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Dad's video on the over-sexualization of young girls shows that we have a lot of work to do
via ericasaysstuff / TikTok

For many men, raising a little girl causes a great awakening when it comes to their understanding of gender. It provides them an eye-opening first-hand experience of the everyday sexism that they probably weren't privy to before.

A survey from the Oxford Economic Papers found that parenting young girls changes men's attitudes when it comes to gender norms.

"They experience first-hand all the issues that [exist] in a female world and then that basically moderates their attitudes towards gender norms and they become closer to seeing the full picture from the female perspective," Dr. Joan Costa-i-Font, co-author of the research from the London School of Economics, told The Guardian.


TikTok user and father of a 14-month-old girl Michael Vaughn provided a great example of this awakening. He gave a passionate, and thoughtful answer to another TikTokker who asked dads when they realized that young women are over-sexualized.

Vaughn finds it insane that we sexualize newborns.

"It was 100% the clothes. And I knew it was going to be bad, but I didn't know how bad," he said. "And then we got a onesie for our daughter that says: 'Sorry, boys, dad says no dating' — sized for a newborn. I guess I'm wondering who they thought was going to date our zero-month-old daughter. But, all the girls' clothes are remarkably annoying for so many reasons..."

Vaughn goes on to describe how clothing designed for little girls isn't just obnoxiously pink, it's also sized incorrectly and less functional than the clothes you can get for boys.

"Like, I don't get why boys get normal shorts and my daughter gets shorts with an inseam of negative two," Vaughn said. "Like, we legit buy boy pants for our daughter because girl pants are sausage casing leggings. I'm not squeezing a baby back into sausage casing every single diaper change. So, it was 100% girl clothes. Girl clothes are the worst?"

Vaughn later expanded on his thoughts about raising daughters to Buzzfeed. After exposing the cultural blindspot in his TikTok video, he shared some steps we can take to help fix the problem.

"The cool thing is you're the parent, which means you get to be involved in what they're exposed to, how they're exposed to it," he said. "This also means you get to set an early standard about what matters, like their talents and interests. In other words: Positive things that help define them that don't involve their appearance."

He gave dads some tips for understanding how young girls are oversexualized. He says to start by analyzing the clothes they see in the store. Even though boys and girls are pretty much the same size when they're toddlers, the clothes are not.

"I recommend starting with the sayings on T-shirts, then comparing size 3T shorts for girls and boys," he said.

He also reminds men that the easiest way to learn about sexism is to listen to women.

"This research also includes asking the women in your life if they'd be willing to share their experiences being over-sexualized as children," he said. "Don't push if they're unwilling; many of those experiences are traumatic."

Vaughn later expanded on his initial comments in a follow-up video.


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