Are we sexualising our young children? Readers respond

When asked if we're dressing our children inappropriately and allowing them to be too "sexy", this is what our readers had to say.
When asked if we're dressing our children inappropriately and allowing them to be too "sexy", this is what our readers had to say.

We recently published an article asking Are we allowing our children to be too “sexy”? It was based on a Facebook post by father and pastor Ab Isong in which he wrote that he sees many children, "especially the girls... dressed in bum shorts", miming to "sexually explicit songs while gyrating their bodies in the most sensual manner.”

Clarifying, he wrote, "The clothes in themselves weren't the issue per se; it was the overall look of the children that had me bothered.”

He wondered if we are allowing our children to be too sexy at a very young age, from the way we dress them to the kind of music we’re letting them listen to, and he warned parents to let their children be children instead of inviting unwarranted sexual attention.

Some of our readers felt Pastor Ab Isong shouldn’t have put the words “child” and “sexy” in the same sentence while others agreed and thought that we should be mindful that the world is a very dangerous place, even if we aren’t welcoming unwanted attention. Nevertheless, the debate came to much of the same conclusion: we should be protecting our children as much and as far as we can.

"Parents are allowing their children to wear what they want and not what they should be wearing"

Jacqui Cretney explains that school girls' uniforms have become shorter, and girls are "wearing make-up to school, some before they’ve even reached their teens!" She feels the "parents are at fault... The same applies to parents who allow their kids to enter beauty pageants," she continues.

Sibulele Ramos explains that we should dress our children appropriately "not because we are afraid of rapists or anything, because rapists and men will objectify children no matter what.

"It is when they've grown up that they can choose to wear anything. I even see young girls being introduced to make-up as young as 6. To me that's absurd. Let her wait until she reaches a stage where she can make a choice," he comments.

"Children and sexy do not belong in the same sentence"

DukeLoy Mzamo's continues, "On the other hand if a little one likes to experiment with make-up I am not bothered. As for 'sexy', personally I do not think you can use the words 'child' and 'sexy' in the same sentence. I think even if a child wore a mini skirt you would just see a child in a mini skirt and that would be different from seeing a 30-year-old in a mini skirt. Kids are just kids and that's all."

"Don't tell our daughters how to dress"

Some readers, however, disagreed, saying we shouldn't be policing the way our girls dress. Instead, we should be teaching our boys how to be decent human beings.

Claire Lipskey says, "We always hear the words 'Maybe if she wasn't wearing that dress', or 'if she wasn't like this'. I think this pastor is pointing the finger at the wrong people. Why doesn't he speak about the people that find children who wear certain types of clothes sexy? Isn't that where the real problem is lying? With the individuals that will find a child 'sexy'. As always men in his position find it easier to put the blame on potential victims, instead of facing the real problem. Children, adults and women should be able to wear whatever they want, and no-one has the right to criticise or judge them. The real judgement should lay with those that use this as excuse not to take responsibility for their actions."

Thus, many felt the problem wasn't and shouldn't be with our children, particularly our girls. Thus, Mbali Mngadi wrote in saying:

"Pastor Ab Isong's post bothers me for a lot of reasons. I'm surprised so many people agree with him.
1. He is the one sexualising the children at the birthday party. His reference to a night club is just creepy.
2. He seems to be targeting the girls. He is not criticizing the boys and other genders that may or may not have been present. 
3. He is in no position to dictate what children must wear (of course he has his opinions, I just do not agree with them).
4. From reading his post, particularly the reference to a comb in one's hair and baggy pants, he comes across as very outdated and misogynistic."

"We need to protect our children"

Do you agree or disagree with Pastor Ab Isong? Are we dressing our children too “sexy”? Tell us by emailing

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