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Dressing Our Girls
Mom with a View

Dressing Our Girls

Jennifer Moses needs to act on her concerns about how society is objectifying girls.


“Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this – like prostitutes, if we’re being honest with ourselves – but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?” asks Jennifer Moses in a recent Wall Street Journal piece (Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?).

Unfortunately her question is better than her answer.

While expressing some regrets over her own past and that of her peers, while expressing the desire of that generation to teach their sons and daughters to be less promiscuous than they were, Ms. Moses acknowledges that she doesn’t know how to do that. She even cops to enjoying seeing her young daughter turn some heads.

Ultimately I’m afraid that Ms. Moses caves in to peer pressure, not wanting to reinforce the highly sexualized message that her daughter is receiving from her peers but unwilling to actually say or do anything to stop it.

If anyone tuned in to this year’s Super Bowl, particularly the last few minutes, they would have seen an ad for Sketchers (yes the shoe company) that can only be described as pornographic. Why do women put up with this?

Many of the original tenets of feminism are highly compatible with those of the Torah. Women should not be seen as or treated as objects. Women should be valued for their internal qualities and character as opposed to their external ones. The objectifying of women in order to sell cars, beer – or running shoes – damages all of us.

And you can’t only blame men. If women refused to “act” in these ads, they wouldn’t exist. If women dressed to highlight their souls and not their bodies, men would get the message.

And if mothers like Jennifer Moses acted on their concerns instead of just writing about them, we’d raise a new generation of confident young girls and boys more focused on the people they were becoming than the looks they were giving or receiving.

Ms. Moses may find it thrilling to see her 12 or 13-year-old daughter in “drop-dead gorgeous mode” but she’ll be less excited when she’s 16 or 17.

We read in Psalms that “the glory of the daughter of the King is internal.” I believe that this is the ultimate feminism, a true recognition and appreciation of our core strengths and values as opposed to superficial physical approval.

It seems that Ms. Moses and her friends are slowly waking up to the recognition of how we’ve lost our way. Let’s hope they can give their daughters the courage, strength and wisdom to reverse the tide.

March 27, 2011

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 22

(18) Nancy, June 23, 2014 12:59 PM

If we stopped buying inappropriate clothing and only frequented places that sell modest attire, the former would go out of business in a New York minute! My problem is (at least for now) I wear a larger size. It is hard for me to find tzniut clothing that I like. I am not a fan of prints and never have been. As Lori Palatnik says, we can look attractive without attracting.

(17) Nechamah Kahana, April 12, 2011 4:35 PM

Feminism may have failed

I am astonished over and over again when I open a fashion magazine and see the blatantly overt sexual advertisements with women of all ages. We are told that we are living in a powerfully feminist age where women can dress provocatively and sexily and it is considered empowering and it's the woman choosing her own style. Or maybe it's just men dictating what is their fantasy is. How is this feminism? How is this empowerment? It is completely against Torah values. I find it interesting though to notice that the fashion this season is skirts that are long below the knee. Are they finally catching on?

(16) Leah Larson, Publisher, April 11, 2011 1:45 PM

Girls' magazines matter

At Yaldah Magazine for Jewish Girls, we continue our mission to inspire girls by focusing on creativity and leadership. We recognize girls desire to look and dress nicely. Each issue includes a fashion page of stylish/modest clothing selected by girls on our editorial board. We believe that empowering girls when they are young builds confidence and self-respect-- the most essential wardrobe items for teen girls today.

(15) Eileen Winkley, April 7, 2011 4:56 AM

Raising Wise Girls

Good article ! Even dressing little girls in those little bikinis is wrong !1 It teaches them to expose their bodies and gives the sick and deranged more flesh to look at !

(14) Mary Anne Simpson, April 6, 2011 4:09 AM

Great article. I completely agree with you. I have 4 daughters and a son and the culture today and the manner in which women are depicted as objects is frightening. The ultimate result is the destruction of the family and loss of respect towards women. I pray for the culture to return to a more modest day...

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