As you may or may not know, I also have a blogging gig over at SFYS that is a professional blog, a marketing blog. Today I blogged about the history of thong underwear. Really, having a paid job that allows me to write about lingerie is a dream - but I'm sad that it takes away from this blog. I do have an actual life outside of the internet. In any case blogging about lingerie is pretty sweet. The reason I mention it is because the topic of thongs for pre-teens came up during my research. I glazed over it in my post - but I'd like to talk about it a bit more here.
Personally, I don't think a thong is appropriate for an 9 year old. I guess this is something that has happened to me with age. I was an early bloomer (by which I mean EARLY) and at 9 years old would have probably quite enjoyed being allowed to wear one as a means of exploring my early sexuality. But somehow in the past twenty or so years I have become quite removed from that self (thankfully, I suppose) and now have perspective on how young a 9 year old - or 13 year old for that matter - actually is.
I am all for freedom of expression and freedom of sexuality and therefore, freedom of sexual expression. I argue in favour of allowing Miley Cyrus to model in a bedsheet at 15, but I can assure you no daughter of mine will be wearing a thong at 9.
I am reminded of a recent mall visit where I unfortunately found myself in LaSenza Girl. At LaSenza Girl you can buy panties with "Diva Princess" emblazoned on the ass. These underwear are targeted to pre-teens. They made me upset. Not only because they imply you will might show off your underwear at that age, but also because you are somehow intended to be proud of being a little bitch. I guess that 9 year olds don't quite get this. But shouldn't their mothers?
So what is it that is so wrong with tweener thongs and Diva Princess undies that I find it offensive?
I have two reasons:
1. Companies that market these products are sure that you will either love or hate them for it. Don't think for one minute that the bigwigs didn't sit down and talk about the decision. Because they did. As a result of selling them, they get a lot of negative press. In the marketing world, no press is bad press, in particular for a clothing company. It is a ploy to get us saying their name - and it works. I've already said one in this post. As a result, they are making it 'normal' for girls of this pre-tween age to wear thongs, and creating an interest. After all, they claim to be 'supplying a demand', but aren't they just creating one? Did you need a thong at that age? Did it even cross your mind?
2. Girls have so much pressure in society to be a certain way, act a certain way and be sexy that they really need their childhood protected. It is not that children as young as 11 don't have a sexuality - they most certainly do - it is that it deserves to be protected along with the rest of their youthful freedoms. Sexuality - healthy sexuality - should develop on a personal level, not a public level. By this I mean that young girls should be allowed to explore their feelings and themselves without the pressure of being sexy for someone else. Certainly not an adult or anyone with adult standards. That important stage of development is what is destroyed by sexual abuse of minors, and without that precious self discovery so many women fall into the trap of being sexy or having sex to seek approval, love and self-esteem.
Outrageousness and generally shocking clothing don't get to me. The types that spout off about how this is part of a natural evolution towards more a more revealing dressing style are missing the point. It is one thing for adults to leave the house in something that only technically is a dress, I'm all for that. At the very least, that is amusing to me. Hey, we all like naked ladies, don't we? And adults have adult freedoms, and can determine what is appropriate. But children should be exempt from this. Just like they should be exempt from bikinis, heels, hair dye and false eyelashes. Children need time to be children before being adults. It's not cute, it's not amusing. It's gross.
So where do you draw the line? I say, if you are too young to purchase and wash your own thong, you are too young to wear it.