Deep necklines, short skirts, off the shoulder shirts and suggestive innuendos on tees are popular fashion trends for women today. For women, these clothes can even promote sexual liberation and empowerment for those comfortable with their bodies. Although these choices are acceptable among mature sexual women, it is not okay to push the same trends on young girls before they can even understand why it is they are wearing them. The term “sexualize” means “to render something or someone sexual” which implies that this act is being done without consent or permission. According to the APA, “sexualization” is the inappropriate imposition of sexuality upon a person whether through objectification, overvaluing or -emphasizing the person’s appearance and/or sexual behavior. This is especially true with the shift in clothing for young girls where clothing companies manufacture girl’s clothing that fits the definition many researchers consider sexualized such as clothing with suggestive writing, or that emphasize certain body parts. Clothing companies are sexualizing young girls without their permission even if the girls do not wear the clothing. Young girls are still being subjected to the images in store windows, clothing ads, the media, and to the idea which is being put out by these types of companies. It could be argued that when a company knowingly creates children’s clothing of a sexual nature they are sending a message that it is acceptable to view female children as sexual objects.
The suffix “ize” means to make something. Thereby proving the irrefutable point that children are not sexual beings unless someone or something acts against them to alter that perception. Sexualize can also mean to cause someone or something to become aware of their own sexuality. Multiple studies on the subject have concluded that young girls who are sexualized suffer from low self-esteem, do not perform well in school, and often do not measure up compared to boys of the same age. The word sexual when taken at its root means associated with sex. So when you sexualize young girls by marketing suggestive clothing to them and use them in media campaigns, you are literally asking everyone that comes into contact with the end product to view that child wearing the clothes or portrayed in the ad to associate that child with sex. Having sexual relations with a child is both immoral and illegal therefore there should be consequences to knowingly, and for profit, offer a child for the purpose of sex even if it is just in the mind of potential viewers of the child.