05.13.1312:10 PM ET

Who’s to Blame for Scantily Dressed Girls?

Argument weighs body image vs. independence.

When his 8-year-old daughters recently showed off their new clothes, all a New York Times columnist saw were peekaboo cutouts and bare shoulders. Normally hands off when it comes to his daughters’ closets, he was shocked at their outfits. KJ Dell’Antonia, who wrote the story about a colleague, acknowledges there is a central argument here: either clothes are getting skimpier, or our culture teaches girls that their bodies are shocking and dangerous. She asks, “Are the clothes ‘too sexy,’ or is it our perception of what constitutes ‘sexy’ that needs to change?” Are only the parents to blame, or is it simply the availability of the manufacturers’ clothing? But as any mother or daughter can attest, each will always have an opinion on what the other is wearing, and it’s hard to find a happy balance.