Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Madonna’s Teen Girl Fashion — Helpful to Women?

October 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Activism, Media Literacy

This is a letter from one mom to another and I’m talking to you Madonna! Material Girl, let’s talk about your new mom/daughter fashion collaboration aimed at teen girls, named Material Girl, inspired by your 13-year-old, Lourdes, and fronted by Taylor Momsen as spokes model.

I’m struggling to get my head around how this collection of crop tops, bum-skimming skirts, slashed tops and fishnets is aimed at teens.

We are used to seeing your Madge-sty get out and about in this kind of risqué get up but what were you thinking in encouraging Lourdes, (WHO IS 13) as well as all other girls her age to adopt this …..ummmmm…style?

Madonna, you are a pop icon, so dressing to get attention is part of the gig. I get that. But what I find hard to get my head around is that you’re also a mom, of a young and impressionable 13-year-old. So, with your mom hat vs pop icon hat on…what’s the deal in trying to encourage girls to dress like, well, you? One thing to be a woman dressing in sexed up gear but quite another to say, hey you young pre-pubescent teen, time to get you looking all sexy! A big WHAT THE????

As a mom I would have hoped that you would get that these young girls are facing a barrage of overt sexualisation in advertising and media and it’s leaving them totally confused! The American Psychological Society has created a taskforce to tackle this issue…such is the scope of this as a MAJOR issue for young girls today.

Do you not get it Madonna? As a mom of a teen are you not aware of the impact this sexualisation is having on young girls? Apparently not!

Because not only is the collection about encouraging girls to dress beyond their years but then you choose 17-year-old Gossip Girl Taylor Momsen as the model and spokesperson, styling and directing her in an advertising campaign that screams sexuality.

Let’s start with Taylor. She is known for her surly attitude, her grungy get up, with a permanent cigarette dangling from her mouth and her mega racoon eyes challenging anyone who would dare to question whether she checked in the mirror before leaving the house that morning? Not to mention that she has gone from a healthy looking girl to a scarily skinny girl that looks to be in desperate need of a good feed.

Ummmm….how does Taylor speak positive to young girls about body image, self esteem, health???? Do you seriously consider her a positive role model for Lourdes? Surely, Madge, you get that celebrity has major influence in terms of role modelling? I mean, this from the woman, who sparked a frenzy of girls wearing underwear as outerwear in the ‘80s You get that your celebrity, combined with the burgeoning intrigue in your teen daughter and the celebrity of Momsen is going to be getting young girls reeled in hook, line and sinker. The launch at Macy’s in New York, with teen girls snaked around the block, trying to be the first to get a bit of Material Girl is testament to that.

How, as a mom, did you not think about your influence and how you can use that to promote girls looking like girls and not like, well, you in your heyday?

And, the advertising campaign with Momsen, which you were instrumental in directing, sees 17-year-old Taylor bondage-esque hanging onto chains as she sits with legs akimbo in a barely bum-covering skirt.

I may point out, there are some cute dresses and skirts in the collection befitting a 13-year-old, but the styling for the shoot, directed by you Madge, is all about sexy.

At a time when girls are overtly sexualised leaving their self esteem battered, making them more vulnerable than ever to depression, eating disorders, and even suicide, I would have hoped that you would have used your incredible power and influence to set in motion a movement that embraces young girls looking like and acting like, well, young girls. Why not create clothing that is cute vs sexy or style the advertising campaign in a way that sends out positive messages about girl power?

In case you’re missing all the noise out there about teen girls and the impact that media and sexualisation is having on them, Madonna, (although I would have thought as a mom of teen girl you would be on top of all that) here’s some facts.

A report released today by La Trobe University, Australia, shows that more teen girls than boys are having sex and that the percentage of 16-17 year old girls surveyed with 3 or more sexual partners in the past year had more than doubled from 12.9% to 27.2%! Not surprisingly, sexual diseases have also risen! Where do you think they are getting this from? That would be the raunch culture they are faced with daily. A culture that leaves them feeling their value is in their sexual appeal and behaviour.

Did you know, Madge, that up to 81% of music videos sexually objectify women in them, or that 15% of songs contain sexually degrading lyrics, or that 40% of ads featured women as decorative objects. Get the picture? Girls cannot escape this sexualisation…it is everywhere.

It begs the question? Why? When you could have such an incredible positive influence on how girls see themselves and on this whole issue of their sexualisation you choose to promote it and flaunt and in the process encourage young girls to do exactly that!



4 Responses to “Madonna’s Teen Girl Fashion — Helpful to Women?”
  1. .C. says:

    Actually, I would far more blame the rate of unprotected sex (and therefore, venereal disease) in younger girls to the rates of abstinence only education forced on us by right wing, anti sex politicians. Why don’t we focus on changing that, which I would argue could matter a hell of a lot more than someone’s clothing?


    • Simone Lovelace says:

      The problem with seuxalizing children, as I understand it, isn’t that it necessarily leads to promiscuity later in life. The problem is that if kids and young teens start performing sexuality and “sexiness” before they have a good understand of what sexuality means, they learn to view sexuality primarily as a performance. Corsets for 13-year-olds don’t necessarily lead to condomless, drunken orgies. But they can lead to young women who value having a “sexy” appearance more then they value their own pleasure. And that’s a real problem.

      • ja says:

        That outfit with garter belt and lingirie is too much for say like children to like at least 18 or older—That is more for a pop star or bedroom wear—-Some other outfits may be less risque but lingirie and garters for young teen girls–no—-I can see the material girl look but not garters with lingirie and thats it–no——I love Madonna—She should work with Lourdes more on clothing line–I think she is letting Lourdes handle most of it—-These outfits here are better for Lovers Lane or Victorias secret not to target teens—I think this clothing line will fail if thats how it is being used to target teens—-Lourdes needs some business advice—

  2. Chelsea says:

    At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, when I was growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s, the only women/teenagers who wore outfits like that were prostitutes or didn’t mind being mistaken for one. It’s insane how sexualized clothing is for the teen and even tween set. Adolescence is hard enough without seeing yet another marketing campaign that teaches our girls they should be skinny, hang all the body parts out that they can, and only then will they be cool. I doubt Madonna gives a damn but other moms (and dads) should.

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