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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Guest blogger: Skanktastic New Fall Looks for Tweens

August 9, 2010

By stark. raving. mad. mommy.

stark. raving. mad. mommy. is a stay-at-home mom to four children ages four to nine. In her own words “…we’re dealing with allergies, asthma, anxiety, and that particular brand of Lego obsession known as autism. Eventually, we found that procreating and sustaining life while mainlining coffee was just not enough of a challenge. So, we up and moved our family of six from the East Coast to deep in the heart of Texas (clap-clap-clap). I have become, officially, a stark. raving. mad. mommy.”

I was recently alerted to the new Candie’s line of juniors’ clothing being sold at Kohl’s. Aimed at tweens and teens, it’s designed by Queen of Wholesome, Britney Spears.  Britney’s perfume line has been out for years; her latest one is called “Circus Fantasy.”

I’m not sure who told Britney that circuses smell good.  If I remember correctly, circuses smell like a heady mixture of sweat, stale popcorn, and elephant.  I have a funny feeling that’s actually what Britney Spears smells like, naturally.

Back to her skanktastic clothing line.  First, let me say this: if you’re of age to vote, and you dig her clothes, by all means, skank it out.  You go for yours, girlfriend.  But if you’re my nine year old daughter, you’re not going to be sporting anything to do with a grown woman who poses in her underwear with a large hot-pink teddy bear.  (The implications of this are positively mind bending.  It requires a time-space continuum leap for me to grasp that Britney, who used her teen sexuality to the hilt, is now infantilizing herself in order to sell clothes to my daughters. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.)

Even worse than Britney Spears’ skankfest at Kohl’s is the horror that is Victoria’s Secret’s Pink, a line of loungewear, intimates, and beauty products.  Pink is supposed to be all in caps: PINK, but I won’t give it that much importance.  Ostensibly aimed at high school and college students (it’s campus-ready!), the heavy use of glitter tells me that the true market is junior high.  Buzz is that Pink’s extra-small runs extra-small, making it the perfect place for a junior high girl to pick up her first thong. Again with the vomit. Also, we will not be wearing pants with “LOVE PINK” stamped on the butt.  We will be clad in sensible underwear.  And the seats of our pants will have, you know, pockets or something.

Speaking of people who need to buy sensible underpants, I’m back to Britney.  Besides no longer being a teen sensation, Britney’s a little late on the whole teens-designing-for-teens thing.  Selena Gomez, Avril Lavigne, Miley Cyrus, Keke Palmer and Lourdes Leon (Madonna’s daughter) all have their own lines of clothing.

In a completely unscientific study, my twin nine-year-old girls (Cookie and the Pork Lo Maniac) and I reviewed several of the clothing lines marketed toward tweens and young teens. We looked at the clothing lines of Selena, Avril, Miley, Lourdes, and Britney; we also looked at clothing from Old Navy, Gap, and Justice (which used to be called Limited Too).

Here is what I learned from my fashion experts:

  • Tights under jeans are weird. And they make going to the bathroom more complicated than it needs to be.
  • Skorts are better than skirts in case you want to do cartwheels. Because no one should see your underpants.
  • Yellow is a bad color for pants.  Justice, we’re looking at you.
  • Avril Lavigne’s distressed skinny white jeans would make you look like a rock star.  For about 15 minutes.  And then you would probably spill your Capri Sun on them.
  • Britney’s bejeweled tops would make you look like Queen Amidala from Star Wars … only older and fancier.
  • When you stand around in your underwear with a big pink bear on your head, you look stupid.  Like, maybe your head is really warm, but the rest of you would get cold.
  • Miley Cyrus likes really tight pants and that just doesn’t look comfortable.
  • Old Navy has an awesome selection of Wonder Woman t-shirts.

The opinions ended there because then they started singing “we’re tweens, we’re tweens,” and then collapsed into a ridiculous giggle fit.

Here’s the Mom Report:

  • I am thrilled to pieces that my daughters feel that no one should see their underwear.
  • Keke Palmer deserves props for designing clothes that look cute, comfortable, and don’t give me the heebie-jeebies.
  • My kids might not like the tights-under-shorts look, but I like that Selena Gomez’ models are covered up.
  • Tight pants seem to make people pose with an awkward in-toeing that would make actual walking impossible and/or necessitate physical therapy.
  • Britney Spears is a stark. raving. mad. mommy. But not in the fun way that I am.  She’s got a whole “crazy eyes” thing going on.

The most important thing I learned from this project is that I am lucky enough that my “tweens” are really still little girls. I know some day they’ll want to wear clothes that I’ll find appalling (yes, I remember what I wore in 1989). Fortunately we’re not there yet, and I’m savoring every minute of this time.

Here’s the part I don’t get: Most tweens and young teens don’t have jobs and therefore don’t have tons of their own spending money.  I know they don’t drive themselves to Kohl’s. So who is buying girls this stuff?


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15 Comments »

  1. I am much encouraged and motivated to write articles for child rearing with your site. Thanks.

    Comment by jula — August 9, 2010 @ 3:28 am

  2. GROSSSSSS. GROSSSSSSS! Circus Fantasy! Britney “No Panties” “I Married and Procreated with K-Fed” “I Don’t Think We Need a Third” Spears is designing clothes for young girls? Ewww. Feeling relieved to only have boys.

    Comment by Nicole — August 9, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  3. I have been screaming this rant for two weeks. I have even heard myself mumble “go to school board and demand uniforms”. Not only is the clothing in the stores SKANK clothing – even if you did buy it for your child they couldn’t wear it to school anyway. (At least our school – who has a little bit of common sense). We looked through racks and racks at Kohls just a few nights ago. I felt like I needed to go home and shower when we were done. Seriously? Bootie shorts and skirts? Wear a pair of leggings underneath them? FOR WHAT? And the tops…oh another story right there. Most of the tops HAD to have a tankini or t-shirt worn under them because you could read the newspaper through the fabric. I’m not just blasting Kohls either. Let’s go to Old Navy, Forever 21, Aeropostle, American Eagle and some of the other stores that the kids love. Not that we can afford to buy a whole closet of clothes from these places – but what could you buy if you could afford it? We are 8 hours into clothes shopping. NOT because we need a new wardrobe but because we have “grown” and need SOMETHING to wear. We have 3 shirts and 2 pairs of jeans. JEANS. Did I say JEANS? Yes – 2 pairs that do not have so many holes in them that actually could be called clothing because I refuse (and the school would not allow it anyway) to pay for a pair of pants with more holes than fabric so that I can purchase a pair of tights to go under them. Do I look like a walking money tree? Let’s buy two tops and two pants to cover up that we are wearing see through, bust showing, hole ridden clothing?

    Ok – ranting done. Thanks for letting me vent.

    Comment by Psychomomi — August 9, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  4. [...] Granted, we don’t do the mall thing very often, but we did venture out this past weekend in search of new black dress shoes x 4 and one new top for each girl. What we found was mostly tops in which the knit was see-through thin or skin-tight. It took several stores to find four tops that met our criteria for modest clothing: decent cut at the neck, not so thin on the fabric, breathing room all the way around. And this doesn’t even account for what this mom refers to as the new “Skantastic” line of clothing for tweens. [...]

    Pingback by Modesty Matters | MODsquad — August 11, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

  5. I came across this article via a random twitter link.

    I’m certainly not one to judge anything or anyone, and I’m not a parent (yet– though I hope to be one day). But I would be inclined to take the opinions of the author much more seriously if she didn’t start off with ad hominem attacks on a random celebrity whom she has never met.

    Also, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this whole article reeks of slut-shaming. Slut-shaming, for those unacquainted, is the act of putting down women who express their sexuality in order to make “purer” women feel superior. It’s the whole Madonna-Whore dichotomy in action.

    Now, I’m not one to think that nine year old girls should be dressing like 20 year olds. The sexualization of young girls is a whole different story. But I certainly don’t think it’s necessary to use words like “skanktastic” to describe girls who are buying into a scheme that the male-run media sells them day after day. The pressure to look a certain way, act a certain way, wear certain things is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. But addressed as a whole– through talking about these pressures and who wins and who loses when women and girls buy into them.

    All women are valuable. Regardless of whether they wear bikini tops or floor-length skirts. Or both at the same time. All women are valuable and deserve to be treated with respect. And that’s the lesson I hope to teach my future-daughters one day. Then, with that in their pockets, they can make their own wise decisions about what to wear, how to act, and who to be.

    I don’t mean to barge in on anyone’s parade, but that’s just my two cents.

    Comment by Christina — August 6, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  6. Dear Christina,

    Thanks for reading and commenting on my year-old post after clicking on a random link and/or searching Twitter feeds for the word “skank.”

    I hear what you’re saying, and agree that all girls and women (and boys and men) are valuable. And yes, I am well-acquainted with the term “slut-shaming,” because I tend to make up words like skankeriffic and skanktastic, and some people find that offensive. However, I find the selection of platform heels in sizes to fit my seven-year-old daughter far more offensive than the word “skanktastic.”

    Also, I’m a humor writer, and those words make me laugh. Other words I like to use include douchetacular, SelfRighteousFest2011, and trollicious.

    Thanks for your feedback! Have a rainbow day, and keep enjoying your thesaurus.

    xoxo,
    stark. raving. mad. mommy.

    Comment by stark. raving. mad. mommy. — August 7, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  7. Hey does anyone know where the “My Amish Fashions” store is? That’s where I want to take my 3 tween girls school clothes shopping….

    Comment by Tawna — August 7, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  8. Christina doesn’t have daughters (yet, or maybe ever). Christina needs to stop talking now.

    Comment by sarah gann — August 7, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  9. You don’t have daughters. EXACTLY.

    Comment by Fiona — August 7, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  10. “All women are valuable. Regardless of whether they wear bikini tops or floor-length skirts. Or both at the same time. All women are valuable and deserve to be treated with respect.”

    Point made….she said it herself…WOMEN. NOT our young daughters!! When you can drive to the store and purchase your own clothes, you may dress as you see fit, however THIS mom is in no way, shape or form contributing to the over-sexed, SKANKTASTIC fashion designs. Yup, I said it, and it is ever so true. Right on stark.raving.mad.mommy!!!

    Comment by Shannon — August 7, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  11. Cristina, I respect and admire your willingness to stand by your beliefs. Good for you for taking action to speak your mind. However, I feel that your opinion on this matter will change greatly once you do have children. Everyone deserves respect but, it is something that is earned and not a inalienable right. With that in mind, celebrities who also wish to be idolized should know that being idolized comes with responsibilities. If you wish to be a role model, act accordingly. Selena Gomez, Miranda Cosgrove, Amanda Bynes and such have successful careers and are appropriate in their actions and manage to dress fashionably without any skank factor at all. Britney Spears? Ultra skank in her appearance. She may be an absolutely lovely person but just as she’s made money on her image, she then defines herself by her image. And that image (which is her choice) equals SKANK.

    Believe me when I say that once you are a Mom, your views WILL change. We all have the same epiphany after giving birth, “Damn it! Mom was right all along.” You’ll see………

    Comment by Knittingnurse — August 7, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  12. being confident about your sexual self is a wonderful thing. dressing like a skank is not confidence in your sexual self. If anything, it is the opposite; being ashamed of your non-sexual self and choosing to rely solely on your sexual appeal. My sexual appeal is something I don’t concern myself with, because that has to do with other people and their perceptions. My confidence in my sexual self is a whole nother matter.

    If you really dressing like trash such as Britney and other insecure self-deprecating GIRLS do is somehow akin to being a sexually confident and self-assured woman, I urge you to learn more psychology. In sociological terms, the word “tramp stamp” is adept; marking yourself clearly to the world “I have no identity to feel sure about so I present my body to you for sexual consumption instead”

    Do not confuse the pathetic attempt to cover up one’s lack of intrinsic identity with being a “confident slut”

    I am a confident slut. I am neither ashamed nor bragging of my sexual self. Britney Spears however, seems to believe there is nothing BUT sexual in a woman’s self. Calling her on that is not slut-shaming in the least. It’s challenging the notion that sexuality=skankiness. It doesn’t.

    Comment by smibbo — August 7, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  13. ^WSS^ Bravo Smibbo. I am a pretty sexually confident woman. Just ask my happy husband. I would never wear any of this skank wear. Sorry you can’t defend this. So glad we homeschool and I can skip bts.shopping. (hugs) to all the moms out there at tge mall thinking “wtf? Wheres tge fabric

    Comment by Sarah — August 7, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

  14. Aww, c’mon now! Those junior high girls like to party, too! And they want it hit just as much as those junior high boys want to hit it! Don’t worry, it’s probably just the latest fad, and will wear off just like those temporary tramp-stamp tattoos your daughters can get at the mall. That bun in the oven she’ll be sporting after she makes the rouns with the junior high boys varsity will be somewhat more permanent…but you wanted grandkids anyway, right?

    Comment by Thumper — August 7, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

  15. Let’s apply a little critical thinking here, shall we?

    A. Britney Spears is not a “random celebrity” in this context. She is someone who is designing, marketing and, sadly, selling very revealing clothing to very young girls who have no idea what the world thinks of them when they wear these clothes. They just want to be like Britney cuz, like, OMG, she’s SO cool!!! (Especially cool when she’s photographed smoking while pregnant. EXCELLENT role model.)
    Regardless of whether the world’s opinion of them in these clothes is valid or humiliating or insulting or “slut-shaming”, preteens are to young to engage in that debate. Yet by wearing those clothes they are unknowing thrown smack in the middle of it. The point here is the safety -emotional and physical – of young girls. You question a mother’s right to defend that? Would you say SRMM was making an “ad hominem attack on a random celebrity she’s never met” if she went off on the man who kidnapped Jaycee Dugard? I hardly think first person knowledge of someone, *in the face of concrete evidence*, is necessary in order to form a valid opinion of that person.

    B. The word “skanktastic” was not, in fact, being applied to the *little girls* who wear the overly sexualized clothing offered to them. The word was being applied to the CLOTHING. Mmmk?? If you’re going to get all up in arms about something, make sure you know what you’re outraged about first.

    Comment by Michele — August 8, 2011 @ 10:06 am

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