Laurie and Debbie say:
@lavienus put up a starkly convincing thread on Twitter about what outfits make Black girls look “too grown” opposite white-girl fashion at comparable ages. (@lavienus also has the image manipulation skills to put these images side by side, which we don’t have the time to emulate.)
We, unsurprisingly, 100% agree that white society perceives Black girls as sexual objects younger and more widely than it does white girls. In this long social period where girls’ fashion from toddler to pre-teen encourages outfits that dress young girls to look like hot women, Black girls are often cut off — by completely understandably protective families — from enjoying the fashion their white peers can rock.
Patriarchy has always embraced the right to sexualize girls and women, and to insist that they invite sexual attention, whatever the fashion may be. In cahoots with the patriarchy, white supremacy has always embraced the right to do this to Black girls and women. Going all the way back to the days of slavery, Black girls are sexualized younger and with no concern. If pre-teen girls were generally wearing demure Victorian outfits in 2019, culturally embedded sexism would still declare them to be available (and eager), and structural racism would still make those declarations about Black girls earlier and more freely.
So @lavienus ‘s paired images are especially important.
If we believe in one thing at Body Impolitic, it’s that making the invisible visible helps us understand what’s happening. Read @lavienus’s whole Twitter thread and look at all the pictures. As the thread says:
Stop sexualizing little black girls.
Let them enjoy fashion.
Let them enjoy swimsuit.
Let them enjoy sport uniforms.
Let them enjoy having long hair.
Keep the images in mind as you look at young girls out in the world, or in advertisements. Regardless of what she is wearing, no young girl should be a sexual object, ever, under any circumstances. And no Black girl should have to be held to a more rigid standard than her classmates or friends.