Woah! Talk About Inappropriate…

     Looking through the archives of LZ Granderson’s opinion stories, I found one that really stood out. It was published online on CNN.com April 19th, 2001, and titled, “Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps.” Quite the eye-catching title. The article starts out by describing a very sexual looking, seemingly attractive young woman. Well, woman it wasn’t…. LZ was describing the appearance of an 8-year-old girl he saw in an airport.

     “Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see alright. … I hope her parents are proud. Their daughter was the sexiest girl in the terminal, and she’s not even in middle school yet.”

     LZ then goes on to describe an outrageous example of how pop culture is going a bit too far into encouraging young girls.. KIDS.. into dressing inappropriately. It is described that a new push up bra made by Abercrombie & Fitch was being marketed to girls at the age of 7 but after public outcry they pushed it up to 12 years. What? Since when does even a twelve-year-old girl have the need for a push up bra?

      LZ’s commentary on the subject is both sarcastic yet stern. He cracks several jokes or quips, but in no way to make light of the situation. The columnists disapproval rings clear throughout his commentary, but if he were to present this subject in a completely serious tone, I do not think his message would have as much weight. While you may wonder, then, about any credibility to his argument, rest assured. LZ does recognizes a legitimate source in the article, stating, “In 2007, the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls issued a report linking early sexualization with three of the most common mental-health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression.”

     This article is a very good example of how to make an effective argument. Here is his step-by-step process:

  1. Describe the problem (young girls dressing like “tramps”)
  2. Provide an example of the source for the problem (the inappropriate marketing of Abercrombie)
  3. Make stance- very clear and in a way appealing to the audience but not undermining the seriousness of the problem (witty quips and sarcastic condemnation)
  4. Provide a credible source- brings legitimacy and evidence to support his stance (American Psychological Association)
  5. Name a solution to the problem (Parents need to be more responsible!!)

     If anyone isn’t already convinced that both sexually dressed 8 year olds is a problem and that the responsibility ultimately rests on the parents shoulders, they should be after reading this article!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Humor is a great approach to some serious problems. A lot of heavy lifting can be done by taking something already ridiculous to an even further extreme in a humorous way. Using humor avoids accusations of being too preachy, as well. It especially works for something like an article about inappropriately-dressed 8 year old children. The topic is one wherein can be found a lot of humor, but there is also a very serious element to be considered. The tone of the article suits that purpose well.


  2. I’ll be interested to see if you continue to find examples of how Granderson uses sarcasm and wit to draw his audience into difficult issues.
    This issue is dear to my heart–and the selection of clothing for girls bothers me quite a bit. What I don’t understand is why the clothing doesn’t set off alarms for all parents–but then, I don’t understand “Toddlers and Tiaras,” either.


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