Don’t All Great Moral Conundrums Begin At Wal Mart?

Yesterday Corrie and I went to our local SuperCenter, and we started out in the little girls’ clothing section.  I was thrilled to notice a new line of t-shirts they’re marketing as "longer length" (read: cover up your daughter’s midriff because she’s SEVEN, for Pete’s sake).  About time, I thought with a smug head nod. 

My satisfaction didn’t last for long–I quickly found a t-shirt (in a size 4T, no less) with a giant "WHATEVER!" printed on it.  I grumbled to myself through the rest of the store.  What kind of world is it in which four year olds walk around with sentiments like this on their chest?  What hope is there for America?  Could our moral decline be any steeper?  How shall I protect my daughter from such a world?

I was so wrapped up in my righteous thoughts that I didn’t even realize that I was, to soothe my daughter’s fussiness, leaning forward and singing into her ear along with the song playing over the PA system:  Papa Don’t Preach.

Yep.  Mom Of The Year, right here.

50 thoughts on “Don’t All Great Moral Conundrums Begin At Wal Mart?

  1. Pam says:

    Great post! I have visited your blog often but think this is my first time to comment. You are certainly blessed with a talent to inform and teach, using your God given sense of humor. What a blessing!

  2. Kelli says:

    My little girl is 9 it is a scavenger hunt to find shirts and clothes appropriate. Tons of the shirts in her size say things like “Biggest Flirt” or “I Make Boys Drool”…not slogans I want my 9 year old advertising.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Ugghhh! Wait until you hit size 7 then there is almost no hope. I think the best for kids are Lands End, LL Bean, Hanna Andersson and CWDKids. All are very expensive pf course. The good thing is that they last and I do have 2 daughters so I should really factor that in and divide the cost of the outfits in half to see how much I am spending per girl ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t decided how to handle the clothes shopping this year but I think I may just go with 5 outfits total and do the wash a lot more.

  4. MCMilker says:

    Great topic. One might wonder who exactly thinks those sorts of things ARE appropriate. Not me. I too spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to find age appropriate clothes, (generally now without writing since, not being particularly hip, I second guess myself on what exactly the words mean.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I never comment anonymously, but I am so mortified that I did this that I don’t want to attach my name to the deed!!!
    I am there with you with the clothing thing, but just reading your title made me laugh. A big, fat, “YES,” to answer your title’s question! My husband works late on Thurs. nights, and I went to a friend’s for dinner a few weeks ago on Thursday and left my older 2 children with her while I ran to Walmart quickly to get much-needed diapers and a few other things. I took my 4-month-old baby with me, so my friend wouldn’t have to deal with fussytime. Well, she was quiet as a mouse the whole way there, which is rare for nighttime you know with an infant. I found this fabulous parking space, flew out of my van, and just about the time I saw the Photo Lab sign, it hit me!
    I booked it all the way out (about three mins. had passed, but it seemed like an eternity) and managed to fly out to my van just when the security cop was parking beside my van. BIG, YELLOW FLASHING LIGHTS – the whole deal…. I’m sure someone heard my baby start crying! I was trembling…. I told the cop, “I never take just my youngest with me, and I COMPLETELY forgot she was in the van.” He just nodded and asked me a bunch of really detailed questions about the baby – I guess to make sure I wasn’t kidnapping her, and I went back into the store (and heard several people gasping and snickering at this TERRIBLY immoral mom who left her child in the van)….
    Oh, there go I but the grace of God!
    (And funny – I haven’t been back to Walmart in about a month. I think I’m terrified that I’ll do something terrible again!)

  6. Christine says:

    Since you’ve been posting on this subject I’ve begun to notice such clothing for boys too. Like for Valentine’s Day they had t-shirts with “Heartbreaker” splashed all over the front. How would you explain that to a 3 yo?

  7. Belinda says:

    You’re funny, girl!!! I also can’t stand the shirts with the disrespectful/prideful statements plastered across the front-thank the good Lord, my 10 year old girls don’t like them either!! We have pretty good luck at Old Navy for clothes. Their girls jeans are only a few dollars more than Walmart and they have those button elastic thingies inside the waist for my skinny little girls. Keep making my days with your funny, but true posts!

  8. Happi says:

    Papa don’t preach…I love it. I have boys, but if I had girls, the clothing dilemma would haunt me constantly. How are we supposed to teach modesty for goodness sake? This must be hard for women with girls. Boys, in that respect, are truly much easier!

  9. Happi says:

    Papa don’t preach…I love it. I have boys, but if I had girls, the clothing dilemma would haunt me constantly. How are we supposed to teach modesty for goodness sake? This must be hard for women with girls. Boys, in that respect, are truly much easier!

  10. Clemntine says:

    Girl, if Wal-Mart don’t have it, you don’t need it, and that includes Moral Conundrums.
    My 10-year-old, the fashion-conscious kid of the bunch, looked at some Juicy/Spicy/Tastes Great-Less Filling (or some such nonsense) clothes and said, “THAT is NOT from Jesus!” Takes after her Maw, she does.

  11. Milehimamam says:

    The WalMart boy’s section isn’t any better! I was looking for clothes for my 6 yo and the t-shirts all had slogans on them like “Chick Magnet”, “That’s Why The Girls Like Me” and “School is for Dummies”.
    Perfect attire for a first grader, I’m sure.
    Mama Says

  12. Angela says:

    I am often amazed at what parents allow their little girls to wear across their fronts AND their bottoms! Yikes! Do they think it is cute? I would venture to guess they won’t find it so cute when their 15 year old daughter responds to their request with “WHATEVER!” Sigh…

  13. Shalee says:

    We did a family devo (from a book) the other night and it had an example of a girl loving a song and when she listen/sang along while in the car with her parents, they asked her about the words and she said “I don’t care about the words; I just like the music.”
    When they asked her to actually listen to the words, she realized that they weren’t anything that was honoring God, nor were they words that defined what she was taught to believe.
    The kicker for me? The question at the end of the devo: Should we listen to songs that don’t support our beliefs as Christians?
    Great… I had to agree that we shouldn’t listen to some songs while I was going through my mental song files, knowing that I was surely busted the next time I put in any of my 80s CDs…
    I’m right there with you in the MOTY running.

  14. An Iowa Mom says:

    The way they’re marketing to our children (and it’s so difficult to find anything else) it’s no wonder why the majority of our kids are smart mouths and disrespectful to adults AND other children.
    I just won’t tolerate it. My kids (boys especially) know that the phrases they see everyday on other children at school are disrespectful and degrading. I don’t blame parents for their kiddos wearing those items, as it’s sometimes impossible to find anything else … but with all the “professionals” trying to blame TV and Video Games as to why the children of today are like they are … no one ever wants to see that it goes much further than that. It’s ridiculous.
    There is no way I’m going to allow my 3 year old to walk around with JUICY plastered all over her behind.
    No Way!

  15. Jill says:

    What’s truly sad is that there must be a market for this type of thing because I’ve been seeing the shirts for years and they keep coming in smaller and smaller sizes! Who are the people that buy these things?
    As for your lovely serenade, it reminded me of the episode of Friends where the only way Ross could get the baby to smile or laugh at him was to sing “I Like Big Butts” lol

  16. Jennifer says:

    7!!! — wait until they are 11… UGGGG… When we find a decent shirt… not short, not tight, not see through, yet under $10… we snag them all. One in every color. รœ
    THANKS for the site meter link. I’ve got mine up and running. How cool… I’ve had a visitor from Spain… who know?
    Enjoyed your blog today — once again!

  17. Tamara says:

    My two girls know I will not purchase these items and extended family know not to buy them. My children wear uniforms to our parish school so that saves a lot of hassle. I tell my girls that they are daughters of the King and don’t put anything on their bodies that says otherwise.

  18. PJ says:

    I’ve always found it disturbing that mom’s let little girls wear words like “cutie” or “cheer” across their hiney. There are a lot of pedophiles out there, why bring additional attention to that area. I’m skipping this trend. I love graphic T-shirt’s, but pass on the attitude ones. Just my thoughtโ€ฆ with many flaws, right here!

  19. Julie says:

    My head about snapped off the other day when those exact words came out of my 4 year old’s mouth. Her other newest saying “That’s my pleasure.” As in I provide a list of snack choices and she’ll say “Chex Mix. That’s my pleasure.” Where in the world did she get that from?

  20. Bee says:

    I feel horrible! I used to buy that sort of stuff for my niece (not the tight or bare midriff stuff, but the “whatever” stuff) back when I was in college. I never even gave it a second thought. Now that I’m a parent, I do really try to think about those types of things. That said, I still bought my son a CHICK MAGNET onesie and the only reason he doesn’t own the HEARTBREAKER valentine one from the GAP is because they were out of his size. I really don’t feel bad for either. Double Standard?! You caught me! Guess you can put me up for Person of the Year as well as Parent of the Year!

  21. Kelley says:

    We always have the same moral conundrum during American Idol season. We really love watching the show, and our kids are huge fans of the finalists by the time it’s all over. My mom even got our whole family tickets to the tour concert last year (after Season 4). But we have a hard time explaining to them why we’re usually not interested in buying the CDs at the end of the season. They learn music so very easily. Do we want Chris Daughtry’s lyrics drilled into their minds? Not especially.

  22. nicole says:

    Right there with you on the frustration with the clothing. I have found Old Navy and Children’s Place to be good stores for plain shirts, or shirts w/o sayings on them. Also, Mardel is a great store for t-shirts with Christian messages on them.

  23. Brandy says:

    lol–I caught myself singing to an old song trying to remember if it was general or Christian. The lyrics suggested general audience, but I wasn’t really sure. It felt so familiar, I really thought it was Christian–until I saw a commercial for Depeche Mode on TV a few days later with them singing THAT song. (First time I’ve ever seen a commercial for them, even back when they were popular.)
    And yeah, I had the same experience with girl clothes in Wal-Mart a month ago. (How about them clothes for six year old with suggestive phrases on them? Yack.) Are you my twin, or something?
    Brandy of The Building Brows

  24. julie says:

    I totally totally agree. My 10 year old daughter and I used to constantly fight over clothing. At ten!!! It has gotten better since she realized her Dad and I weren’t budging, and we were perfectly happy to buy her clothes as long as they covered her up, ALL THE WAY. For six grade she is going to a private Christian School with uniforms…can I hear a hallaluah?

  25. Pattie says:

    Imagine my complete and utter shock when my daughter who is only 8 says to me (while looking for clothes at a store) “I heard that black makes you look thinner…I want to get lots of black”. I was mortified….8….she wears slims as it is. I was just so surprised….I didn’t know the black trick until the 9th grade!!

  26. elizabeth says:

    I could write forever about how great my daughter is. She turns 12 next week. We never have clothing issues and she is so her own fashionista- like she’s a preppy skateboarder in the mountains? Great colors, no butt writing, no stringy tops or short-shorts or hangy earrings (she earned her ears to be pierced at an early age) or MAKE UP or clumpy black boots… She so rocks!!! Yea, Her!!

  27. Tara says:

    My mom found a pair of Calvin Klein unders in a size 2 T. They were THONGS for goodness sake!!! How can I dress my daughter and teach my sons how to be modest when CK is designing THONGS for babies???

  28. Tara says:

    Oh, and as for the eighties flashback moment, didn’t Strawberry Shortcake wear more clothes back then, too??? She’s looking a little more inappropriate these days than when I was little!

  29. Kim says:

    Modesty is one of my hearts desire for my children(thankfully their heart’s desire,too…the older ones,I mean)…and it takes time and energy to find modest stuff! I hear you!

  30. NerdMom says:

    I am with you in the need of longer shirts. I have a pretty tall 3 year old and all the shirts start creeping up on her. We also don’t tolerate the sayings on the shirts. It started when I was pregnant with my first. NerdDad put his foot down about the self serving bib sayings when it came to registering for our first son. When we had our first baby shower for our daughter is when things got tough. Halter tops for newborn girls, ugh. So we started having to set up standards. It has been challenging but it is important.

  31. An Ordinary Mom says:

    Good moms know that it is just fine to listen to old school Madonna … we just don’t practice what she preaches!
    Modesty, modesty, modesty. Now that is something that we are teaching our two little ones. I just wish there were more things out there to choose from. However, there is a company that my daughter and I have found that has immensely helped us to expand our modest, clean-cut yet cute wardrobe – Modbe … they even have kids clothes. These shirts solve the gapitis problems that arise from shirts that are too short and from pants that are too low.
    Feel free to email me if you want more info. I normally don’t advertise products, but I have been very impressed with their stuff … and no I don’t work for them ๐Ÿ™‚ !!

  32. daring young mom says:

    But you see, by singing her that song, you’ve taught her that if she’s ever “in trouble deep” she can come to you or your husband for advice and you’ll help her out. And, she may not terminate her accidental pregnancy. Good job Shannon.

  33. qtpies7 says:

    Oh, we all sing goofy songs to our kids that we should probably forget we knew, lol.
    I recently brought up an old video of Julie Brown singing “Cause I’m Blonde” and had a good laugh. We got to talk about all the wrong things in there and make fun of the dumb ideas.
    My girls don’t want to wear immodest clothing, but it is HARD to find something that is modest, but doesn’t make your child stand apart in an outcast way. Its not our job as parents to get our kids ostrasized, but it is our job to make sure they are in the world but not of it. Its a tough one.
    Old Navy works really well most of the time, except for my 15yo who has a large chest area and things are way too big for her if they fit her there.

  34. Terri says:

    I totally agree with you about the inappropriate clothing for children. There are crude and rude remarks on boys and girls shirts that shouldn’t even be a choice for them, in my opinion. I have had more than one of my little fifth grade students have on a shirt that says “Hottie” or “Don’t hate me because your boyfriend wants me!” One girl, no bigger than a cake of soap although she was 10, had on a shirt with a very suggestive sexual remark on it one time. She came up, so proudly, and wanted me to see her new shirt. “My Mom bought one for her,too, just like it!” she said. I, very quietly, had her go to the Guid. Couns. to get another shirt to wear for the day. You see, my wonderful, beautiful daughter never gave me a bit of trouble like that. Thank the Lord! She is 23 yrs. old and we constantly had a hard time finding shorts and tops that didn’t look practically like underwear! She is appalled by clothes for young women. But, thinks, too that a person should wear the correct size of clothes. Too often, you see young girls pounded into jeans and shirts that are 2 or more sizes too small! They go around with their bellies hanging over, giving them the “muffin-top” effect (Did anyone else read Boomama’s post a few weeks ago about jeans???). My daughter wears a size 6, but doesn’t try to pound herself into a size 2 and extra small. Please take this as the “broad, in-general” statment it is intended to be…….but, we women “say” we want to be treated with respect, we “say” that we’ve come along way in many areas in our society, we “say” we don’t want our young girls having pre-marital sex, we “say” (and truly are heart-broken) that it’s horrible for children to be exploited, etc. I personally don’t think that we can allow them to think that this kind of attire is approprite when they are young and then expect them to know the difference when they’re pre-teens and young adults. I don’t bring any other kind of smut into my home, why would I let one of my children wear it? I’ll get off of my soapbox now. Shannon, you just hit on a topic that I feel very passionate about. It is so encouraging to read so many of the previous comments from Moms who are guarding their little one from this kind of thing. It will be worth every minute some day.

  35. Tracey says:

    I didn’t realize Walmart was finally marketing longer t-shirts for little girls! That’s so good to know. My 7-year-old wore nice-condition hand-me-downs until she was probably 5, because I didn’t want her wearing the current fashions. I remember when they started coming in in the late 90’s there were articles here and there about how the industry wasn’t listening to the parents, but the industry didn’t give us much choice.
    The irony is pretty funny, too. My kids went over to shovel the walk of an elderly neighbor, and on the way my son accidentally swatted his sister with the shovel. So she arrived with a nice goose egg in the middle of her forehead…

  36. Athena says:

    My daughter is 11 1/2, I have taught her from a very young age, what is NOT appropriate! Its been a long struggle but she looks for clothes and I am so proud when she picks out the good stuff ๐Ÿ™‚ I DO NOT like the shirts like that either. I really hate the pants that have stuff written on the behind! I don’t want some prev looking at my kid’s behind ya know? If I find myself noticing I get mad!! Those kinda pants are very noticable!!
    My daughter gets upset because she can’t find things that are within good limits, so we go to the junior section and buy them 2 sizes larger and they still fit!! LOL!! We shop a lot @ Kohl’s, especially the clearance section (PTL for that) I may have to check out the longer shirts at the supercenter, don’t go there much, we love Meijer!!

  37. Polly says:

    There are so very many offensive TShirts out there that I don’t know where to start! The worst on I’ve seen however, said “You know you want some of this”. Oh dear goodness, the child was MAYBE 10? What was her mother thinking?????
    I guess I’ll just have to learn to sew now. That way when my 7 month old is old enough I can hopefully piece together a decent wordrobe for her.

  38. Mama says:

    I’ve had luck at Children’s Place. I had always thought it was a “pricey mall store”, but turns out you can usually get good deals like shirts 2 for $10/$12 or in the “big” girl section 2 for $15. And they carry a 5T that fits my very tall 4yr great. The typical sayings on their shirts are “Little Princess”, “100% Angel” (just couldn’t buy this one), and for Valentine’s Day “I Love Cupcakes”. Jeans there are 2/$20/$22. I recently fell in love with their socks – mix-n-match 3/$6 or 6/$10. I picked up 3 for each kido. Up to a shoe size 13 they have grippers on the bottoms, my daughter loves these to wear around the house and really not to much different than the cheap, thin ones from Wal-Mart 5/$6 and she has one pair that we got at a garage sale that’s she’s wearing for the 3rd year.

  39. Polly says:

    One more thing. A friend told me about “modest” clothing that are geared for LDS (Mormons). This friend buys her undershirts online because she works for a company that doesn’t allow skin to show in the midsection and she didn’t want to be pulling her shirts down all day. Many of these companies carry young girls’ clothing and many are very reasonable.
    While it is good to know there are resources out there for modest girls’ clothing, isn’t it crazy that mothers have to go to an effort to find this clothing?

  40. Growing in Grace says:

    Oh man. I totally agree. DH has complained to stores before who sell those kind of shirts with very disrespectful messages on them. I also agree (almost more so) with pants that have messages on the bottom. I’ve even seen school sport clothes like that. This year our volleyball players all wore shirts that said “It is our duty to kick your booty.” It makes me hope I can be brave and stick to my guns on this stuff when my 3 year old is older.

  41. Jamie says:

    I have two little girls and I tend to gravitate toward the “preppier” looks for them that are classic styles. We get a lot of hand me downs from my neighbor and thankfully she has pretty conservative taste. I had to chuckle/wince the other day because my 4 1/2 year old got a Bratz valentine from one of her classmates, who is also a teacher at the daycare. UGH!! My daughter also has a friend who just turned 5 who just had her ears pierced and the hubby and I are pretty adamant about waiting until she is closer to 12. Wish us luck! So far she hasn’t talked about it, but I think it’s just a matter of time before she notices her friend’s pierced ears.

  42. Sarah's in the Midst of It says:

    There’s a Christian radio station in the DFW area–a very well-known one–that does advertisements for CSI and Grey’s Anatomy. It’s pretty sad when even the Christian community buys into promoting secular things! Grey’s Anatomy, for heaven’s sake!
    And heaven help me if clothes don’t improve for little girls soon–if Addison has to wear ones her mama has sewn, she’ll run away. And so will I, since I can’t sew ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Robin says:

    My parents bought my 2 1/2 year old boy a t-shirt that says “I’m definitely up to something”. It’s cute, but it’s amazing how my attitude changes when he’s wearing it. My patience wanes and I get crabby with him. He’s the same boy he always is.
    The shirt is going.

  44. Marian says:

    I just have to say that the title of this post is a classic and made me smile in anticipation before I read a word of it!

  45. Jennifer says:

    The only thing better (read worse) is that frequently they print these sayings on the bum of pants or shorts. Like I want strangers eyes to be drawn to my child’s private areas to read some sassy saying? I think not! I am with you on finding shirts that cover my daughters stomach. She has a very long torso and it is almost impossible to find shirts that fit her correctly and bathing suits are horrible to try to buy for her. Good luck dressing your daughter!

  46. Joni says:

    Just happened in and I could not agree more. I was just at Wal-Mart today. Can’t find anything hip that doesn’t have a diva phrase on it or make my 2 & 5 yr old trampy. Hint to Wal-Mart: THAT’S WHY THEY’RE ON THE CLEARANCE RACK. NOBODY WANTS THEM. STOP BUYING THEM FROM YOUR DISTRIBUTORS!!!!! Grrrrrr. I believe I will become Amish and make all my children’s clothes. Smocks, yes that’s it. I will make them smocks.

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