Sunday, October 28, 2007

Part Woman

I was walking upstairs and she was walking down when I saw her first. It was past 8:00 in the evening. Her clothes arrested attention for their scantiness. An orange bra peeped from under a midriff bearing green camisole. The low-rise jeans revealed a thong along with a tattoo on her lower back. She had the kind of body that looks great when flaunted. I wondered if this stunning woman was my new neighbor. Then I noticed her face which was as perfect as the rest of her. But even with all that make-up, I could tell she was no more than fifteen years old.

Her attire had sexualized her to the point where it was hard to see her for the child that she really was. I stood at the top of the stairs and watched her walk across the parking lot with the air of a woman used to being provocative and noticed. It was like she was a model walking on a ramp with cameras flashing all around her. Another neighbor was walking his dog and he scoped her out like she were a woman. Since she had gone to considerable length put her body on display, I doubt if he noticed her face before she got into the car waiting for her.

Clothes shopping for girls as young as six or eight is challenging business these days. It appears that you cannot do cute and appropriate at the same time. There is always the sweat-suits, jeans and tees for those of us who cringe at the thought of dressing six year olds like tartlets. More often than not, the little girl will want more varied fare but they are too young to understand the concept of revealing or provocative.

As a parent you need to be cautious about what they are allowed to wear even at that age. If they grow up exposing a lot of skin, doing so comes comfortably and naturally to them as teenagers and adults. The notion of modesty cannot be introduced suddenly when their bodies begin to develop because they may view it as unreasonably restrictive. If a certain article of clothing was appropriate last year why should it be taboo now.

When I saw this teenager being a woman, I could not help feeling sad. There is something beautiful and innocent about the cusp between childhood and adulthood. Awkwardness, hesitation and confusion come with the territory. Wearing make-up for the first time, the first bra, putting on a stylish dress from your mother's wardrobe are small rites of passage that make this age so special.

You try the adult role with some anxiety knowing you can slip back into the known and comfortable contours of childhood when in doubt. In a few years you acquire the physical and emotional confidence to be a woman. Young girls these days are being thrust from girlhood to womanhood without the cushion of the time in between. They are being sexualized even before they have understood their sexuality or how to deal with it.

The true essence of womanhood is lost on these kids as they come to equate it to being provocative. Even as adults they would continue to play at being women because they have not had the opportunity to evolve naturally into it. They would do anything in their power to remain physically and sexually appealing as their whole identity as women revolves around it.


ggop said...

I just got back from the junior section of Barnes and Noble. They have pregnancy magazines there (targeted to teens)
Made me sad!

Anonymous said...

Like my dad said growing up- if you do/see/say so much as a child, what will you do when you grow up?