Friday, May 13, 2011, 16:36
The question is a loaded one. It’s even more profound than “do I look fat in this?” or even the inane “beauty is in the yes of the beholder” adage.
For Rod Stewart, it was obviously a rhetorical question – he didn’t wait for, or even want, any replies, because he just sang on and on, oblivious to the fact that sex appeal and what appears to pass for “sexy”, to some of us, are two totally different things.
Appeal is something that attracts you to a person; a fascination that may actually be repulsive to someone else. You may find the masculinity, or femininity, or someone of your own gender attractive. However, sex appeal is not necessarily, by association, something that makes you want him or her in a sexual manner.
Whichever way we look at it, in-your-face sexuality adapts itself to whichever phase of life one cares to look at.
So here, abridged, is the ultimate guide to make sure that you and yours get a resounding “Yes!” for an answer when you even hum Rod Stewart’s Lyrics.
Birth to Six Months:
Suri Cruise has expensive tastes as well as carte blanche to indulge them. Your child probably cannot compete with her, but there’s no reason she cannot start early in the racy stakes.
You can get froufrou baby shoes that match outfits – against the express wishes of your paediatrician and podiatrist – for babies who cannot even walk, just as you can get outfits that match yours for your dog.
But why stop at that? After all, anyone can jazz up baby shoes by adding frills and bows and glitter glue. What your baby really needs are stilettos. I “kid” you not. Imelda Marcos could have begun her collection much earlier had she been born later.
Baby stilettos do have heels – but they are soft. After all, we know how most babies are flexible enough their toes in their mouth. Hard stilettos would ruin the bedding and slash the baby’s cheek. So these zebra and leopard print shoes (unless you prefer classic black or hot pink) shoes will help Baby realise that it’s a jungle out there, as early as possible.
Six Months to One Year:
Most of us have relatives in Australia. Some of us have babies, or know someone who does. We can combine the two together and ask the former to gift the latter with some all-in-ones and t-shirts that have slogans too vulgar to quote in this newspaper. They will have to search high and low for them, though, because some of the slogans in the range have been discontinued, after the backlash they caused.
Most of the slogans are nothing but sad, crass, sexual humour, on the other aside of “I’m living proof that my mum is easy”. Yet they are supposed to raise a laugh from adults; and the babies think, consequently, that “these big people are friendly”. Ironically, these clothes are produced by a company boasting of its efforts to “help communities around the globe, protect the environment, and support workers’ rights…”
By the way – some of the slogans were interpreted by some bloggers as making light of child abuse. Then, of course, there arose the “Freedom of Speech” and the “Boycott Them” arguments.
One Year to Seven Years:
Forget about Brand Loyalty. After all, a baby who has just started toddling about appreciates “colourful, artistic creations that showcase some personality and attitude”. It’s tough being perfect is so bland, isn’t it? It is time to switch to clothing that shows what the baby is really probably thinking. Surely there’s nothing wrong with lavatory humour supposedly out of the mouths of babes? And
Photo-shopped pictures of toddlers with tattoos and Mohicans are supposed to encourage me to get these clothes. The manufacturers believe that if they throw in some catch-phrases such as “organic cotton” and “fair-trade goods”, the customers will flock to their [American] outlets.
Seven Years up:
Here the emphasis shifts towards girls. And what else could you get a seven-year-old girl, if not a push-up bra, a ‘new and improved version’ of the bralette associated with a popular animated series? Especially if it has her favourite character emblazoned on each cup. After all, this girl wants to emulate her mother, does she not?
Maybe I exaggerate a little, because after the hullaballoo that ensued when this item of lingerie was launched, the “age limit” for it was put up from 7 to twelve. But you can still get thongs for children in single digit ages; and if panties have to have a slogan, you can’t get more graphic than mentioning credit cards.
There was a time when cosmetics for children had plastic imitation lipsticks, and eye-shadows were just pots of glitter in a colourless base. These days, however, you can get them “the works”, including vouchers for depilation since having smooth skin is a “necessity for their self-esteem”. When they are 12 years old, they can even go for laser treatments.
Ten Years Up:
Unless you have seen the adverts for a particular brand of shoes, you cannot understand that boys are content to wear baggy shirts and baggier jeans, but girls have to be thin and lithe and, well, sexy. You can get them halter-necks, leather skirts, and anything else that would make them a paedophile’s dream. And, meanwhile, note that Speedos don’t come in young boys’ sizes.
After all, if the Americans can get their kids all-over spray tans and body waxes and Botox injections before they take them to yet another beauty pageant, why can’t we do our daughters’ nails in gel and their eyebrows threaded?
If Miley Cyrus and her ilk can take indecent photos first and apologise to their young fans later, why can’t we take provocative photos of our daughters and post them on social sites, hoping they will be seen by a talent scout?
Is it right for girls to grow up thinking that their mothers do not love them unless they pay for “stuff”, and that aspiring to become a WAG is “normal”? I find it pathetic that some girls are told that it is “liberating” and an “educated choice” to walk the streets half-naked, because you “dress is a matter of personal choice, and you dress for yourself, not for others”.
When all is said and done, dressing girls in “sexy” clothes could be a 21st Century strain of Munchausen’s Syndrome. Instead of drawing attention to ourselves because of our daughters’ illnesses, we are doing it through their being a “picture of [sexual] health”.