The invasion of the prostitots

photo courtesty of

photo courtesty of

photo courtesty of

A recent survey found that four out of five Tam females feel that how they choose to dress affects the way that they are treated or valued. This is no surprise. The fashion, beauty and advertising industries prey on peoples’ insecurities, none more so than women’s. Pop culture and media teach women and girls that to be feminine is to be youthful and sexy, rather than intelligent, creative or socially active, and that being desired and viewed sexually by men should be a primary and even empowering goal.

Some sex myths and advertising in the media encourage girls and women to appear sexually available, despite very real sexual dangers and threats. These myths are being driven into the heads of young girls through marketing products like “Bratz” dolls, thongs for elementary school girls, push up bras for tweens, and pole-dancing kits for six-year-olds. Such merchandise and media exposure have led to the advent of a gross and horrifying spectacle: the prostitot—a toddler to twelve-year-old female who has the appearance of a Cambodian sex worker and the personality of an uber-bitch off a teen drama.

Every experience I’ve had with a prostitot has been negative. When I was 15, I went horse back riding with my friend Ellie, her younger sister, and her younger sister’s friend. The young girls were 11 or 12, but both wore sparkly lip gloss, dark mascara, and accented their streaky lashes with poorly applied blue and purple eye shadow. At the age of 15, neither Ellie nor I wore makeup often, and especially not while horseback riding. The younger friend was a snot. She showed off to Ellie’s sister by being rude and catty to us. I tried to speak respectfully and authoritatively to her, but by the end of the day, I was restraining myself from curb- stomping her into a pile of glittery purple dust.

Perhaps prostitots’ mothers and fathers think they’re cute in short shorts that emphasize their stork-like legs, with their bubblegum pink lip gloss and poorly applied mascara, but I find them to be symbols of exactly what is wrong with the media’s portrayal of young women today. These girls are unknowingly or naively emulating older girls, who are in turn emulating fake versions of women who emphasize hotness over substance.

Looking over photos of his younger brother’s friends at a bar mitzvah one friend said, “Ugh, oh god. They need to not wear things like that.”

And to the girls of Tam High—I’m all about you owning your sexuality and being confident, but when you wear shorts so short that the pockets hang out and I can see where you shave, you’re setting a poor example.

If you have younger siblings or are a regular babysitter of young girls, make sure the kids aren’t watching shows that depict girls running around in outfits that are traditionally worn by strippers and sex workers. Think the Winx clubs tiny outfits, or most of the female anime characters you’ve seen. Hell, think about the Disney princess characters: all are built to proportions similar to a Barbie, save Mulan, and she’s still slender. In fact, Disney markets a series of make-up and make-up application videos that show young girls how to do their makeup “like a princess,” while also providing low-cut dresses and clear plastic kitten heels.

Research shows that up until the age of seven, children help define their sexuality by picking up cues from their environment. So older siblings need to be positive fashion and beauty role models for the younger set, because the mainstream media is not. A new study conducted by the Parents Television Council shows that Hollywood oversexualizes teen girls more than any other group.

Some may argue that baring their bodies, wearing stilettos and dressing sexually empower women. It’s easy to see the attractiveness in this argument—but young girls ages 14 and below are not likely to be aware of these subversive and purportedly liberating perspectives, nor the long feminist battle that permitted them at all. No offense to 14-year-olds, but young girls are hardly likely to be aware of the true nature of the attention they receive from adult men. I don’t feel that middle schoolers or freshmen have the maturity, education or mental processes and emotional strongholds to be engaging in casual sexual behavior.

Maybe I’m wrong but when it comes to the bottom line, equating beauty and even girl power with sexualization that echoes prostitution is not empowering. It is degrading and harmful. I don’t think that the dolls marketed to elementary school girls need to be dressed like women in music videos or the models in soft-core pornography. It’s not appropriate that there are lingerie lines geared towards 11 to 13 year olds or underwear sold at Wal Mart in the juniors section that bears the legend, “who needs credit cards?..” across the crotch. The beauty and fashion spheres don’t care that they’re turning young girls into sex bait, encouraging negative body image and sex stereotypes, instead of healthy, balanced sexual relationships: they care about the money.

I feel sorry for my peers and adult women who are preyed on by insecurities, and the men and boys who are affected by sex stereotypes as well, but I feel the most sorry for the prostitots. I feel sorry for little girls. In fact, I want to save them. Kill them. Whatever it is I want to do, I want them to stop existing. I want the problems in our society that cause little girls to become fetishized to end, and I want girls to stop feeling like sexy is all they can be and what they have to be to be loved.

So girls—when you’re getting dressed, think about the message your clothing communicates. Think about how you want to be viewed, how you truly wish to express yourself and what ideas you want to communicate. Upperclassmen: remember that underclassmen imitate the trends that you perpetuate, and their younger siblings emulate them. I think people need to remember that school is a somewhat professional environment, and keep it a little classier. Perhaps some would argue that this is not necessary.

As one anonymous peer stated, “In high school, [revealing yourself] is equal to beauty.” But I disagree. I think it is time to reclaim childhood innocence for little girls, in a gentler, less sexualized version of beauty. It’s time to advocate for healthy, more accepting and realistic portrayals of body type and sexuality for both men and women. It’s time to put down the prostitot, and bring back the Playdoh.


Written by Jade Jones-Hawk. This article was originally published in the June issue.