Thursday, May 10, 2012

Infantalizing, Overreacting, or Just Your Perverted Mind?

Some of the bloggers I mentioned in my previous post are so young and I wonder what that means? Do you think many of us start off being socialized to be girly/feminine and then some of us either due to education about feminism, peer pressure to appear older, or as a form of rebellion we start rejecting the uber feminine? Is that why many modern women dress in a way that is less feminine than perhaps teenagers? Why do we save looking girly for special occasions like weddings, balls, or awards ceremonies (e.g., look at the Oscars)? If we look at Western countries, children's clothing is a market and somewhere someone came up with the idea for unique girls's clothes and people bought it. Girls' clothes tend to be less expensive because they are quickly outgrown, some have logos and references to television and movie characters (walking billboards for marketing), and they are more suitable for playing. If we focus on teenaged girls, some dress more like women and some dress more like younger girls. But once you hit puberty and you are able to carry a child you are technically a woman physically (not mentally) so shouldn't you dress like a woman? Other than being smaller in size, many teenaged girls have the same bodies as grown women. I know that's VERY controversial but really, if our life expectancy was 35-40 it would be normal for teenaged girls to get married and have kids (I AM NOT SAYING THEY SHOULD DO THAT NOW so relax).  I think making unique clothes for teens allows for them to wear clothes that show their rebellious side, teen trends, clothing that is inappropriate for the workplace, or clothes that alert society that they are "underage" so don't treat them like grown women. I think that is a good thing but it is something that Western society has promoted that other countries may not see as necessary.

If we look at other cultures or eras women's attire didn't look much different from girls attire (other than being longer and more elaborate) and it definitely wasn't more masculine. If you notice in the photos below the children actually look like mini versions of women and their clothing and the only thing that makes the clothes "childish" is the size ( however, maybe in those cultures or eras there are subtle differences that make it easy for  people in those cultures/eras to tell the differences that I am unable to see). I wonder if it's because in some countries today and in past eras young girls were actually eligible for marriage so they were actually prospects for older men? Were girls dressed to be attractive for men or was the idea of dressing girls differently unnecessary to them?

From Pride and Prejudice. The mother is dressed more elaborately than  her daughters but they all look very feminine and all but the one on the right are in pastel colours.
From Marie Antoinette. Notice the adorable bows on Kirsten Dunst's dress! The little girls behind her are wearing smaller versions of adult dresses. All of the colours are light and pastel. 

Why is it now that women are expected to look so much different from girls and if women dress in a younger fashion some people will actually say "that's sick"? On some women's websites I've heard criticism that women should not dress like girls because it "infantalizes them" because it makes them appear young, childlike and I suppose naive, innocent, powerless and incapable as women. I guess they think you can only be taken seriously if you are of a certain age...isn't that ageism? Should all girls wear pantsuits so that they will be taken seriously? The problem isn't the women wearing pretty dresses it's that people (including feminist women) are prejudiced and associate that with a lack of intelligence and worth. Some women work with mostly other women or in a more casual atmosphere so they can wear flower dresses it wouldn't matter. I need to see studies that say women who dress in a feminine manner are overlooked for promotions, jobs, and opportunities and more prone to negative life outcomes before I believe it is harmful.

Another argument is that it appeals to a pedophillic nature in men and confuses them!? I really don't know but is there proof of this? I hear this argument on feminist blogs but why are they so certain that the average man can't tell the difference between a girl and a woman? I think they are assuming that clothing or childish behaviour somehow triggers pedophilia but I need scientific proof of that. I think if a man is a pedophile then it won't matter what a girl is wearing (lingerie is different though because it is meant to be sexy and only women ever wear that so I don't think little girls should wear garters or thongs.). If you're a man turned on by child pageants then you are a pedophile and it's not because the girls are wearing makeup and big hair! If a man thinks he's pursuing a woman, finds out she's a girl, and doesn't stop then that is a pedophile. However, I don't think men are perverts for finding teenaged girls to be's just biology and it's not a crime to have thoughts only to act on them. If a man is attracted to a women dressed like she is younger I don't think that makes him a pedophile either because he is still with a GROWN WOMAN and he chose a woman! But if a woman is actually "pretending to be a child" then it may cross the line (i.e., speaking improperly like a 3 year old, calling him daddy, thumb sucking etc.). I mean really though, should women even be considering pedophiles at all when they go shopping and get dressed in the morning???

I think that pretending to be a girl is the big difference...women who wear pastels and flirty dresses are not actually pretending to be girls, they are just dressing in a style that is more common for younger women or girls. 28 year old women do not want to be mistaken for 13 year olds (maybe someone 22 though). Some girls actually look older like women because of their height, development, weight, and style of dress. So sometimes it's hard to tell a female person's age but that's just life. Black and Asian women often look younger than their age anyway and women between 16-35 can all appear to be 23!

Last of all, some women are angry because society places pressure on them to look young and beautiful. Well you can play the game or sit out and accept the consequences. You won't convince anyone to choose a bran muffin over chocolate cake when they really want chocolate cake and it's available. Your Jedi mind trick will not change men's preferences. You don't have to make yourself look good if you don't want to but you are not better than the rest of us because of that. If we want to be fair then women should place more pressure on men to look good and spend more time making themselves look attractive! Only date guys who have nice hair (or Hairclub for men, I don't mind it lol), work out, don't have pot bellies, shave their faces and body hair, wear sunscreen and wrinkle cream, have clean, neat fingernails, and smell good (lol those are my preferences!). I'd prefer it if men raised their appearance standards rather than women lowering theirs. People who don't care for appearance can find each other and be happy!

Take a look at the photos below. I love most of these fashions but some people think it's wrong for a grown woman to dress like this. What do you think?
Japanese Lolita style (Really extreme
and no I wouldn't wear this but I don't
think it should be demonized)

Related Articles:
The infantalization of women (disagree with this greatly)
Infantalizing women, sexualizing girlishness (disagree again...seriously women can't eat fruit or ice cream or wear frilly socks now!?)
Gothic Lolitas (interesting)
Femininity and infantalization


  1. "shave their body hair" as in you want a man who shaves ALL of his hair except the hair on his head? Even the hair on his arms and legs?!?! LOL I guess I just don't mind hair that much. :) I don't have a huge preference (I've dated more naturally hairy men and I've dated a competitive swimmer who shaved it all off) as long as he doesn't look like a gorilla. ;) I think I'd personally prefer some hair because it seems more masculine and shows sexual maturity but I can understand why some women don't like hair. It sometimes feels ticklish when you cuddle with them!

    Asian men in general don't have much hair... I don't know why? :/ I've always wanted to look into the anthropological background to see why Asian men don't have that much hair. You could look into dating Asian men if you don't like hair! :)

  2. Hi Nina,

    Lol! I suppose I'd limit it to shaving the torso not arms or legs. This again would be a dream come true but don't know if I'll meet someone who will actually shave or wax for me! I'm just not into body hair it's too...animal lol. Definitely not on the back areas or chest and usually the face.

  3. I love body hair on men! So sexy to me!

  4. Hi Elegance,

    I can understand lol! I don't mind some body hair as long as it's not reminiscent of a gorilla. ;) I'm okay with some hair on the chest as long as it's not a carpet! Some races of men (Middle Eastern) are just naturally hairy and have hair everywhere.

    I'd like no facial hair either, but for me, that's not because I'm unattracted to it, as much as that I just think that a clean-shaven look is more professional and gentlemanly. :) I guess facial hair like a mustache for older gentlemen can be professional as long as it's well-maintained, but no beards!

  5. Haha Genea reminded me that it doesn't matter whether or not we agree on an ideal amount of body hair for a man... what matters is not what other people think but what WE think and whether or not our man fits that. :) If a woman thinks body hair is sexy, then she should go for a man with body hair. if a woman doesn't like it, then she should go for a less hairy man. it doesn't matter what other people think because after all, she's the one sharing a bed with him!