“Sexy schoolgirl” culture sexualizes youth

Colleen Hammond | Opinions Editor

In the world of torn fishnet stockings and ill fitting costumes, the word “sexy” has become as synonymous with Halloween as pumpkins and candy.

From naughty nurses to sexy nuns, and everything in between, the Halloween industry loves to sexualize all professions and walks of life. One classic Halloween costume for women is the so-called “sexy schoolgirl.” This trend even expands past spooky season as many women wear these costumes for consensual sexual role play.

Women all across America wear short plaid skirts, knee-high socks and low cut, button down blouses to appear young and sexy. This practice and common fetish is widely accepted, not just in America, but in cultures all over the world.

For some reason, it seems the entire globe has gotten behind the notion of a sexy schoolgirl, but few actually think about the viscerally disgusting implications and ramifications of this practice.

The world seems to have forgotten who actually wears school uniforms: children. The only individuals who are required to wear a variation of plaid skirts and knee-high socks are underage girls who attend private or charter schools.

“Sexy schoolgirl” costumes are a blatant sexualization of children though few choose to acknowledge it.

Some argue a consenting adult adorning a school uniform for sexual escapades or Halloween costumes is entirely different from the sexualization of children and pedophilia. However, in these scenarios, the uniform is the subject of sexual desire. If the idea of a school-aged girl was not important to the sexual fantasy, the uniform would not be necessary.

Despite the widely accepted nature of the schoolgirl fantasy, it cannot be ignored that this is a socially acceptable form of pedophilia.

As someone who wore a school uniform throughout grade school and high school, I can attest that the sexualization of schoolgirls has apparent and harmful effects on children.

As early as age 11, I remember grown men with their eyes glued to my sister and me as we got our usual slurpees at the local 7-Eleven after school. Groups of landscapers and construction workers gawked at my friends and me while we piled into carpools in our school parking lot. It was humiliating, confusing and deeply uncomfortable for all of us growing up, but it was simply considered normal, an occupational hazard of being a young girl in a private school.

With the heightened association between the school uniform and a sexual fantasy, it has become normal for everyday people to view these underage girls in a sexual context. The sexy schoolgirl promotes a culture where the sexualization of children is not only normal, but accepted.

This sexualization of children is apparent not just in fringe sexual spheres or the nearest Halloween store. Major celebrities like Britney Spears used the sexy schoolgirl in her iconic “Baby One More Time” music video. The sexualization of children, specifically young girls, is taught through nearly every form of mass media.

The obsession with the sexy schoolgirl is nothing new, but in the age of #Me Too and increased cultural awareness, how is this overt sexualization of children still so widely accepted?

School uniforms were created to do the exact opposite of society’s distorted connotations. Anyone who wore a school uniform can attest to the complete lack of sex appeal in uniforms. For those who grew up wearing uniforms, there is nothing sexy about a stiff polyester skirt and itchy wool sweater. In most private and charter schools, skirts are required to be knee-length, and shirts must remain buttoned almost up to the neck. These outfits were designed to be non-sexualizing.

Dress codes are strictly enforced in uniformed schools to ensure a level playing field among students. While it may have been a hindrance and source of complaint as a child, wearing a uniform placed me at the same starting point as my peers. There were no symbols of status or reasons to be self conscious about my appearance. It was a source of normalcy and equality – not sexualization and objectification.

Although the sexualization of schoolgirls is typically a male preference, this is not a solely male issue. While men need to reject the sexualization of children as disgusting and beneath them, women need to take charge as well. Thousands of women every year willingly wear schoolgirl costumes for Halloween and sexual role play.

Instead of promoting this culture, women need to remember how horrible it felt to be objectified by older men as children and attempt to protect today’s generation of young women from that experience.

The sexualization of young women through the popular “sexy schoolgirl” persona is a deep perversion of childhood innocence and the concept of a uniform. Through constant effort and denial of practices previously deemed socially acceptable, the world can move away from this overlooked form of pedophilia.

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