Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cover Up! The Kids Are Watching!

Example of cleavage from a German lingerie adv...Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I went into a young girls' clothing store called "Justice" to return a sweater that I had bought my daughter for Christmas that she was too afraid to tell me she hated and would never wear. The tags were still on it! (What is it about mothers turning into fashion failures after they have kids?)

Anyway, I walked up to the register and standing behind it with a pretty little smile on her face was a 20-something gal looking perky -- and quite seductive in a top cut so low, I could almost see her areolas. Swear to God! I looked around to make sure I hadn't accidentally walked in to a Frederick's of Hollywood, and for a split second thought I should check the sign outside the store to see if it said, "Girls! Girls! Girls!"

I was flabbergasted that a clerk working in a store that sold clothes for young girls between 5 and 12 years old would be dressed like a stripper. Had she no common sense? Doesn't she realize that our young daughters are watching, and learning, from her generation of young women? If they see all these gals walking around baring their breasts like it's a mandatory dress code for that age group, they will think it's OK to dress that way, too; that sexy and slutty are "in," and modesty is SO uncool.

I mean, what are these salesclerks thinking when they get dressed for work? Do they think some really cute guy is going to walk in to a store for little girls, for no apparent reason, see them up at the counter showing their nipples and think, "You are SO hot! I want to whisk you away from this miserable minimum-wage existence to birth my babies!" (Picture Richard Gere in "An Officer and a Gentleman.") These stores aren't bars or nightclubs -- they are WORK places!

So I did what any Mad Mom would do: I asked for the manager. I told her that I was a mother of a tween -- a very impressionable tween -- and that I didn't appreciate shopping in a store for young girls where the salesclerks are dressed like hookers. I suggested that she tell all the Justice employees to cover up -- or at least wear cammies over all that cleavage. I told her it is highly inappropriate to dress like that around our innocent young daughters and that they had an obligation, working in a store like this, to be role models for our children.

In other words, I suggested she mandate a new dress code for her employees of "Less cleavage, more class."

And I'd like to encourage every mother out there who has a young daughter to follow suit. If you walk into a store that sells products aimed at your child, and the salesclerks look like prostitutes, PLEASE go up to the manager and let her know that you're not going to be shopping there any longer if her employees continue to dress like that because it's sending the wrong message to our children, who are oversexualized enough as it is.

If each of us can do this one little thing, we may be able to help our daughters hang on to their innocence a little bit longer.

Better yet, send a complaint to their customer service department. Maybe if they get hit with enough mad-mom e-mails, they might reconsider their employee dress code. Here's the link (and a BIG thank you to Joe at joeprose.typepad.com/my_weblog for suggesting that we attack them digitally!): http://www.shopjustice.com/customerService/Contact_Us

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katy said...

Thanks for the advice of talking to the manager. I never knew what to do in this situation. Good idea.
What did the manager say?
Just wondering, if it was a store for older teens clothes, like the Gap, would it be ok to do the same?

Lynn said...


Thanks for chiming in! The manager was very apologetic, and certainly saw my point. And she "said" she would talk to her employees. Whether she did or not, I don't know. But if the directive to dress more modestly came down from corporate headquarters, I guarantee you, they would dress appropriately. So I encourage you to direct a complaint in that direction. And yes, I think the same dress code should apply to stores that sell to teenagers. I have a 15-year-old and I have to be the cleavage police with her, too. You can read more about my adventures with my teen at:

Mocha Dad said...

Good for you. The way some young women dress is deplorable. I'm glad to see someone taking a stand for modesty.

ivan said...

Hey I'm only 17 but i seriously like you, like in an admiring way, i was writing an essay on the negative effect of media and while doing my research i tumbled along your page and i think you are absolutely amazing and right. I strongly identify myself with you and just wanted to say that your awesome. Please contact me at ivan_likes_ham@yahoo.com, I would like to ask you a few question

Anonymous said...

Nitpicky correction by OCD me...
Justice is aimed at ages 6-14, especially ages 9-13. Your article says it is aimed to ages 5-12, which is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Why can boys be shirtless, yet girls' cleavage is a sign of shame? Maybe if this girl was dressed badly, I understand. But calling young women prostitutes? No ma'am, we should not ever be saying that! I have very large breasts. It is very difficult to find shirts that will actually cover it all. Prom or homecoming dress shopping? Impossible to not look borderline prostitute. Maybe this worker had that problem, as at Justice we are supposed to dress up for work. We can not just put on a t-shirt and waltz into work. As a flat-chested person, I assume you've never had this problem. But I've had to deal with it since I was in, literally, the fourth grade. Reconsider these things before you speak poorly about a group of people, when im fact, you only know very little about a situation.

Lindsey Palmer said...

I work in retail and though I do think people should be dressed classy, there are differing opinions on how much is too much. So, sure talk to the manager. But telling me you wont shop there is comical. One lost person will not break a store.

Anonymous said...

You are very controlling by trying to hold on to your daughter's innocense. She has to grow up some day. And believe me, there are worse things in the United States that are influencing young minds, than a sales associate with a clevage. It's not very nice to call her a prostitute. I am glad you have never been in a situation where you were hungry and had to struggle to feed your family. Never judge a prostitute, "you could be her in another life, in another set of circumstances". Some of us have to work in minimum wage jobs because we don't have a choice and we need that money. Especially because of people like you, the world is messed up. You are insulting to your own being. Be careful, God will open your eyes some day.