I’m being lazy today so, rather than write my own thoughts on this issue, I’m pasting an excerpt from an article in the Guardian:
This is an economic imperative, pure and simple. It makes sound business sense to identify tweenaged girls’ image-related anxieties and offer them the clothes, cosmetics and pop culture characters they envy of their older sisters in order to set them on the consumer escalator that will keep them insecure and over-spending well into adulthood. But it is also a corrosive imperative that eats away at fundamental aspects of a young girl’s personhood: her sense of self, her ambitions, and her most intimate relationships.
. . .
[B]oys like girls who wear short skirts and shorts tops, and even in winter they don’t like baggy clothes, it’s tight tops and skinny jeans . . .. ‘You don’t dress for yourself, it’s more for other people.'”
. . .
But this internal surveillance has been well and truly co-opted by the market. And the pornification of that market means attractiveness of girls and women is now synonymous with sexiness, while sexiness is synonymous with performance rather than actual pleasure. This cultural sexism has significantly shifted the terms of reference for young women. A research analysis undertaken by Women in Journalism this year found that, while primary school girls were happy to imagine themselves as the next prime minister, aspirations shrunk with age to dwell around the appearance-dependent occupations of modelling, pop singing and generic celebrity. Beneath the patina of sisters-sexing-it-up-for-themselves, girls are encouraged to view one another as rivals for male attention rather than as allies.”
Read the full article here.