughter, mothers of sons (I have one of those too!), Parents of children...we have a responsiblity to them and to the society into which they will thrust.


  • At 6:14 PM, Blogger said…

    I can't help but think that those girls' mothers were raised in a similar fashion. I have a problem with slogan shirts that are crude. Funny ones I can handle. Cutesy is fine. Sexual or ignorant is just a waste of perfectly good cotton.

  • At 6:31 PM, Blogger jess said…

    Be careful what you promise them, Shelley. In spite of her hopeful, "Maybe you'll take after one of your grandmothers!" every time one of us hit puberty, all of my mother's daughters inherited her frame and "the straight stick-like bodies of little boys." What we would've given for curves. ;) Ah, the grass is always greener, eh?

    Seriously, though, I think the problem is always going to be that the people raising the kids you're talking about (hoochy-mamas) are the people who are least likely to read something like this. It's a vicious cycle of ignorance.

  • At 6:58 PM, Blogger Shelley said…

    I didn't mean girls who are naturally built that way. I mean girls who starve themselves to look like some "ideal" that is forced upon women by the media. Being a bigger girl myself, I have a problem with the thinking that there is only one kind of beauty, you know? I just want my girls to love themselves the way they are, be it thin or curvy. No offense to the stick-thin girls, I have two of those also. Although one of them is only five. :)

  • At 10:05 PM, Blogger Maureen Fitzgerald said…

    There is a local radio personality in the Milwaukee market who wrote a book called something to the effect of "Rules you won't learn in school". One of his top ten is "dressing like a slut does not empower you".

    I mutter it to myself almost daily as I drive by the middle school girls waiting for the school bus.


  • At 1:40 AM, Blogger jess said…

    Shelley, I know what you mean and I didn't take offense, I was just teasing. I have three sisters and we always thought it hilarious to tease my mom (who had the same flat chest as all of us, but was the only one who minded) about 'the real reason' she wouldn't let us have Barbie dolls (intense jealousy).

    Seriously, though, I'm so grateful to her for that. What's with all these toy companies that target little girls with toys and media with teenage-appropriate content?? I've been a nanny for 11 years, and if I have to watch one more BarbieDisneyprincessBratz movie about how PrincessBarbieBrat the Mermaid is in a catfight with some other girl who's trying to steal her boyfriend, I might just lose it. Five year olds do not need to be thinking about dating!!!!!

  • At 4:07 AM, Blogger Ms. Skywalker said…

    It's a battle on a daily basis for me to instill what they need, since honestly, I'm probably still battling the insecurities that I'm trying to prevent them from having.

    However, you can rest assured that never, as long as I breathe and have eyes that can see, will they leave the house in that kind of attire.


  • At 11:07 AM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    After one year living in Augusta, I think I can say with relative confidence that I know what you mean re: southern rednecks.

    I definitely am thanking my lucky stars right along with you that I have boys. While they do come with their own challenges and I've had to find ways to communicate with the opposite sex like I've never had to before, I am glad I don't have to figure out how to raise a girl child in this world in the right way... to teach her that her worth does not lie in her clothes and beauty routine. That she does not have to depend on a man to take care of her but that she is strong and capable on her own. Because though we're living in the 21st century, the messages are still very mixed in that regard.

    I'm thankful I don't have to muddle through them...

  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger Woman in a Window said…

    OH Boy, do I feel this one! Get this, we live in a pretty rural and hickish area. It is almost impossible to buy a nice regular non-demeaning t-shirt. Seriously, what are the stores in this community trying to do to our girls? Why are there not even options? It's kinda crazy and you get used to seeing little girls 5and 6 years old running around with shirts that say, "Sooo cute" and "Shake it" and you know exactly where all their running is going to take them.

    We shop in a distant town and stock up on bare printed shirts and skirts with shorts under 'em.

  • At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You talk about thangs in the South. Sister, they are no better in the North.

    At a recent bucolic, beautiful summer's evening Triple A baseball game (lots of families w/small children) was Cletus & their redneck family, whose darling teenaged daughter had on a t-shirt with a happy face and a "Smile - You Could Have Been an Abortion!".
    Who the f lets their kid out of the house with something like that???

    I had to physically restrain Son #2 from going to "have a word". Glad I did - they probably would have pulled out their concealed handgun and shot him.

  • At 8:55 PM, Blogger odat_kim said…

    Although not a mother I agree with you 100%. In fact, although my parents were very good about what I could and couldn't wear. Our culture still degrades women that well into my adulthood there was a part of me that felt that I was little more than walking female genitalia to men, poor self esteem, and really poor understanding of men, but that's what a lot of pop culture promotes.

  • At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That's disgusting! One can really only blame the parents of these poor kids. I don't understand the apathy and ignorance of those kind of parents...what's up with that? Have they no shame?

  • At 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Got one for you - from the northwest. When my 16 year old son was in 4th grade, one of the moms gave her daughter, R, a gift that was brought to school. For R's birthday, mom and child went to a build-a-bear place. Nothing wrong with that, but........the mom recorded a message that R could play **every day**. It was long, and over and over it said, "You are a Goddess, you are a queen." Okay, so I guess the intent was for R to feel good about herself. But here's my question -- If R is a goddess, does that make my son a god?? (Didn't think so.)

    I want my kids to know how much they are loved and valued, and I try to be careful of how that is expressed.

    I cringed at your story, BA. Scary. And unfortunately, all too common. We need to wake up and do better by - and for - our kids.

  • At 2:41 PM, Blogger The Reluctant New Yorker said…

    I wouldn't say the way those girls were dressed is just a Southern thing. Not by any means. I live in NYC and see little girls dressed like that constantly. I see it more up here than I do in my rural, Southern hometown.

    I wonder if people in other countries have this problem?

    At any rate, you're right. We need to do better by our girls and women. My mother would have slapped the snot out of me - in her very loving, motherly way - had I left the house dressed like that when I was a kid.

  • At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As the mother of a now-20 yo DD, I absolutely agree with the consensus about how little girls are dressed.

    When DD was tiny, one of the all-the-rage clothing trends was the tiny little dresses and skirts that barely covered a child's bum. To be worn over ruffled panties, usually. (What IS it with clothing meant to draw the eye to a child's or little girl's or grown-up woman's behind??) DD always wore shorts or pants of one type or another under her cute little skirts. And never, ever, had mid-riff baring tops, or stupid-saying tops.

    Every day I thank my lucky stars and all my blessings to have a daughter who is strong, self-confident, and totally loves her mom and dad and not "too cool" to let us know it (as well as her younger brother who she'd do anything for). How did she get that way? Blessings, and every every day I tell her how much I love her, and that she is great and perfect just as she is. She's never fallen into the "need a man to complete me" trap. I am so grateful.

  • At 7:32 PM, Blogger Green-Eyed Momster said…

    Don't worry, BA, those weren't my girls you saw. I am also amazed at the things I see on little girls. I don't get writing on their tushies either. If I were in charge, clothes like that wouldn't even be made. Not in ANY sizes, little or big!! I worry about little girls in todays world. I don't worry so much about mine because they know good fashion when they see it! Who would buy that stuff for their daughters?


  • At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just so you know, I'm taking notes from your comments section on how to raise my girl up right. I'm telling you what, I was thrilled when the doctor announced six months ago that my baby was an XX, but I won't lie and say there wasn't a little niggling worm of fear at what the future may hold. And THAT sucks. But I will do my dead level best to make sure that I raise a boy that knows how to be respectful of women while at the same time watching out for the manipulative sex kittens that would try to bend him to their will, and a girl who knows that there's more to life than her sex-appeal (I just urped a little using that term in relation to my baby girl, even if I am speaking of the long distant future) and that she'll get farther on her brains and confidence than she would on boobs and manipulation.

  • At 8:41 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    That made me feel sick. Why would anyone let their 10yo (or god forbid, BUY their 10yo) a shirt like that? Disgusting.


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