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In Defense of Skanky Little Girls

Today my daughter was leered at while at the park. Jane is twelve and like many twelve year old girls her proportions are as perfect as they ever will be. Like her friends Jane has reached an adult height but unlike an adult they are thin, slight even, and they have faces of children. There is no mistaking my twelve year old daughter, nor anyone else’s for that matter, for an adult.

I concede that it is entirely possible that my twelve year old could be mistaken for a fourteen year old. Believe it or not this is relevant information.

Many months ago I was walking on the beach at twilight with Jane and one of her friends. Two men were standing by the water, both were my age and as we neared them they tapped on their wrists as to indicate that we were late for a meeting. It was a playful flirtation and I had the opportunity to save them from total mortification as we got closer and they realized that two of the women were, in fact, children. These two men had the good sense to turn beet red and one almost cried. They immediately left while stammering something about sorry sorry thought you were someone else.

Although upsetting this was basically normal. Adult men saw silhouettes, acted in a flirtatious but mostly harmless manner and almost died from humiliation when they saw that the silhouettes were children. I talked to the girls about how boys will flirt with them and what an appropriate way to behave is. We talked about how powerful it is to be a woman and why you should be kind whenever possible but always firm. We also talked about how to be horribly rude when kind didn’t work so well.

Today, and a few other times, I’ve noticed men older than thirty checking my daughter out. They are lecherous and crude. It’s unlikely that they are attracted to these girls and more likely that they’re asserting their dominance. I mean, perhaps on the surface they are attracted, but I remember walking in New York City in the 80’s. Construction workers would whistle and catcall. These weren’t whistles meant to get my attention, these whistles and cat calls were meant to demean me, to make me feel afraid and inferior for being a girl. They wanted to make me feel terrible for having the gall to be a pretty girl.

I’ve never really written with my discomfort around the recent attention paid to Jane and her friends because I didn’t want to deal with being called an angry feminist. Since the best defense is so often a good offense I didn’t want to have to defend my daughter, her friends and her peers. Today though was just too much for me. My kid needs to be able to go to the park without a middle aged slob ogling her bare knees.

I posted on Google Plus the following:  The first time a 40 year old man leered at my 12 year old daughter I became rabid feminist.

Friends of mine posted commiserations as they have teenage daughters, and one young man posted the following: How was your daughter dressed? When someone asked why it matters he followed up with:  I think it does. I see little girls all the time dressed as skanks, and a guys reflex is to check her out

There is something very different happening when a teenage boy “checks out” a teenage girl. Sure, it’ll make us all squirm but it’s appropriate and a somewhat equal relationship. The boys will ogle and the girls will destroy them with words more cutting than a razor’s edge. Everyone will be angst ridden, and then they’ll have three scoops of ice cream, stay skinny and get over it.

The problem is when the relationships are unequal. An adult to child relationship is always unequal. One is a predator and the other is prey. There is no time when this is not the case, and every civilized nation has laws to protect children from adult predators.

There is danger in allowing our sons and daughters to believe that provocative dress always leads to a provocative action. Men wear cycling shorts around town. I assure you I’m not checking for penis size however there are entire sections of my beloved Reddit devoted to crotch shots of girls playing volleyball. Please don’t tell me that this is because men are visual. This is because men bond nicely while humiliating strangers, this is about power and we all know that power can be sexy.

Teenage girls know or are about to find out that their bodies are incredibly powerful. They don’t need to touch anyone or speak a word to get boys to do things for them. A smile, a glance, a nod or a shorter skirt will have boys scurrying to do their bidding. At some point most girls will roll their skirts up a little shorter and unbutton their blouse a little lower. Their mothers will scream a little, their fathers will stutter an uncomfortable talk about how they were “once a young man”. Everyone will retreat and there won’t be an issue for a little while. Until there is, because kids don’t listen to their parents and this is normal.

What will happen, what undoubtedly happens, is that a little girl is sexually assaulted. It happens. I don’t want it to, but in real life a huge number of young women are the victims sexual assault, some worse than others. The societal horror that I can control as a woman and as a blogger with a big loud voice is the answer to the inevitable question “What was she wearing”.

I don’t care if your four year old is dressed for Toddlers and Tiaras, no one has the right to leer at her (okay the judges make that confusing but work with me here). I do not care if your eight year old is wearing wildly inappropriate clothing, adult men do not have the right to ogle her. I do not care if your 13 year old looks “grown up” and might be mistaken for the ripe old age of 16. She is a child and should not be touched. “Skanky little girls” (and how I detest all that implies) deserve defending with the same vigor as a nun or an asexual old woman.

Our daughters need to hear over and over again that they are worth protecting. They don’t need to wear a burka to walk the streets comfortably and when they’re treated poorly and someone says, “What was she wearing?” our daughters need to be strong enough to look that person in the eye and say, “It doesn’t matter and it never will.”

120 thoughts on “In Defense of Skanky Little Girls”

  1. You are correct. Full stop. I will state though that as a woman, and mother of daughters, we must be aware of what we wear and what they wear and why. Knowing men as we do, It is not recommended to dress ‘swanky’ or provocatively nor is it necessary to have tops that don’t meet bottoms, cleavage purposefully exposed, or heels 4 or more inches to go to the mall. It does not mean they can ogle, but surely you know that they will.

    1. Agree with Denag 100%. I don’t know why some commenters are basing their comments on the way they think things should be, instead of the way they are. I wouldn’t make my daughter less safe out of some misguided sense of political correctness. What we wear sends signals to people that see us. Modestly dressed girls are less likely to draw
      unwanted attention. I can’t believe the way some parents allow very young girls to dress.

  2. I agree that our daughters are worth protecting…and that’s why mine, as long as they lived under my roof and I was buying their clothes, dressed modestly. That’s all we can control…not who looks at them, or what they think when they DO look at them. As far as I’m concerned, it DOES matter what we wear…clothes make the woman, and if you’re sending a certain message, you can’t really get upset if someone GETS that message.

    1. Why aren’t we teaching our sons to not rape instead of teaching our daughters that their bodies are something shameful and in need of covering? That’s the message we SHOULD be upset about, that the will of men is more important than any decision a woman makes, including the very basic act of putting on clothes.

      1. how is dressing modestly being ashamed of your body?  Do you want your 12-18 year old daughter walking around in Daisy Dukes, pushup bra, and tank top?  That’s just inviting people to look and stare. 

        You say “why aren’t we teaching our sons not to rape?”  Well, let’s be honest, out of the Billions of men in the world, there are only Thousands, that are rapists.  It’s a small percentage, when you look upon the whole, even millions would be small percentage wise.  I find that statement to be self serving and ignorant.  Most parents instill in their children the right values and morals.  There are some that don’t, and guess what the kids still turn out alright.  Now, if I were in charge of justice, any one found guilty of having sex with a child would have there privates nailed to a wood building that the parents could set on fire.

      2. Why aren’t we teaching both? While I don’t think a young woman wearing provocative clothing gives adult men the right to leer, I have to say that when I, a mom of a 13 year old young woman, sees these young girls with their boobs and butts hanging out, I stare. I stare in horror, wondering where their parents are, and how they could allow their child to walk around, leaving so little to the imagination. Regardless of the fact that it’s abhorrent to have normal, adult men ogling a 13 year old girl, the fact is that there are also very sick, non-normal, people out there. A normal leering man may make a girl feel uncomfortable. That sucks. But a sick man, with a penchant for young meat, and no consideration for laws and social norms, will rape a girl who attracts him. They will kill them to keep them quiet. It’s rare, yes, of course it is. But it happens, and I can’t imagine what kind of parent thinks it’s just fine to let their daughter dangle their half-naked persons in front of the entire world, including the sickos who lack boundaries and judgment. Why would you even want them seen like that? I honestly just don’t get it.

        There are really two issues there. 1) The poor judgment of men who leer at children. They suck. They’re wrong. I wish they’d stop. But there’s also # 2) The just-as-poor judgment of the parents who fail to act as parents, and let their kids purchase and wear whatever they want, no matter how inappropriate. Will kids try to bend the rules and make their stuff less adult-approved? Yeah, of course. But it’s ridiculous to say that in order to let our daughters know that they are worthy of protection we somehow have to condone them wearing hooker clothes.

    2. Dressing in short skirts or low cut tops does not send the message “I wish to be sexually assaulted.” The fact that some men apparently interpret them this way is a failing of the man, not the woman. If society assumes that a woman deserves to be sexually assaulted as punishment for her skirt-wearing hubris, this is a failing of society’s values.

  3. When my niece was that age, her father (my brother) perfected his “get your lecherous eyeballs off my child” look. He got so good at it that she pretty much didn’t want him to take her anywhere anymore, which suited him fine.

    My daughter is just nine, but she is perfect in that way most of us grow out of. I see the boys within appropriate distance of her age looking at her. I know what is ahead.

    My middle step-daughter participated in one of the SlutWalks. We talk about dressing defensively, but I agree with the idea behind these walks. Women and girls shouldn’t have to plan their wardrobes around protecting some men from their baser selves. But that’s our world. Men dominate and we teach our daughters how to protect themselves.

    1. Wow, so you let your daughter dress up and parade around half naked so she could be photographed and leered at by strangers? Slutwalk is an insulting, degrading joke of anti-rape activism started by two narcissistic nitwits who have never been raped. They said they acted like “sluts” in college so they were “offended by the officers comment”.

      Typical of so-called “anti-rape” activism- take something about rape victims and make it about yourself when you haven’t been raped. I’m a stranger rape survivor and I HATE SLUTWALK. Those people DO NOT speak on behalf of rape survivors (especially the elderly or conservative women who are raped), and it is really stupid to expect rape victims to dress “slutty” in public to protest rape. By participating in Slutwalk you ARE NOT supporting survivors or doing anything to combat rape.

      Slutwalk insults and demeans rape victims by making them into a spectacle. Parading around in the streets in “slutty” clothes so people can leer at you is a STUPID way to protest rape. But keep patting yourself on the back lady for being oh, so progressive and sending your daughter out with a bunch of radicals who want to embrace the term slut and who hijacked a story about a rape victim in Canada and made it about their overinflated egos.

  4. I love this piece. I have two girls and I know that older men are right around the corner to leer and assert their “power”. It doesn’t matter what little girls wear. Noone wants this attention and for men to think they are powerful or cute by doing this is disgusting. If they are allowed to leer are we allowed to walk up and punch them in the junk just for being men?  Yey for you and for speaking with these girls and letting them know how to deal with this behavior.

  5. Thank you for this piece. I think that you’ve beautifully articulated what many/most females wish they could. I feel that many parents {specifically mothers} do not have the resources to properly prepare their daughters for this type of nuanced gender-specific problem – I admire you for taking the offense in order to defend your daughter & teach her to defend herself.

    Interestingly, I came across a similar story from a man’s perspective – thought you might be interested in:


  6. Perfect. As a mom of two girls? This is perfect.

    Also, “a guy’s reflex is to check her out.” That needs to get hit out of the park. We look at other people. We see other people. We’re visual people — not just men. But once you are an adult, you are able to control your behavior. Your frontal lobe is formed, you’ve got experience, you’ve matured. Allegedly. You know how to be a decent person and have the tools to do so. You know right from wrong. You know how to do right. You know how to respect other people.

    If you don’t? You are choosing to be the skank.

    No matter how anyone else looks or is dressed. YOU are choosing to be the SKANK.

    And yet, a lot of mothers raise sons and a lot of sons grow up to think and behave this way. To think how a woman looks or is dressed indicates the degree of respect they opt to afford her. 

    That whole mentality is wrong on about 22 different levels.

    Bottom line? There is *no* rationale for choosing to demean, objectify, or dominate a person that humiliating (at best, because sadly, there is so much worse) way.

    And yet it is. It just is. And so my daughters are raised to be aware, dress defensively, and behave protectively. Since the day they were born they were taught they and they alone own their bodies. If they don’t want hugs or kisses, we don’t do them. 

    Thanks for taking on this topic.

    1. LIKE LIKE LIKE. This is perfectly said, Julie. If we were in church, I would be on my feet yelling “PREACH!!” when you said “YOU are choosing to be the SKANK.” Oh HECK yeah.

      I have two girls. I was a girl. I’ve had enough.

  7. Completely agree.
    I will also say, there is a difference between noticing that a child is dressed a certain way and leering. Leering takes time.  Way too much time.

  8. Absolutely and positively well said.  Who cares what she is wearing?  She’s still twelve.  I mean really there is never any excuse to look at a child in a sexual manner.  I remember being that age and have grown men ogle, make remarks, and even try to pick me up.  I assure you at that age I could not in any way be confused with a grown woman.  Checking an obvious 12 year old girl out is inexcusable, reflex by a$$.  

  9. I’m a mom of two boys, my oldest in a high school freshman.  We’ve discussed at length how dress has nothing to do with rape. We talk about what do you do when you see a naked girl walking on the street? how would you react? you would take care of her & offer a coat & escort her to a safe place, not think of taking advantage of her.  While that’s an extreme, it’s to illustrate, you always see girl as a girl not as object for the taking. You are spot on that a man leering at a child, no matter how she looks is wrong and is about dominance, control and power.  That’s not feminist, that’s humanist.

  10. So much to comment on here. I totally agree with the age thing you mentioned above, that older is predator and younger is prey. No two ways of looking at that. Period. It goes for both men and women too, though we all know the way that usually turns out.  I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I once went to an outdoor Poison concert under the moonlight in LA. I saw a few silhouettes with long, dark hair and decided to get closer for a better look.  They turned out to be men. I guess that’s par for the course at a hair band concert. I’m afraid to stop men from ogling anything you’ll need to tear out their eyes, and that is the exact reason I worry about my daughter, who is only 10 mos old now. But I’m not sure 10 years is enough time for me to wrap my hands around how to talk to her about this stuff.

  11. I agree that young girls should be protected, but there’s a reason why -at the zoo- they have the animals behind bars with signs saying ‘keep out’ and ‘do not feed’.  If you dress your daughter up like a piece of meat, the “animals” basic instincts take over.  You don’t play with the bears, you don’t feed the bears- you take every precaution to keep your kids safe.  Have you ever SEEN a dog hump a pillow?  They don’t care if its real- they’re going with what feels good and what is in their blood, and men don’t stop and wonder what the ages of the boobs are in Playboy.  I’m without a doubt NOT saying that its ok for men to “leer” at young girls, but I also don’t think anyone should be allowed to stupidly dress their daughters up as if they are older than they are, and then get pissed off when men treat them as such.  Get pissed off and upset when the bears break through the bars and attack, NOT when you dangle something enticing in front of them.

    1. If by “animals” you mean “men”- the “zoo” (AKA society) needs to keep “THEM” locked up. What a stupid analogy you draw. Think before you post.

    2. REALLY?  A rational adult man who is perfectly capable of keeping himself from scratching a mosquito bite. from peeing his pants in public, is INCAPABLE of containing his desire to MOLEST CHILDREN?   Demonizing children because adults cannot control themselves is beyond irrational.  Its INSANE.

  12. I’m glad that I don’t have this problem.  I’ve stated for quite a while now, that if I were dating, I’d ask for ID.

    I’m sorry, I’m an adult male, and yes at times I have issues with determining a females age, based on there face and build.  I’ve seen some 16 year olds, that looked 21, I’ve seen some 21 year olds that looked 17. 

    If you allow your daughter/son to wear revealing clothing, or clothing with designs in the bodice or backside area, you need to rethink your parenting skills.  The whole purpose of putting those designs in those places is to get people to look.  That being said, is there a difference between a glance and staring?  Most definitely, but is still a matter of “Hey look at my boobs, or look at my butt”.  Feel free to disagree.

    I’m not condoning any  adult/child relations, it is predatory, and it does go both ways.

  13. There are so many accurate assessments about men put forth in this article that used only to be swept away and replaced with feminist rationalizations that it makes my head hurt. 

  14. this is just my opinion (and second comment here – sorry), but I don’t think it has anything to do with style of dress.  That has changed through the years, but what has remained the same, for the most part, unfortunately, is the way SOME people treat the opposite sex.  We can go back to the 50’s and women can wear full body dresses that come up to their necks and some men will still pat them on the ass and make sexist comments.  You can put a woman in a bathing suit no thicker than a piece of dental floss and those same men will oogle and cheer.  But MOST people wont do either of those things in either situation.  It comes down to respect and parenting. Period. In the absence of good parenting you never learn respect.  If you have respect for the other sex these things are non-issues and don’t happen. 

  15. I am the direct Baba (father in Swahili) and the village Baba to all the young sisters at her school.  There are NO excuses of gender to be applied.  If the action incorrect, no more need be said about who should have stood where on the baseball field when the foul ball flew.  I applaud your article and redouble my efforts to reaffirm and defend all young sisters right to not be ogled by any man.  And even when the young brothers do it, I hold conversation with them.  It is never too early to shape a new male womanist/feminist. 

  16. I was sexually assaulted at 12. A fact I’ve never actually publicly or otherwise said to anyone despite a long tear stained post I’ve written, rewritten over and over but never actually published. I was in Mexico and I was wearing a bikini. Because I was on vacation on the beach. He, 24, admittedly had no idea how young I was. Did that excuse it? Did that stop him once he did know my real age? No. Did I deserve it, because of how I was dressed? Because I was young, thin, pretty and FEMALE? No. There is never a time in which its appropriate to make sexual advances on someone because of their dress, gender, or even age. If its not wanted, its not wanted.

  17. Wonderful article.  Just points out again that our Society has it all wrong… instead of teaching “don’t get raped” we need to be teaching “don’t rape”.

  18. I know you are expressing frustration about men who leer at your obviously-dressed-like-a-child kid, and there are those sickos out there; I’ve seen them myself. I’ve almost screamed at them in the street. But I’d like to address the other issue that has come up: clothing.

    Girls and women are sexualized too much in our culture. We do not deserve violence ever. It doesn’t matter if we are naked (loved that lesson for your sons, commenter Stacey!) or if we are fully covered, we deserve to be safe, full stop. 

    That being said, we can do some things to help us stay safer. We can trust our instincts. We can never walk late at night alone. We can make sure ours and our friends’ drinks are never drugged. We can also send social signals to observers with our stature, our expressions, our dress. Does it suck we must do this? Yes. Is it fair? No. But it is reality. 

    Take away the non-starter arguments of who deserves violence for whatever reason, because women do not deserve the violence that is visited upon them daily in this country, no matter what they are wearing or what they look like. Let’s all agree on that. 

    Let’s also agree that we can’t ignore the role of expression, clothing, and demeanor in our social interactions. If clothes can make the man, then clothes can make a woman (or make a child seem like a woman). We need to teach our daughters that certain clothes, certain body language, and certain gestures send signals. They need to know that even if they don’t want it, their bodies are entering them in a mating game that adults play with each other. Girls need to be aware that males of the species are primed to catch the tiniest sexual response in women; that many men simply imagine this response and will need to be brought back to reality quickly and sometimes cruelly. Girls need to learn it will be their job to deliver this message. 

    Life is a little easier and you can stay a little safer (maybe) if you can deliver that message before the dance even begins, and dressing appropriately helps to send the right signals in any situation, not just in the mating dance arena. Job interviews, school, exercise. We have different clothes for every activity, every scenario. 

    None of these measures will stop a rapist. That is about power and violence. But we have a lot of reality to teach our girls about regular social interaction, and to tell them they can wear what they want whenever they want is just plain bad advice.

    1. I agree with all you’ve said here. I think one of the biggest challenges we face with girls today, though , is teaching them that all those sexualized messages in our culture should not be internalized. It seems as though in this so-called post-feminist era that girls and young women are more and more judging their own worth based on how much attention they get from males–and at an early age, too! I was at a baseball game a few years back and went with friend’s 14-yo daughter to get ice cream. She announced proudly to me that she noticed these men checking her out. Whaaa?? I also recall an episode of Frontline that explored the astronomical rates of STDs in an upper-class Atlanta suburb… Where girls as young as 11 were at a party, and the boys lined up for blow jobs. None of those girls were happy or proud of it, but when asked why they did it? “So the boys would like us.” My god.

      1. It’s interesting how the girls are taking power where they think they can get it. I’ve heard of the blow jobs in middle school. I don’t know, but it seems like the girls relish in being able to hold a boy hostage for a few minutes, then perhaps parlay that few minutes of attention into constant attraction and admiration from the boy, who is rapt, awaiting his next blow job. She, of course, does not deliver it. Instead she delivers one to another boy, creating competition and jealousy, and upping her social factor. The fine line between being powerful and being disregarded as a slut can’t be crossed, or all is lost. Anyway, this is all still just a power issue, the girls trying to steal some power from the boys, however fleeting. But yes, the girls internalize this power struggle, but how they are doing it is by grabbing their own power by any means necessary. Post-feminist for sure! (of course, not all girls do this. But the blow job delivering ones, the ones who “want the boys to like us” are not necessarily the innocent types you picture). 

          1. I agree with you to a point: certainly the media does just as you say, and certainly the majority of kids aren’t behaving this way. The Frontline story was, however, a months-long investigation that really delved into some of the frightening attitudes and actions that some kids are living with, and showed too that it’s not just “thebad kids” doing it. (If you’venot seen Frontline, a good comparisom might be “Frontline is to Dateline as the NEw York Times is to Star Magazine.)

            Innyhoos, my point is, you’re right, situations as extreme andpervasive as those in the Frontline episode may be rare, but I think they present an extreme version of the kinds of social, sexual pressures that kids are encountering at younger and younger ages. Especially when society and especially the entertainmentculture at large is SO hyper-sexualized.

        1. Just a follow up: i get what you’re saying, but i think that reinforces the larger issue, which is when did the clock turn back and so many girls come to believe that sexwas the only tool they have to become empowered? And i don’t think that the girls who are actively using sex for attention and approval are actually getting what they hope for in the end. The double standard is still very much in effect, and while she may havea boy’s rapt attention for a few minutes by granting sexual favors, i doubt very much that she is receiving the boy’s constant attraction and certainly not his admiration. Theboys interviewed on Frontline were very clear about what they thoughtthe girls were good for, and thheywere anything but admiring.

          This program was heartbreaking, because it was so clear that the girls were NOT in any kind of position of power, and though they all started off talking with much bravado, when the interviewer asked them if they’d make the same choices if they had it to do over again, they all got very quiet and somber, and whispered No.

          1. You are totally right. I agree. They aren’t getting real power. It’s all just an illusion. What I meant to point out is that they are trying to grab some power by being sexually aggressive. In the end, they learn no power exists for them, and they feel taken advantage of, damaged. What really is damaging them, though, as you correctly pinpoint, is the inherent sexism and sexualization of girls in human culture. And let’s hope what JessicaGottlieb says is true, that only a small minority are engaging in this type of destructive behavior. Not a small minority, though, dress too provocatively for their age, and that is a watered-down version of this attempt to grab power by grabbing the fascination of boys and men.

          2. You are totally right. I agree. They aren’t getting real power. It’s all just an illusion. What I meant to point out is that they are trying to grab some power by being sexually aggressive. In the end, they learn no power exists for them, and they feel taken advantage of, damaged. What really is damaging them, though, as you correctly pinpoint, is the inherent sexism and sexualization of girls in human culture. And let’s hope what JessicaGottlieb says is true, that only a small minority are engaging in this type of destructive behavior. Not a small minority, though, dress too provocatively for their age, and that is a watered-down version of this attempt to grab power by grabbing the fascination of boys and men.

        2. and somehow this is okay? A girl”blowing” a guy for power over him is any different than what you seem to believe men are doing? 

          1. hypocrite
          2. don’t give me that bullshit because men are stronger that its different.

    2. My mother was raped wearing the uniform of a united states Army soldier.  HER uniform.  Torn from her body like a paper wrapper.  Males may be primed to catch sexual responses…But it is their own duty not to act upon them if they are UNWANTED.  I’m primed to eat food.  I don’t jump on someone’s plate at a restaurant b/c I want their lobster.

      1. That is a great analogy!  I just had such a laugh picturing someone snatching up a lobster off someone else’s plate.  Apparently you could just apologize, say, “I’m sorry, I’m very visual, and it looked so damn good,” and keep eating.

  19. It starts young, the shaming and the dominance that teaches our girls that men want and desire power over them.  Not all men, no.  But some men, and they are insidious and determined. 

    My little girl is 9, turning 10 in a month.  She is tall and she is beautiful, and I just had to buy her a training bra, because she is in the very early stages of developing.  This is a terrifying time for me as a mother.  The world we live in, where there are men that would blame her own beauty for their inappropriate behavior, this world must change.  Soon.

        1. Stop attacking him. I’ve read his comments; he’s right. I think the women on this page are all so paranoid. I’m a woman, and cannot understand these extremist views. It’s a little scary to read all this honestly. Men will look at girls. Staring creepily (ie, a long time, in a predator-esque way) does not happen often, and definitely not often enough to complain about it. It is natural for them to look if they are pretty (yes, even if they are 13). Most check them out, look away. Don’t make something into a problem if there isn’t one.

          1. *oh, and when I said it doesn’t happen often, I didn’t mean in all of the world. I meant to one woman in her lifetime. Most men who look at you (despite your age) overall are fine; they look, move on.

          2. You aren’t a woman so much as you are an MRA troll. Your views are repulsive and you and your cronies are rightfully laughed at by rational people.

  20. As the mom of a 13-year-old girl, everything about this makes me angry, but I’d like to focus on the talk you had with your daughter about how to deal with unwanted advances.

    In 5th grade, a classmate of my daughter’s was “dating” a junior in high school. I used this as a teaching moment that I I think really hit home. Remember being young & thinking the advances of older boys was flattering? Oh, look how grown up I must be for them to be interested in me! He’s so much more mature than the boys my age!

    I brought this up with my daughter & then turned it around a little bit. What if a person her age ONLY played with 3 year olds? She replied “I would think something is wrong with them.” Then I just stared at her until I knew she got it.

    There is something WRONG with a man who focuses on girls drastically out of his developmental stage. We need to make sure our girls know that. It’s not flattering. It’s a sign that that person is not right.

  21. i think rather than protect your children, teach them the skills to stand up for themselves, All parenting is about the smooth transition of power, which doesnt always go smoothly

  22. I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about this yet… although I’m looking into uniform schools for my girl. It’s getting better in the world – in the western world, anyway – all the time.

  23. I would completely agree that in no way shape or form should it matter what a young lady is wearing, but we also need to look at some of the things girls are being aloud to wear out in public. When I was a teenager my dad would have smacked me upside the head for even thinking of wearing some of the things I see young girls walking around in. Be confidant in your body and showing too much are two different things.

      1. Wow, Nelson how can I get you to understand how absurd her posit is? That would be the equivalent, of me saying, when women look at men or me in particular that instead of accepting that as a compliment for being attractive I say, ” How dare these girls look at me and make me feel uncomfortable for being an attractive guy, they are just trying to take my thunder away from me.”  That is the most flawed and absurd logic I can possibly describe. I don’t like that the OP’s attitude is automatically negative. I don’t appreciate that guys who were simply making a social communicae on this womans attractiveness is somehow inherently evil… 

        I’m just at a loss of words.

        1. As a matter of fact there is a growing movement of men who are going there own way. You ladies don’t like when men try to actively go after you, like has happened in all of our history?  Then Fine You can deal with life by yourself. We don’t need you, go have babies with a split egg. without our help and support it by yourself without OUR money, and the money that is stolen from us and given to you by a corrupt and unjust family court system. Do it by yourselves.

          1. No problem. I’d rather spend my life alone than with a childish man who throws temper tantrums at the idea that women can actually be independent and not need them.

          2. Awww, someone just got divorced and put all the blame on others. Amazing how in such a little post we can understand some reasons behind it. It really upsets you that women do not actually NEED men doesn’t it? It is almost as if women are adult human beings  with minds and abilities of their own who might even have the gall to want to be treated as an equal and not as a lesser being in need of constant condescending baby-sitting. 

          3. A4073830, Not taking sides, just playing the devils advocate. I think the part that you’re missing is that when women stare at men men in no way feel threatened because they have physical dominance over women and women are not a physical threat to them. When men stare, whistle, make comments & “catcall” at  women, they do accept it as a compliment to a point, but then there is that very fine line when it goes to far and the women feels uncomfortable and even threatened. Why? Because men do, and we all know it to be true, have physical dominance over women and when it gets to that point of uncomfortable all of the “bad things” that could happen to go through the back of a woman’s mind. So it is not that the attitude is automatically negative, however, men and women are wired differently and what men take as a compliment women take as a insult. Instead of being stared at, whistled at & yelled at women would rather receive a compliment in a more subtle manner. But I think Jessica’s whole point was that older men need to be more mindful of the under 18 crowd, after all how would you feel about a 30 or 40 something year old man taking interest in your 12, 14 or even 16 year old daughter.   I seem to recall news stories about situations like this & when the relationships actually happen society is outraged, so why shouldn’t we be outraged when men or even women are looking at the under 18 crowd in inappropriate ways? If more of us were actually outraged about the looking maybe we would see less news stories about the actual relationships.

            1. Yes, but most guys don’t even think about the fact that they have physical dominance. It’s not like we walk around all day thinking “I could rape her.” We’re much more likely thinking “I’d like to make love to her.”

              I get that women might feel threatened, for the reasons you mention, but don’t ascribe motives to men based on your feelings.

              1. You don’t have to think about it…It’s something that is there all the time…Just like that fear that pops up that someone “could hurt me”…b/c they appear to be bigger & stronger than I am.  I don’t follow up my own thought with that last part…but just thinking that I could be hurt is a by product of that instinct that ‘people who are larger than me are often stronger than me’.  You don’t think about being bigger or stronger…You already know that you are.

              2. You don’t have to think about rape in order to assert your physical dominance.  It’s there in the way you sit – spread out across a bench – the way you walk – not having to pay attention to people because you know they will get out of YOUR way and not shove you aside, as they do women (especially smaller women.)

                1. For me to *assert* physical dominance, I have to make an active decision to do so. However, for you to *infer* physical dominance is all in your head.

                  I get that women have fears about safety that never occur to men, so it behooves us to be aware of that and provide assurances. 

                  However, it behooves women to realize that most men really are just average guys that don’t have a clue about many social graces.

                  1. I wouldn’t teach my daughter that a lecherous man is socially inept. I would teach her to pay attention to the fear response, to never be alone with him and to be extra alert.
                    I’m not a woman who is afraid of men but I am pragmatic and I’m not going to try and figure out if you’re socially inept or predatory. I’m just going to stay far far away.
                    Also I don’t think that leering at a much younger woman makes a man a rapist. I think the simple angry act of the leer, the catcalls, the demeaning in whatever form it takes IS the problem. It never needs to progress past that to make someone a very bad person.

                    1. “I’m not a woman who is afraid of men but I am pragmatic and I’m not
                      going to try and figure out if you’re socially inept or predatory. I’m
                      just going to stay far far away.”

                      This. I’m sick of adult males like Derek making excuses that they “don’t understand” why they can’t leer at other people’s children, that they are just “socially inept” and therefore victims. It’s just beyond the pale, and I can’t believe the crap men use to justify treating women and children like sex objects. Creeps!

                    2. The entire problem is that it doesn’t occur to men that things they do sen threatening signals, it should occur to them and thus men should be more aware and less dismissive of women’s concerns and fears.  You may not be someone who would rape, but women cannot tell the difference merely by sight or even by knowing you for a short time. Rapists are identical to non rapists.  

                      1. I understand your point, but I’m just clarifying. Yes, rapists assert physical dominance. The rest of us don’t. It’s fine by me that you act defensively to minimize risk, but don’t just call every guy who checks out a young woman a pervert and rapist. ALL guys check out young women. But most of us are less obvious about it.

                        1. I am 5 feet tall, believe me, men don’t have to do a single thing for me to be aware of potential physical dominance. The state of our society is that women are taught all the ways to try to prevent being attacked, while men complain if they are asked to take responsibility for their own actions. Men are NOT the victims, if you want to be seen as helping instead of part of the problem, there are groups of men who work to teach men how to prevent rape, go talk to them, join them, stop dismissing women’s concerns as if they are stupid. 
                          And saying all guys check out young women just sounds like an excuse for you to ogle 14 yr old girls, who are NOT young women, they are children. 

                          1. If you read the original post, Jessica plainly states that the lighting made it easy to mistake the young girls as being older, and that the men were embarrassed when they realized how young they were. I would be too. However, regardless of the girls age, I do not believe the men were asserting anything other than the fact that they were attracted.

                            I’m sorry that being 5′ tall leads you to assume all men harbor malice.

                            I never said anywhere that men are the victims. I just pointed out that when you live in inside your own head, it’s easy to make incorrect assumptions. 

                            Only one person here has referred to girls as “skanky,” and it wasn’t a man.

                          2. You’re missing the point. Not all men are rapists. However, women don’t know by looking at any given man whether or not he is a rapist, and thus we have to always be on the defensive.

                            It’s further complicated by the fact that in our culture, a woman’s testimony about being raped is either dismissed, ignored, or made into her own fault without the rapist needing to accept any blame – so we have very little recourse.  That puts us doubly on the defensive.  So no, it’s not “all in my head.”  Why are you trying to turn it into the fault of the woman?

                            Furthermore, I find it extremely interesting that you feel that need to say “young” women.  FYI, rapists don’t rape women because they find them sexually attractive.  But that gives me an interesting insight into your thought process.

                            1. Actualy, you are LYING – ALL guys don’t check out women. Some are just respectful people, also gay men don’t “check out women”. You are just a predator apologist. Shame on you!

                              1. “Actualy, you are LYING – ALL guys don’t check out women.”

                                I take it you’re a man? And do you think gay guys don’t check out teenage boys?

                              2. Actualy, you are LYING – ALL guys don’t check out women.

                                All the straight ones do. Some are a bit better at doing it undetected, that’s all.

                        2. “Pretty little head?”  Could you be any more condescending?  I can totally understand why you’re posting comments, alone, in front of the computer. Who’d want somebody like you?

                        3. Exactly. Talk about delusional. It’s like walking down a hall and thinking everyone is talking about you while you’re walking by. The amount of paranoia on this page is alarming.

                      2. Wonderful post!

                        I was working one time and a woman handed me a pamphlet and shuffled out of the store… the front of it said “you’ve been given this pamphlet because a woman of God is worried about your safety.” it then went on to talk about how i was dressed like a whore and tempting men to do the devils bidding.
                        Really? Men aren’t good enough to control themselves?
                        I hate people…

                      3. You are the most ignorant person I have ever read. Guys do not whistle at you to make you “feel” shitty. What planet are you and all your extremist friends from?

                        1. I’ve don’t know how many times I’ve had a whistle turn into insults and even threats because I ignored the man doing the whistling.  If that doesn’t show you the whistle is all about a man exercising his power over a woman I don’t know what will.

                          1. if a person gets rejected they might lash out to restore their ego. its not about power. women do it too. they will call men gay and all sorts of things if they dont like what the girl is doing.

                      4. “Asserting their dominance?” Come on. Guys are genetically wired to notice young women. Most of us learn growing up that it’s wrong to stare, but a lot of guys are socially inept: they don’t know that you know.

                        Catcalls and whistles, while crude, are not the same as rape. The truth is, guys who look at women as sex objects would like to be looked at as sex objects themselves. Who do you think buys all those Muscle & Fitness magazines? Certainly not women.

                        1. Agree with you on the catcalls, but that was a peripheral point in the article. Her primary point, that 14-year olds should be eyes-off, makes perfect sense to me.

                      5. All the men said “perfectly fine?” If 100% of a group of professional men agree to something, maybe you asked the question incorrectly. I doubt that 100% of men are perverts.

                      6. I am very tired of the clothing argument.  I could be walking naked through Times Square on New Year’s Eve…And that is not an excuse to force me to have sex.  It would not be okay to say I was “asking for it”.  Now…I could understand the looks b/c well…I’d be naked in Times Square on NYE!

                        Although…At the same time (and this might make me a hypocrite) I think some clothing items imply you are “selling your apples” as my grandmother put it.  So some clothing items (ON AN ADULT) might scream, “LOOK OVER HERE & OGLE ME, PLEASE!”  But I do not ever think they say, “RAPE ME B/C MY TOP IS LOW & MY SKIRT IS HIGH!” 

                      7. Oh, preach. The “what was she/were you wearing?” thing makes me feel like going into convulsions. I feel like saying “Well I’m sure she wasn’t wearing a t-shirt that said OGLE ME/RAPE ME so it doesn’t matter, does it?”

                        I was sexually assaulted when I was 12. Not by an older man, but by a classmate my age. I can promise you I have never worn anything revealing in my life, so we can’t blame that. This boy might have had a crush on me, maybe it was a power thing, I can never know, but something in his life led him to the decision that he made about how to behave toward me. I can promise you he knew it wasn’t okay, because he asked me if I was going to tell. So why did he do it? What’s the rationale here?

                        The comment thread reminded me of the victim’s advocacy training course that I took. The instructor took out one of those giant pads of paper and asked “So, what is a rape-able offense? Who can name one?” Of course, there isn’t one to name. I feel like that sums it up. Nothing a woman could possibly do is a “rape-able offense”. So don’t blame her if it happens to her.

                      8. I was that girl in 1990 wearing the spandex LBD and my boyfriends biker jacket. My step Grandma said I looked like a slut. I was probably wearing something that screamed “look at me, I’m sexy.” but that just meant that I wanted attention. someone to say, hey you’re hot. NOT assault me. IT NEVER MEANS THAT.

                        On the other hand, I have a 12 year old who will not wear two pc. bathing suits, skirts or just a tank top for crying out loud! She is a hippie and doesn’t think showing her skin is appropriate. I love her for that.

                        But I would still love her, I just might have a good conversation about objectifying herself, if she walked out of the house in a halter top and short shorts….

                      9. Victim blaming, slut shaming – it all comes from the same place.  Myths about rape abound in our culture.  The fact is, the ONLY significant factor in the decision of a person to commit sexual assault is whether or not the perpetrator thinks they can overpower their victim.  Age, ethnicity, social status, and physical appearance have nothing to do with it.

                        When will people realize, when we say “rape is about power, not sex,” we mean it?  Every other sexual attack, whether physical or verbal, is exactly the same.  It’s about power, not sex appeal.

                      10. My daughter is 14 and she is taller than I am, with bigger breasts than I have…I can tell you that when we traveled to NY last month, more GROWN MEN checked her out without even looking at me. I wanted to walk around with a big sign that said “SHE IS A CHILD, ASSWIPE” but instead, I settled for giving them dirty looks. 

                        While she has the body of a 23 year old, she has the face of a 14 year old and  it makes me sick that I have to worry about men seeing her as a sex object already. And the whole “what was she wearing” thing really pisses me off. She dresses very appropriately for her age – or any ages. She practically lives in jeans and tee shirts – and not the skin-baring kind, either. 

                      11. I don’t have a daughter – I have two boys. So I’ll bypass the topic of teens and just comment on the subject of adults.  I’m also NOT talking about rape – we all know that is a completely different situation and motivation.

                        While I agree there are people who assert themselves in a sexual manner to feel socially dominant – it is done by both men and women. I’ve seen it both ways. It’s a personality (and insecurity) that goes beyond gender. If it is a man, I don’t agree that his being overt automatically means he’s trying to degrade the other person. Sometimes it’s simply the fact that people forget that the opposite sex doesn’t always want to be approached the same way they do. Many men like an assertive female when it comes to flirtation – so they try the same tactic. Yes, it can be arrogant and even disrespectful…but that isn’t the same as predatory.

                      12. EXACTLY! I’m a teenage girl and I can’t go anywhere without teenage boys and men leering at me and staring at me! (and I don’t have big breasts) Although I will admit that people have told me I could pass for a college student even though I’m in high school.

                        Personally, I don’t get what the attraction is. I don’t dress like a skank. I live in loose jeans and t-shirts. And if I’m dressing up I’m in a knee-length cute dress or skirt and blouse. I dress like a good girl.

                        You are SO right. It doesn’t matter what you wear guys still shouldn’t leer at you. I hate being stared and whistled at. It disgusts me that men and boys view me as a sex object instead of a regular teenage girl. Friends have told me that I’m “lucky” to have a great body and to get the attention from guys, but I don’t like it.  And I don’t consider myself lucky. Being followed by teenage boys and having older pervs stare at my but and then whistle at me ISN’T fun. 

                      13. A twelve year old girl looks like a twelve year old boy in my opinion.
                        So the man was probably dumbfounded with how absurd she looked

                      14. This is ridiculous, the way you dress does matter. If you don’t want to be looked at then you should wear something more modest, that’s what my mother always told me. I’m not saying an older man should look at young girls but these girls need to dress their age. These young girls are not as naive as many people think they are. I’m almost 20 and have had the same body since I was about 13 except for maybe I’m a little taller now but I’ve always had the figure of a woman and I have been looked at and talked to frequently since I was young. I also had the maturity of a woman, when an older man would come and talk to me I wouldn’t giggle and act silly, I’d tell him how old I was and tell him to get lost. I have been attracted to older men for a long time and have been dating my boyfriend since I was 18, he is 16 years older than I am, however I met him when I was 15 and caught his attention right away and I liked him immediately but we both made the decision that nothing could happen until I was of age. When I turned 18 I called him right away and we’ve been together since, the point of this story is young girls DO have the mind capacity to make good decisions but most do not want to or do not try to. I think MOST girls over the age of 13 that claim they have been sexually assaulted are usually lying, they just don’t want their parents to find out how nasty they are, so these men are getting crazy amounts of time in prison when nothing happens to the girl. I think the girl should get some kind of juvenile detention because she most likely made the man think she liked him because usually she has been talking to the guy for quite a while which is equally as wrong because she should have just ignored him. I’m obviously not talking about girls that are abducted off the street but when girls meet guys online or meet older boys at parties then they should have enough sense to not put themselves in dangerous situations or situations that they do not want to be in.

                        1. Eeeew! I’m going to get as crude as you are, so strap in folks. You are a wretch & a troll! However, no matter what sort of rock you’ve crawled out below from, how DARE you say that those over 18 who claim they’ve been sexually assualted/raped are lying? I was raped at 14 & left for dead after having my throat cut by someone who may still be walking the streets as a free man. I was wearing my school uniform, with a skirt that was 3 inches below the knee, a long sleeved Oxford blouse, a vest & a blazer, perhaps it was the blue knee socks or the penny loafers that “enticed” the scumbucket thug who waited around the corner from the bus stop. Do you think I should have gotten juvenile detention for dressing so enticingly? I will bet you are a young male posing as a money grubbing, 18 yr old whore because there’s no possible way a 34 yr old man, unless he is married & biding his time for a side slut, to wait 3 yrs “until you were legal.” So much of what you said is disgusting & foolish. When the day comes that you are raising a daughter (please Lord, don’t let this thing reproduce) & you see the sort of disgusting things happening to her which you claim to be all the things you like, remember this reply to your sad & ridiculous trolling. Wihing brain cancer on you for your ridiculous & obviously false (unless you are seriously mentally deficient/disturbed) wouldn’t be awful enough. Shame on you & the awful lies you’ve written!

                          1. Amen, sister. I’m fed up with all the rape apology and men priding themselves on being predatory jerks on the internet. I’m sorry to hear what happened to you, and may the rapist rot in hell.

                            I was also raped by a stranger, in broad daylight, who dragged me into a restaurant restroom and raped me while his poor girlfriend was waiting for him back at their table (she didn’t know she was dating a psychopathic stranger rapist). When he got back from raping me simply he told the girl he had been gone so long because he was “helping a sick girl get to the restroom”.

                            He also (shockingly enough) showed up at the police station and told the police a “whore” had seduced him in a restaurant bathroom and was claiming she was going to cry rape. I was an 18 year old homeschooled girl who was wearing an ankle length skirt and t-shirt when he attacked me. I didn’t even know what a prostitute was until was standing at a police station saying “This stranger raped me!” and the cops said, “He says you’re a prostitute out for money.”

                            Of course, the second thing the cops asked me when I showed up was “what are you wearing?” Then they said they would decline to prosecute since the rapist said I was a whore and it was therefore a “he said, she said case” rather than a stranger rape case. Therefore I would have to PROVE that I hadn’t consented in court. This was prior to rape shield laws so the defense would be able to grill me about my sexual history (there wasn’t much but it was still very intimidating and I didn’t want to have to stand in court and be called a whore and expected to prove otherwise – how humiliating!), however the rapists past would not be admissible in court even though he had been accused of assault before.

                            It was really harrowing and awful and I’m sure that guy went on to assault other people since he was able to get away with it. It makes me so angry when these jerks on the internet make comments about women lying about rape. If anything, getting a conviction is nearly impossible, even if you are assaulted by a stranger.

                      15. i am biologically wired to look (not stare like an idiot) at breasts and bums etc. men are visual. and ive never flirted with a girl because of people like you who would call me sexist. thank goodness for pornography.

                      16. That “what was she wearing” question ties right into the way our society believes as a whole… if a girl does ANYTHING to make a boy even halfway turn his attention to sex (as though the attention of a male is ever actually turned entirely away from sex), then she deserves what she gets, whether it’s slight disrespect or rape or anything in between. There always has to be something SHE did to force HIM to force himself into her personal space in some capacity. That makes me sick. Men are not animals – they are thinking individuals with the capability to be rational and someone “provoking” them should be completely irrelevant. If you can’t control your urges then you really should be locked up.

                        It is just like how people say that a well-known whore (or even a prostitute for the sake of argument) gives it up to just about anybody all the time — for money or for free — so if someone rapes her, it shouldn’t be a big deal. That’s what she gets for making that kind of reputation for herself. What have we come to where our humanity has become so thinly applied to the overall perspective that we believe a woman has no right to dictate who penetrates her body? Poor guy, he didn’t know any better – he just thought she liked it rough. All those times she yelled “no” … well he just misunderstood because OBVIOUSLY she meant yes. …

                        Girls are taught by example from a very young age to just take whatever guys throw at them. Don’t make yourself more of a target by speaking out. Fly under the radar. Let them say what they will… and know that if you have ANY sexuality about yourself, you are just asking to be disrespected – or violated. Like you, I do believe that girls need to be taught MORE to stand up for themselves and to demand to be respected and to be treated in an age-appropriate manner, especially by ADULTS who should know better, yet so often do not.

                        I have a 13 year old daughter and she has looked older than she is by at least a couple of years since she was 11… she and I are the exactly same size and shape… she has curves and her bra size is larger than MINE. She dresses appropriately, but I mean, you can’t hide her body no matter what she wears and based on her development at 13, it is scary to know there are men out there who would take advantage of a child that young… that so many of them do not stop to think COULD THIS YOUNG LADY BE YOUNGER THAN SHE LOOKS??

                        I thankfully haven’t dealt with a lot of inappropriateness from older men but once, we were in a grocery store when a guy at least my age (I was 29 at the time) stopped and literally turned his head to the side to look at her butt while she was standing away from me with her friend picking out candy! I walked over and just about smacked him but he sort of straightened up when he was I was walked directly toward him. I asked him if I could help him find something in my PRETEEN DAUGHTER’S ASS and he sheepishly took off.

                        Now, if a woman is dressed extremely provocatively, I think that it is understandable for men to assume that she wants the attention… but that still does not extend itself into the “she deserves to be violated” territory. Say what you will, flirt if you must but a woman is still the owner of her own body whether she’s naked or in sweats and if she expresses that your advances are unwanted, move on. And men should use the same rule of thumb that gas station attendants use — if she looks younger than 27 years old, you ask for ID before proceeding. Period.

                        Kat Robertson,

                      17. I just came across this post while reading another of your posts – wowza. This is awesome. I have a 9yo daughter who is just beginning to show signs of early womanhood…longer legs, hips, little (but noticeable) buds where breasts will soon be…
                        You’re right when you say that being a woman is a powerful thing. Believe it or not, I actually learned this from my husband who, after a troubled time in our marriage, said to me, “What you never realized is that you’re the one with the power. You and all women have always been the ones with the power.” Men just assume they have the power – so they flaunt it. Women need to realize they have it and then claim it.

                        And I’ve always hated the “well what was she wearing” comments that follow the latest rape or sexual assault story. I find it disgusting that there are still many people who think a girl or a woman was somehow “asking for it” because of what she wore.

                        Thanks for this –

                      18. As someone who frowns upon 30-year old women going to bars dressed in strapless stretch halter tops and in skirts so short everyone knows they’re wearing no underwear, I’ve been accused sometimes of “blaming the victim” when discussing the rape of such women. I don’t agree with that characterization, but this column correctly brings up an entirely separate issue.

                        Pubescent children are simply not proper candidates for sexual activity, and as such, are not proper objects of sexual desire, and anyone whose mind dwells on such a child is a lecherous creep, to put it mildly. It doesn’t matter how she is dressed, because she is a child!

                        Yes, we can disagree on the age at which such “affections” are proper, and some will point out “in other cultures, girls marry much younger than here”. Fine, move to one of those other cultures. But don’t debate me about relative maturity, etc. You want a line? The minimum age at which you should be “looking” is the legal age in your jurisdiction for consensual relations, and if you can’t tell with 100% certainty without inquiring, you don’t inquire—she’s a child, buddy.

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