Old media, new media, whatever — nothing moves ad space like the curiously creepy blend of titillation and censure that is the “why are our daughters such skanks?” essay. The Wall Street Journal has the latest example of the genre, Jennifer Moses’ straightforwardly-named “Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?”
Never mind that teen sex is actually down these days. Never mind that Moses offers no evidence to support any of her tangled theses. She’s got a lede that salivates over twelve-year-olds in minidresses and a dozen paragraphs of hand-wringing to follow it with, and that’s all she needs. It’s time to sell some wine! (And, since this is the WSJ, a hospital!)
Mary Elizabeth Williams has already dissected Moses’ silliness admirably, and I won’t rehash her points. (Go read.) But I do want to highlight the piece’s final paragraph, which is a real doozy:
But it’s easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn’t dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: “Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven’s sake, get laid!” But that’s essentially what we’re saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they’re still living under our own roofs.
Yes, that’s what all the short hemlines and dangly earrings and inexpertly-applied blush are leading up to. Our daughters are going to have sex. In college.
Sex. In college. What will they think of next?