On October 23–24, I’m going shopping. And I’m taking 22,000 friends with me! Yes, you read that correctly—22,000! And while this event is primarily for moms and their 8–12-year-old daughters, I’d like to invite you to join us as a mom-to-be and role model to 8–12-year-olds.
Here’s the deal. This is not just about getting a really great new T-shirt or a cozy new sweatshirt for fall weekends. It’s about learning discernment. My "Shop ‘Til You Drop Event," designed to thank retailers who are providing age-appropriate clothing for our little girls, is also meant to help girls in that age range learn to discern where they can and can’t shop!
Lexi, Autumn, and I have a list of about five stores that we absolutely will not frequent. Though some of their clothing is modest enough, much of their advertising is sexual in nature and we have chosen not to put money in their bank accounts to support that. I’ve chosen to be relatively secretive about the names of the stores on this list, because it is not my goal to boycott them. But I have a desire to instill discernment in you and those you influence. So we’re doing something positive.
Eleven thousand moms (and some college and teen moms-to-be) have signed a petition to thank retailers who provide age-appropriate clothing. USA Today, Focus on the Family, K-LOVE, The Baptist Free Press, and many other news entities have covered our efforts to encourage retailers to provide age-appropriate clothing for little girls. I’d like to invite you to find an 8–12-year-old to take shopping this weekend. You can do a lot to instill discernment in her. Here’s how it works:
- Sit down with your little sister or a girl in your church and explain why we are doing this. Let me remind you that an American Psychological Association (APA) task force on the sexualization of little girls found some terrifying trends associated with smutty clothes. The APA task force’s report states that music lyrics, Internet content, video games, and clothing are now being marketed to younger and younger girls. The smutty content of the marketing is linked to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression when these little girls become teens. You can’t tell a little sis that! But what you can tell her is this: "Sometimes the clothing seems okay and everyone else is wearing it and buying it, but the research proves that girls who get too focused on how they look end up getting so sick that they don’t like themselves and end up hurting themselves. I don’t want you to be like that, so I’m going to teach you how to shop so you look beautiful but modest."
- Show her the "A More Beautiful You" video by Johnny Diaz. It shows really clearly how make-up, photography, and computer design can create a fake "beautiful." Help her to understand that she’s beautiful just like she is and that you don’t want her to buy into the world’s lies that she needs to buy certain clothes or wear make-up to be beautiful.
- Tell her that we want to thank some stores who have chosen not to create unhealthy images for us to look at. You can learn about which three stores we are shopping at as a group at www.secretkeepergirl.com, but you can choose any stores that you find to be consistent in providing age-appropriate clothing for little girls. Ask your mom to help you discern. Talk to your little sis, and tell her that over 20,000 moms (11,000 have signed the petition) and daughters are joining us to show up at these stores and buy something on October 23–24 just to say thanks!
I don’t want to ban anything. I will stay positive. But I will be a consumer who expresses my concern.
To view the Bod Squad petition go to www.secretkeepergirl.com where you can also download a copy of the APA Task Force’s study on the sexualization of girls.