The State of Children’s Clothes

Today I was walking through JC Penney, one of the stops on my search for a minifridge, and I saw a dress that caused me to pause. It was red, lacy, think maybe a high-low cut skirt. It was cute, something I would wear. Then I realized something; I was in the girls’ section, not even the juniors. Look over to the boys’ across the way and their clothes look age appropriate, the girls’…well, it all caused my to cringe.

A while ago I had read something comparing some short that are meant for a young girl and ones meant for a young boy, the boy’s most definitely longer and more age appropriate. The girl’s shorts were…well, they wouldn’t meet the ‘usual’ fingertip rule. The change happened after the children would get out of toddler clothes and, suddenly, girl’s shorts get shorter, and their dresses get to look more ‘grown up’. The clothes are meant for a figure the girls would not have as of yet, let alone a certain maturity. The clothes, even the non-dresses, clearly are not meant for playing, climbing, getting dirty. You know, things kids do. It looked as if, if you wanted to afford the young girl a chance to get dirty without ruining her nice clothes, you’d have to buy her what is counted as boys’ clothes. Now, I could get into the whole argument about segregating certain clothing articles, but I won’t because that’s a whole other thing. What I’m looking at as of the moment is how girls tend to, recently, have clothes that make them seem more grown up.

Often times people wonder why kids dress like they do now, mostly girls mind you (though sagging pants is awful for guys of any age, too), and why these girls try to pretend they are grown. When I was young, of course I liked to pretend I was older, but I still dressed like a kid. I had pants that weren’t tight, t-shirts, running shoes that may have lit up, and so on. Basically, besides the preferred colors and cartoon characters, my brother and I dressed the same. There were differences, of course, like I had some clothes (based on what selections were available, mind you) that were bejeweled, more often pink, and generally ‘lighter’ more ‘feminine’ colors. My brother had no such choices, not that he wanted those clothes, but still. There was still sex segregation, but none of my clothes, or dresses, look like they are made now.

I couldn’t find the dress I had seen, but this one I’m adding below is just as bad.

Girl Dress

It’s labeled for girls ages 7-16. Now, 16 isn’t that bad, but 7? What seven year old needs to/wants to dress like they’re about to go to a business meeting? The belt, too, looks like it’s meant to accentuate hips, which most seven year old do not have. Some do, yes, but not most. Though, I will admit, the belt is just a nice tie-in when it comes to the top and bottom halves of the dress. I’m not sure on the ruffles at the top, but that could just be me, I know. The bottom half, that on the other hand, is looking to be tight. Most seven year old girls are still hyper little balls of energy. How the hell is that skirt going to allow for much movement? I think I may be right in saying that it won’t. It looks nice, don’t get me wrong, if it came in my size I would probably wear it. But that’s the thing. I shouldn’t want to wear what is meant for little girls.

There seems to be more of a blending between older and younger girl clothes recently. Ones meant for women my age generally accentuate certain areas of the body, which can be nice if you want that. Whereas girl’s clothes used to be more along the liens of what boy’s clothes look like; meant for running around, getting dirty, rather shapeless to fit in with the fact girls do not have curves until after puberty. (And, if you’re like me, you have little, subtle curves that take a bit to reveal.) But, now, girl’s clothes seem to fall more inline with what society deems ‘appropriate’ for older women; not running around, no dirt, no playing with worms, no climbing trees. And, if you do those things, you probably have to do some work to find clothes that would work for that or, as dreaded by most little girls who think boys are ‘icky’, wandering into the boy’s section. I hated simply standing in the boy’s section when I was little, and if that mentality carries over to now, well, that makes things difficult.

It really makes one wonder about our current thoughts of girl’s, and with all the attention on how women are decided upon based on their looks more often than not…it’s a bit disheartening to see this early sexualization of children. Especially little girls. We have dress codes that, in some, explicitly state that the dress code is meant so that boys will not be distracted. Because guys can’t handle their base desires, and girls are clearly responsible if someone decides to lay an unwanted hand, or more, on them. But how can one expect a girl to follow these rather awful rules (a running joke amongst my friends, guys and girls, in public middle and high school was ‘ooh, girl, look at that sexy shoulder. Gotta get me some’ just to give some perspective if the clothes are made to show off what most girls below the age of 13 do not have? yes, I am aware girls are maturing, physically faster due to various possibilities, but that doesn’t mean they have to dress ‘older’. If I had a daughter, you can bet I’d learn how to make clothes or drag her to the boy’s aisle if I didn’t find anything that seemed appropriate.

Basically, how these little adult ideologies are trickling down to children’s clothes is a little disheartening. I want to walk past clothes meant for a seven year old and think ‘cute, adorable’, not ‘if they had that in my size…’

Introversion vs. Extroversion

My mind is on this topic for a simple reason, really; last night I went out to a club, and tonight some people I know are wanting to go out. Again. I can’t because I strongly can’t, so it’s PJ time for me. Next weekend, sure, if I wasn’t going to be home for break. This weekend? No, no way whatsoever. Funny enough, we had been speaking on introversion and extroversion recently in my psych class, and for those of you who may be unaware of the difference, here it is: extroversion is, basically, when someone can regain their energy form being around others and being around others uplifts their mood more than if they were on their own, while introversion is when someone needs to take alone time to recharge their batteries and can be happy on their own as much as when hanging out with others, sometimes more so. That’s not to say one is more social than the other, only that they get their energy form different places and one has more ‘stamina’ when it comes to going out night after night.

Now, it isn’t so much the socialization aspect that is in thought here, since extroverts can be recharged simply by going to someplace by themselves as much as with friends. it’s more so the effects that come from large, energetic groups or being on your own. I cannot say much for extroverts, as I can only speak form observation, and I am hardly a voice for all introverts, but I know how large groups affect me. One person, or a handful that I know, is one thing, but going off to some crowded something that involves more than just sitting, is likely to knock me down the next day. And if repeated, the effects will only build. Something else that comes from crowds for me is that my creativity takes a hit. I’m less likely to come up with anything novel after having been out and about, unless I’m in a ‘I want to be around people’ mood, which is rare.

This is purely speculation on my part, but is it not possible that, for both side of the coin, being in their respective settings helps their creativity? If someone is relaxed, they are more likely to be creative. If you are an extrovert, you may be more prone to creativity after coming home from some outing, or during said outing. If you are an introvert, you may be more likely to experience creativity after a nice day on your own or so. Granted it is suggested most people are actually in the middle of these two and the few who are one or the other are outliers, but I’m not entirely certain i agree with this theory. It has also been stipulated, that a few extroverts are really introverts but, because of how society prefers social interaction and participation, these people have ‘tricked’ themselves into thinking they are extroverts; even if they feel constantly run-down and in a not so great mood after being around crowds for a while. That theory may be correct, but it could possibly go either way really.

Even with those two possibilities, I do believe that one’s creativity levels are affected by the sort of person they are. And knowing if you are an introvert or extrovert can be rather helpful in the long run on deciding how to go about certain things in your life. Of course, following what feels right to you can help just as much without knowing if there is an exact name for this. It is also important to understand both sides of this coin. If you are an introvert, you should understand that while extroverts may seem a bit ‘much’ to you, it’s simply how they are, what they need. And if you are an extrovert, you should understand that introverts need that precious alone time that the current fast-paced, social world allows only so little of.

I could get into if virtual interaction, such as Second Life or World of Warcraft, is ‘really’ interaction and if it’ll tire out an introvert and give an extrovert their energy (I don’t think so, least roleplay does me better than large groups of people physically), or if there is a ‘norm’ between the two, and other such things, but there is quite a bit written on the subject. At least from the introvert side, so far only so much is written on extroverts. It would be nice, of course, if there was a healthy amount on both sides, but that is yet to be seen. What really needs to be known, for now, is that if you have friends or family who seem the opposite in some ways, it’s important you understand them and they understand you. Else, you’re friendship/familial relationship won’t work too well.

Adopting Pets

For some reason I’ve been thinking about strays and adopting and all that recently, which has me think of my first dog. I can still remember it near perfect how it was when I first got her. I was maybe about seven, and my family and I went over to a neighbor’s house, the guy being pretty much like an uncle to my brother and I. I don’t know how long it was until I asked where the bathroom was, got directions, and…went tot eh wrong room. I saw a Tweety Bird hanging on the outside of the door, assumed it was the bathroom because my favorite cartoon character was there or so, opened the door and out ran a black and brown dog into the living room. I of course followed. My brother and I pretty much fawned over her and how fluffy she was and how sweet. Considering how old she was, maybe eight or ten by then, it really was amazing how sweet and responding she was to us. My sorta-kinda uncle explained to us how he found her on the road, after having been hit by a car. How he took her in and might have to get rid of her.

And cue the pleading form my brother and I if we could keep her. Our parents said to ask Mr. J (that’s what I’ll call him for now), and we did. And…well, we brought Gypsy home with us. Of course my parents had known ahead of time about the dog and had already said they’d take her and all, but still. Gypsy really was much too sweet for her age, especially with how we were pretty sure she had been living on the street for a while; some of her habits made it obvious. Yes, she clearly had lived with people at some point, but not for a while. Her teeth were a giveaway…and how she may have eaten a baby squirrel once also was a giveaway. But she put up with me and my brother and only really snapped at either of us (my brother) when she was a few years older and had gray on her muzzle and elsewhere. And then, by some miracle and a dog jumping our fence, Gypsy gave us another little furry baby; my current dog, Oreo.

Gypsy clearly loved us. She lived a long time, much longer than most dogs do, for one. And, well, the day that it became evident she was at the end of it all, she waited for my dad to get home. She wanted to say goodbye to each of us, clearly, and she waited for him to come home and see her before she…left. It still makes me tear up now, because she was my childhood pet and I loved her dearly, but the fact she waited for us all… It makes me know that she loved us as much as we loved her.

People tend to not want to adopt older animals, and I get that. But…sometimes they are the sweetest things and the ones that need the most love. Don’t get me wrong, adopting younger dogs is a great thing, too, but people shouldn’t shy away from the older ones because they think they won’t adjust so well. They will. Dogs, well, they’re like people almost. They want love. Yes, some dogs are incapable of being nice and sweet because of everything that happened in their lives, but that’s not all of them. I cannot speak for cats, but I’m sure it’s much the same.

If you’re going to adopt a pet, adopt one that seems to speak to you somehow. Like…it just connects. Don’t worry about its age, it’ll love you all the same. Give the older animals a chance as much as you would give the younger ones.

Vagina Relationships

I’ve been thinking a bit about this for some days now, after I had my first little meet-up thing for those in the Vagina Monologues show at my college.  Our first thing they asked us to ‘write down our relationship with our vagina’ and I drew a big blank, only ending up with a sentence roughly saying that it’s a part of me. Now, I wasn’t the only one blanking, but others had these stories. One wrote about her first period when she was young, some wrote about having been through a rather awful experience, some about how their still a virgin, some about masturbating…and then there were others like me with short things that basically said they had no idea what to write.

Personally, I’ve never though of that question and, now that i do, it’s mostly that the thing is a cause of worry for most of my life. First when I was panicking about how I was a really late bloomer, and now something else entirely I should get figured out to see if I need worry or not. Else, it’s more of a ‘eh, it’s there’ thing. Sure, it does stuff. Stuff every month, and it’s not immune to excitement, but still.

I figure most don’t think of this because of a few things; one being the ‘stigma of muttering the words vagina, cunt, pussy, etc. in public because women are sexualized and put on a purity pedestal and all that. But then there’s something that carries over all sexes: the hush hush of sex in general. People are getting better on that now, being more open and all, but there is a still this ‘you don’t talk about this to people’ way of thinking. My brother and I never had a sex talk with our parents. We learned everything from inferring, TV, books (me mostly), videogames (him mostly), and the internet. Not the most reliable sources, but still. And all that was learned in school was ‘don’t have sex. You’ll get pregnant or an STD. Abstinence is the only real protection. Not condoms’. And that, yes, was mostly aimed at us girls, not so much the guys. I still remember them saying that they mostly wanted all girls to take one of the robotic babies (cute baby doll things that cry loudly) home,and the boys could do it by choice. Makes sense, to a point. The only problem is, it more or less said guys shouldn’t worry and shouldn’t care about leaving a woman with a baby. I did it, I liked it, it didn’t throw me off of the idea of having sex or having a child, even though I know having one at any age before I’m done with college would throw me off a lot. And believe me, if someone got me pregnant, they would either be helping or paying child support.

In any case, sex was never taught. You got a video in elementary school about your puberty, if you were a girl, and guys got one about here’s and then, later, about girls. Girls never got a video about guy’s stuff. I learned that from various sources, some friends. I wish I was kidding.

But with sex being so quiet, it’s…almost like it’s a bad thing. Which it’s not, so long as it’s done right and you don’t feel bad about your choice. Though it’s taught like you shouldn’t do it. Ever. Why? Probably because, for so long, it was though sex was for married people and baby-making only, and also thought that women didn’t enjoy sex and only did it because they wanted kids. And then there was all the stuff with laws on how to have sex and everything that is, thankfully, null and void now. Of course, simply asking if someone likes men or women or both is also a no. When a friend was asking everyone at the table what they like the other day, I was thrown off. You don’t usually hear that from people, but she’s straightforward and was curious. So we answered, after a bit of confusion.

While sex itself isn’t quite ( and I use that word lightly) as stigmatized as in the past, female sexuality still has a bit to go. Yes, it’s more open now and people don’t immediately think ‘slut’ if a woman has sex with a new guy/girl every week. But it’s not something that is loudly boasted, like with guys. It’s still a bit of tweaking for people to realize that every human is a sexual creature. Sex feels good, if done right. Yes, that was originally for reproductive purposes, but now? Now we don’t need to breed as much. Actually, probably we don’t need to at all with all the children about waiting for adoption, but people still do because it’s nice to have your own child, of course. Though that’s assuming you like/want children, and I know plenty of women who want no babies at all.

I think, too, that we all should think of our relationship with our lower parts. Whether a penis, vagina, both, nothing, or what have you, think about it. We should all be more connected to that part of us, which has the ability to create life, even if just adding an ingredient and not carrying it, so to speak, and that can be a source of pleasure or irritation. Our brain plays a role in that, I know, but that doesn’t downplay the importance of our genitals. Our minds, our emotions, our personalities; all big parts, and that other part should be included int he talk, too.

My relationship with my own vagina isn’t much besides worry and, every month, inconvenience, which I should probably work on. But that’s how it stands right now. So, man, women, both, neither, take a minute to think, really think, about how you feel on the parts between your legs.