Hashtags have made an impression on our lives, haven’t they? Before social media I doubt that this fun little character ever got much attention. However, now it is super popular, first appearing on Twitter and now having been absorbed onto Facebook.

Personally, I don’t use hashtags publicly because it’s just too much pressure. You have to be clever, funny and get your point across with as few letters as possible. That’s not really my thing. My husband and I have been adding hashtags to our texting in mock-reference to the hashtags used on social media. Slowly but surely these hashtags leaked into our texting after we watched this hilarious video of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake using hashtags in everyday verbal conversation. We’re not nearly as funny (honestly, who is?!) because our hashtags usually go something like this: #old; #terribletwosaretheworst; #whyisourwaterbillsohigh. We’re not that clever.

SelfieAnyway, I was grocery shopping about a month or so ago and happened to see a pair of underwear being sold in the junior department with the phrase, “#selfie” written across the backside. This underwear not only encourages the self-centered, narcissistic behavior that older generations hate and is ruining our society but it is encouraging the hypersexualized culture to keep growing. By the way, you Baby Boomers and 30-somethings who keep wondering what is wrong with our world are the exact ones who sit behind corporate desks and approve the marketing of these types of clothing to our young girls thus perpetuating the cycle of egotistical behavior just to make a buck. You wonder what is wrong with the up and coming generations? Look in the mirror. You are half the problem.

With “role models” like Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus, why would a large corporation further encourage promiscuous behavior amongst young girls? I just don’t get it. The underwear should more accurately read “#STD,” “#lowselfesteem,”¬† or “#ineedattention.” I know that’s making a lot of assumptions about what a young girl is doing, but why would a parent purchase these? Even if the girl never does post a selfie in her underwear, it is still putting the idea out there and stamping approval on this sort of idea and behavior.

I plead with parents of girls, please don’t let your daughter wear this underwear. It is a big deal and it is serious. Help them understand they are smart and brave and tough. Help them understand they are beautiful. Please don’t allow them this type of clothing, even if you are positive they would never post a selfie in underwear. It breaks my heart knowing what these girls are truly seeking: love. Hug your daughters, encourage them and build them up. Please don’t buy them #selfie underwear.

Better yet, don’t buy them #selfie anything. Steer them toward a better line of clothing like Sevenly or HeyLUCYJANE. Sevenly features a different charity each week and for every item of clothing you buy, Sevenly donates $7 to the featured charity. Not only are you helping a charity, but your eyes are being opened to the needs of other human beings. HeyLUCYJANE’s goal is to remind girls of all ages that they are brave, tough and fearless through the use of shirts. Let’s support these companies with our hard-earned money rather than companies that seek to devour and destroy the innocence of girls.

I encourage parents of boys, please instill good morals in your sons. Open their eyes to the peril of being attracted to a girl who would post a photo of herself in her underwear. Teach your boys, from a young age, that women are to be respected. It’s simple supply and demand. If boys are not interested in these types of girls, if they recognize this type of girl for what she is, then girls will stop acting like this. I’m not placing the bulk of the solution on boys and their parents, I’m simply making an obvious point: it can’t be completely blamed on young girls.

It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child and in this situation, it will definitely take a village to correct this problem. Parents must be involved, loving and encouraging. They must monitor their children and all that goes along with having children in this era. It must take our retailers to have the courage and morality to not market this type of clothing to girls too young to comprehend what they are doing with their bodies and their futures.

We can stop this type of behavior and while it will take work, I know we can do it. Our children deserve a better future than this. Chin up, my friends! We can do it. We can change the future.

About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at Meghan@rochestermedia.com

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