Teenage girls lose respect and clothes

I was appalled this past weekend when my family and I went to the Iron County Fair. To my amazement, there was a large amount of 11 to 16-year-old girls that had barely any clothes on. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, especially when I watched them run up to their parents. Regardless of the fact that it was a chilly, windy evening, they still had on booty shorts and halter tops. The thought of my father came into my head and I remembered when I was a girl. The difference was I never would have left the house dressed that way. My father never allowed it because he had too much respect for the woman I would become and he made sure I felt the same way.

So why has the mentality of parents changed so drastically into this future where clothes no longer matter? I have great concern for future generations and the freedom they have but do not understand.

After going to the fair, I noticed this trend continuing in other places that I frequently visit; the grocery store, the park, the movies and school. Trying to comprehend this disgusting fashion, I noticed my husband’s reaction. He has been walking around with his head dropped so his eyes never rose above knee level. When I asked him why he was doing this, he replied, “These little girls have barely anything on. It makes me feel like I wandered into the middle school girls locker room so I just look where they don’t exist.” After hearing this, I asked a few other men how they felt about the situation and all responses were the same; they felt bad about themselves to accidentally even see these girls and the way they are dressed.

With all the power women have come to obtain, it’s appalling these young girls still don’t feel the need to respect themselves. I just cannot grasp how these girls can possibly be getting away with wearing these demeaning outfits. Parents should be showing their children how to respect themselves and others. I fear for my son now that he has started school. I don’t know how he will concentrate with little girls next to him practically naked. Our family values are deteriorating and I am not sure how to get them back. I am sad and angry at some other parents for not instilling important life values in their children as I have. As my father would say, “No one will ever respect you unless you show them they need to.”

Melanie Ulp is the opinion editor for the University Journal. She can be reached at mulp@suunews.com.


Ericka 6 years, 5 months ago

Clothing is an important part of individuality, whether or not you disagree with what your child chooses to wear is entirely besides the point. Foster creativity and independence, not shame in your childrens' bodies and you wont have to worry about someone taking advantage of the low self esteem and suggestible nature that comes from too much coddling and restrictions.

You imply that it's the sole responsibility of women to control male sexuality, which luckily, depends on whether or not we wear halter tops and cut offs. In Utah, rape is the only crime that exceeds the national average and 1 in 3 Utah women will live through some form of sexual violence. (See http://www.ucasa.org/ for more information on sexual assault/violence and domestic abuse in Utah and further resources.) Sexual violence is at an all time high not because of short skirts or tight jeans. You're teaching your son that the female body is something dangerous and tempting, rather than teaching him to support and value the female students in his class. By placing a taboo on the very form of a womans body you perpetuate the loosening of morals and "disgusting fashion" that so offended you at the fair.


GusJohnson 6 years, 5 months ago

I respect women, old and young, based on what they do and what's behind their eyes, not what they choose to wear (or not).

Is it right to do otherwise?


Silverwolf 6 years, 5 months ago

Melanie is right.

Erika, Melanie implied no such thing as to it being women's responsibility to control men's sexuality. You're spawning that "implication" out of your own desire to find offense in her words because you have a lower standard of morality and conduct. Don't blame your problem on her. Further, the human (female) body is not dangerous and that's not what Ms. Ulp was saying either (as best as I could interpret); the human body is private, sacred, special, and EVERYBODY doesn't need to see it. If you insist to say that the human body can rightfully be shared to the extent of the owner's desire, than you in turn MUST say that a man may attend class naked as the day he was born and support the same cause. Should you go so far as to not object that scenario, than Erika, you have lost all sense of respect for the human body and truly are lost as to the purpose of mortality in the first place.

Gus, you are to show respect all people, men and women, regardless of race, gender, morality, etc., but don't pretend that image doesn't have its own implications. You will look and take a different "first impression" from a woman dressed in a hijab, veil, and robe than you will from a woman wearing nothing but a low-cut, v-neck belly shirt and bootie shorts.

Ms. Ulp was reiterating a moral principle of SELF respect that has been forgotten in most realms of today's society. People may be able to look at a combined total of miles of cleavage and tons of thigh meat without "losing respect for them," but a person who truly respects themselves will hold that which is private and sublime to oneself and share it only with those who deserve and have earned the right. This is the moral principle that Ms. Ulp is saddened has died.


kosborn 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm not sure what the author of this piece expected when she and her family went to the fair.

The paragon of modesty and morality that good ol' county fair! Transients! Swindling game operators! Ex-con ride operators! Drunk people as far as the eye can see! Gluttony!!!!!!!

County fairs sure are the best place to find examples of "morality."

If you want a shining example of "morality" I suggest you stick to church. This isn't an issue of morality: it's an issue of prudishness and oppression under the guise of so-called "morality."


Silverwolf 6 years, 5 months ago

Kosborn This IS an issue of morality. Apparently also, you have an issue with definitions.

"Morality: (1) conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct. (2) moral quality or character. (3) virtue in sexual matters; chastity. .. (Synonym: goodness)" (Dictionary.com)

The fact of the matter is, whether you're willing to accept it in your desensitized view of reality or not, walking around half naked is an issue of sexuality and right conduct. It is also an issue of virtue. And in case you need a refresher on that as well:

"Virtue: (1) moral excellence; goodness; righteousness. (2) conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude. (3) chastity; virginity. (Synonyms: (1) goodness. (2) probity, integrity.)"

As with the point I made formerly, if a man/woman were to strut on campus stark naked, I doubt you would look upon him/her as a chaste, virtuous man/woman of goodness, ethics, uprightness, or integrity. Thus, when a woman/girl is seen wearing not much more than nothing, such are the messages that are sent.

This has nothing to do with "prudishness and oppression." Such are backhanded attempts of an uneducated apologist. This has to do with maintaining community morality, ethics, uprightness, and virtue. When children see the majority of women dressed immodestly, through the concept of sociocultural learning, they assume that it is not only okay, but accepted and right. This is what people who value morals, integrity, virtue, and goodness are saddened is happening and are trying to encourage others to fight against.


kosborn 6 years, 5 months ago

Silverwolf, if someone wanted to go starkers at school, so be it. I am not embarrassed by the nudity of others. I might be opposed to this for one, maybe two reasons: the distraction it would cause in others... and it's also illegal. Comparing a nudist to a pre-teen in a tube-top and short-shorts is like comparing apples an oranges: they are two different things. As far as I know, most children are allowed to wear what they want, so long as their parents approve. Those particular children's parents approved of those outfits, for their children, on a county fair outing.

Who decides what is moral? I personally view morality tied to religion, and I am not about to let religion of others dictate what people can and cannot do in public. If there is provable evidence to suggest that pre-teens wearing halter tops at a state fair ruins the vary fabric of our society; I might rethink the issue of letting people wear what they want. As far as I know, letting people choose what they want to wear is not destroying our country. While I personally find some people's clothing choices distasteful, I would certainly never enforce my own standards of what I personally find to be decent on others.

This article is about prudishness. The author and her husband find other people's fashion choices/bodies embarrassing, and felt ashamed and embarrassed for even witnessing it! If that is not an example of being a prude; please, enlighten me. Furthermore, it is oppression. One person is calling for regulation on something that has been already been deemed an expression of "free speech." I don't care what religion, spirituality, or belief system someone comes from- when they make statements like the author made here, I call it as I see it; an exercise in prudishness and oppression of others. Not only that, but the author seems to infer that the parents of the tank-top and "booty" shorts wearing pre-teens, are "bad" or "immoral" for letting their kids make choices in what they wear.

If my comment about the "real issue" of this article being "prudishness and oppression" is "back-handed," maybe you ought to re-evaluate what your comment on the "definition" of "virtues" is. And as for calling me uneducated; we need not slam the credibility of others if our arguments are valid.


Silverwolf 6 years, 5 months ago

Kosborn WHY do you think it's illegal? Do you think it's because lawmakers just like to ruin everybody's fun & feel like oppressing everybody? "Dictating" them?

Of course children wear what their parents approve of; that's the point. The argument is that parents are not teaching their children virtue, or not enforcing it.

Of course religion has to do with morality. Religion is about people actually controlling themselves & behaving to a higher standard. And who said anything about dictation? Do you see police officers w/ night clubs making people change their clothes or priests running around campus w/ burlap sacks? There's no dictation involved here, no enforcement; don't attempt to turn this into something it's not. This isn't a civil rights movement.

By the way, sociologists & family psychologists have shown the decreased censorship on sexual, vulgar, & violent materials has increased subsequent actions in youth. The increase of these materials would be irrelevant if parents would enforce a higher standard. But since they're not & children are constantly being exposed to it, again, sociocultural learning moves them towards what they feel is accepted & right. Ever wonder why divorce rates are at 40%? Why births outside of wedlock are at 40%? 40% of children born in the USA are out of wedlock. All of these cultural issues are interlinked.

Don't be a hypocrite. You said you found other's fashions distasteful, & now you're calling Mrs. Ulp a prude? I don't want to see you naked; I have no desire to see your body. Does that make me a prude? And it is not oppression. You just don't seem to get the picture. There is no "regulation" in attempt to be enforced here. We're calling for people to do the right thing. Stop making this an issue of legislation. Morality, virtue, integrity: these are all personal qualities. No one has the right to force someone to be virtuous. It would be a vain attempt. But what we're trying to do is stand against for this highly distasteful thing. Hence why there are laws against being naked in public.

Okay hypocrite, look at your own words. "the author seems to infer that the parents of the tank-top and "booty" shorts wearing pre-teens, are "bad" or "immoral" for letting their kids make choices in what they wear." That's what parenting is! If your child comes to you someday & says "Daddy, I want to do heroine. Can I please? Oh, & can I get a full body tattoo? Oh, & can I ride my unicycle on the freeway in the fast lane?" What will you say? If you're any father worth his name, you'll say no. WHY? Because they're wrong, stupid, degrading, & destructive to their person. You love them & want is best for them. THAT is why modesty and immorality matter to us, because we know it to be wrong, stupid, degrading, & destructive. Thus, if we see parents allowing children to do this to themselves, we are saddened.

And show me your validity w/ a sound argument, then we'll talk about my credibility.


lastseptember 6 years, 5 months ago

Someone defined morality and virtuousness for us through dictionary.com. The source is questionable, but lets go with it. I must ask what is "right conduct" or "moral and virtuous conduct" (from definition from morality) and if we were to take definition 2 for virtue ("(2) conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles") then whose moral and ethical principles would we follow? It seems that many have argued what constitutes the moral and ethical principles of dress, but none of them fully agree.

In public, trying to argue much about what is ethical in the manner of dress is arbitrary with this one exception: by law we must cover our "sexual" parts. No imagination is needed to know what that entails legally, but ethically there is much to argue about. What is a sexual part? Anything beyond our literal sex organs will be subject to unending debate. Why do Muslims think it is immoral for a woman to show her neck, and people of the LDS faith think that showing the neck is acceptable but showing their shoulders is not? Why is it that people amongst these religions can't always agree on what is moral while wearing clothing? I'm sure they have their reasons. The point is that they will never agree. Even in Cedar City, where we have a very high LDS population, there are many people who are not LDS and do not think that dressing morality calls for the standards of the LDS church.

If you want to suggest standards of moral dress, then you should be clear about what those are. Right now I have not halter tops and not booty shorts. It might seem obvious to you that young women showing their legs and their shoulders and backs is not respectable, but It's not obvious to everyone.

I personally feel that there is a vicious cycle where a part of the body is sexualized because a culture found it to be sexy, and then they asked the women of that culture to cover it, and then, because it was always covered, it became even more elusive and therefore more sexualized, Take the breast for example. Breasts became an object of sexual desire in many cultures likely because they were viewed as a quality of the child-bearing woman. They are also the most prominent feature of the woman that men do not have. There could be many reasons to why they became sexual, but let us not forget that their primary function was and is to feed babies (I guess this is debatable). But look at what has happened in Western society: breasts are so oversexed that it makes men and women blush to see a woman breastfeed in public. Women have been covering their breasts so long that it isn't even questionable anymore as to why it is inappropriate to expose them. Why are they sexual? They just are now, aren't they?


MelanieU 2 years, 9 months ago

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