Who’s to blame if kids “look like tramps?”

// 6 May 2011

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Thanks to Mel J’s post “So when will we stop pimping our kids?”. To continue on this line, I’ve just found a CNN interview of LZ Granderson responding to comments on his article “Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps“.

The video, is LZ Granderson responding to people’s comments about his article. His basic premise is that you can’t blame pop media culture or blame corporations (as they’re run by parent’s dollars).

I’m not sure you can put the way children’s dress 100% responsibility on the parents, but I appreciate how LZ Granderson is asking parents to take MORE responsibility than none.

Check out the video here.

Comments From You

Anna // Posted 6 May 2011 at 11:38 am

It’s pressure from a male dominated, patriarchal society that is to blame. The parents, especially the moms, are innocent victims. Men are to blame. By putting pressure on women to look at certain way, they are the ones who control what women and children wear.

Holly Combe // Posted 6 May 2011 at 11:44 am

I agree with what LZ Granderson says at the end of the clip about the importance of taking the time to talk with children but I do wish he had avoided using the slut-shaming term “tramps”. It’s really unhelpful because it blurs the line between making pertinent points about parents playing their part in resisting the pressures that raunch culture often places on children and making moral judgments about the way people choose to dress and live their lives. It puts out the message that there are bad women out there who flaunt their sexuality in a manner that makes them deserving of scorn and derision. This, IMO, is not something we should be teaching children.

I think the push and pull between asking individuals to take more responsibility and “blasting companies” is a tricky issue to navigate (and I agree with what you say at the end). However, by and large, I do get the impression that Granderson is going down a rather right wing route that leaves big business free to do whatever it likes, while individuals get chastised at every turn for not towing the line.

Liene // Posted 6 May 2011 at 11:48 am

I really wanted to find how to comment directly to LZ Granderson, but couldn’t. There is definitely a problem in kid-pimping, but i don’t think you can blame the parents and say that business is supported by customer. It isn’t always, for business to exist, it has to invent more and more ways to get out cash. Sometimes a problem has to be invented so that the product can be marketed as the solution. Of course we can choose not to buy it, but let’s forget about the kids for a minute. What about us? Do we have a choice? Aren’t we influenced by media in ways that we don’t imagine? I have lived my life alienated from my body and still struggle to understand why my sex plays so important role in everything‚Ķ Why women in politics are discussed in visual terms, why I am being told that wrinkles aren’t good?

Jennifer Drew // Posted 6 May 2011 at 12:17 pm

Why oh why do we have advertising if according to LG Ganderson it is ‘parents’ meaning of course mothers who are responsible for turning their female children into men’s dehumanised sexualised commodities? Corporate businesses know advertising works to entice consumers (sic) to purchase their products.

A neat denial by LG Ganderson who refuses to hold corporate businesses which are predominantly male-owned responsible for promoting lies women and girls are men’s sexualised commodities.

Yet again it is not ‘children’ being sold the misogynistic lie they are men’s sexual service stations – it is girls – see the photo for evidence. I do not see boys turned into dehumanised sexual service stations.

But as always blame individuals rather than our male supremacist society which believes ‘free market’ is fine as long as it is in men’s interests and promotes the misogynistic lie that women and girls are dehumanised sexual service stations.

What’s the answer? Hold the multi-national corporations accountable and also politicians who are predominantly male and believe ‘free market forces’ are fine as long as men as a group are not the ones being sexually exploited. Remember there is never any problem unless the issue concerns males and since it does not – then there is no social problem is there?

But bottom line as always is profit supercedes women’s and girls’ rights not to be reduced to men’s dehumanised sexual service stations. That is why the campaign organisation Object is constantly subjected to ridicule and contempt because they dare to challenge our women-hating society.

Me // Posted 6 May 2011 at 12:21 pm

You cannot completely blame parents because they aren’t 100% responsible, kids will always modify their outfits if they don’t ‘fit in’ or look how they want. For example, our skirts at school were brough regulation length, we would always hike and roll them up as high as we wanted them. Skirts brought by mum=knee length, skirt rolled up by us to higher up. Not the parents fault.

The problem is us, society as a whole in certain cultures. Not all cultures have a ‘kid pimping’ thing going on but all cultures have their own problems because of one simple premise: us, society, the way we all act and raise our kids to act the same. The way we aren’t united in agreeing how things should be, the fact we argue about this and teach kids different things but how, ultimately, majority rules and buisenesses will cash in and promote said majorities wishes.

i agree with this guy that it isn’t about blaming all companies, but they have to take responsibiltiy for helping promote it and tempt the kids. The parents have to take some responsibility too, but so do the companies.

For example: When it comes to alcohol and alcoholics and binge drinking, only muppets would *completely* blame the companies that sell alcohol-the people buying have to take some reponsibility too, just as parents do here- however it is their responsibility (companies and pubs) to ensure they sell to overage teens, that pubs do not sell alcohol to those who are already obviously drunk and that prices are not *so* low that theyy encourage overdrinking.

MarinaS // Posted 6 May 2011 at 2:27 pm

“Fault”? “Tramps”? I’d understand if we were asking “who has most influence over children’s clothing choices?”, but this video starts from the problem (girls dressing in a way that the speaker doesn’t approve of), and then looks for where to place the blame.

Personally I’d prefer to frame the question as “whose fault is it that girls can’t wear whatever the heck they choose without causing all this outrage?”.


(A: Patriarchy)

peace // Posted 6 May 2011 at 4:07 pm

i am sorry but i think some of the blame should be placed on the parents (not always mothers btw). how can any sane person let their young daughters dress in those horrible outfits in the above pic. those parents had a choice, they were not forced to purchase those outfits. my parents would never allow me to step out of the house like that.

Ruth // Posted 6 May 2011 at 8:38 pm


I do not think we can deny adult women agency and paint them as helpless victims who can do nothing but passively follow cultural pressures. Plenty of us manage to question and resist the social norms of the majority in various ways, would it not be better to support and enable more of that resistance than just go “they can’t help it, it’s all men’s fault” which IMO is too simplisitic an analysis in any case and feels a bit like throwing one’s hands up in despair.

Me: it’s quite a bit of a stretch from rolling up your skirt a few inches to dressing entirely as if one is 10-15 years older than one is and working in a lapdancing club/on the pull in Ibiza. That’s not modification, parents buy and approve the whole outfit one assumes, especially if one is talking say, under 11s.

Mercy // Posted 6 May 2011 at 8:57 pm

On the flipside my daughter wears boys’ clothes because the ‘girls’ clothes on offer are too pink or sexualised for her to wear. When I ask at stores why they can’t cater for tomboys, I get told the buyers can’t find clothes suitable for tomboys. How can that be my fault as a parent??

The problem is the lack of choice. Children only reflect the values of the society they grow up in. They will always modify clothes, slash clothes at friends’ houses/school lockers to change into to reflect whatever’s trendy or being splashed over the media so if we don’t like what our kids are wearing, society needs to change the messages it sends to children about what to wear.

Mary Tracy // Posted 7 May 2011 at 3:56 pm

So, corporations and big businesses spend millions trying to influence children’s thoughts and behaviours, and when they turn out exactly the way they wanted, the blame is placed on the parents? How does that work?

Let’s remove the question of blame for a moment and ask “who benefits from this”? Do parents gain something from dressing their children as “tramps”? Or do corporations gain anything?

Blamint the parents is a diversionary tactic to keep everyone from asking “hang on, who is peddling this propaganda?”. In the 70s and 80s it was parents’ fault if children spent too much time watching telly, not the fault of the people making tv aimed at children.

Eventually we have to stop asking “who controls the children” and ask “who controls society”. Because children may “come” from their parents, but they have no choice but to adapt to the society they live in.

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