‘Sexy Schoolgirl’ Outfits: Creepy, Expressive or Both?

In some kind of weird “celebration” of Megan Fox’s 27th birthday, The Huffington Post posted the above picture of Fox from 2003 (with then boyfriend David Gallagher of 7th Heaven fame), criticizing it for its out-of-date fashion. They also remark, “With her smokin’ hot body, it’s easy to forget that Megan Fox is an actress” – a sentence that has no meaning, but somehow manages to be offensive.

The out-of-date fashion in question involves a “micro-mini schoolgirl skirt” of the plaid-style commonly associated with elementary, middle and high school outfits. As Fox wears it, it’s obviously intended to be provocative. Keep in mind, this photo was taken in 2003, so there’s  a good chance that the now 27-year-old Fox was then literally a schoolgirl, but the photo raises an interesting question: is there something inherently wrong with the phenomena of sexy schoolgirl outfits?

What could possibly be morally wrong about an outfit (other than, like, KKK robes and Nazi gowns or whatever) you might ask? Well, it could be posited that sexy schoolgirl outfits support the sexualization of youth. By using that which is normally assigned to schoolchildren to look sexy, are you implying that there is something inherently sexy about schoolgirls? Or worse, are you creating an air of sexuality around the outfit of those that should not have an air of sexuality?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with the outfits for a couple of reasons. The first and most important is that people should be able to wear whatever they want. Telling someone an outfit is offensive is trying to destroy that which is most sacred: the freedom to do whatever you want with your body.

On another level, being attracted to someone in a schoolgirl uniform doesn’t mean someone has any kind of perversion about children. I’m not defending this because it’s something I’m into; I’m actually that boorish idiot boy who barely even notices what girls are wearing, in a bad way. I’m not gonna notice your new dress, sorry!

The ‘sexy schoolgirl’ outfit has become so far ingrained in our culture that it just simply isn’t about schoolgirls anymore. Do a Google image search for “schoolgirl skirt” and you won’t find a single picture of an actual schoolgirl. American Apparel (not a bastion of sexual morality, but whatevs) markets their model to those who want to be “sassy but sweet”. I picture a girl whose friends are all sassy but she isn’t and she buys this skirt in a desperate attempt to have some sass but then she gets it and realizes it’s just a skirt and continues to be the only one in her friend group who can’t be cheeky. We are so far detached from the subject matter that the outfit has become something that isn’t even associated with youth in this context. The “sexy schoolgirl” has become a style archetype that has nothing to do with actual schoolgirls, like men’s cowboy shirts or a hipster’s lumberjack uniform.

.And even if a man is attracted to the schoolgirl uniform, I doubt (I don’t speak for all men) it’s part of an ingrained and current attraction to the pubescent, but rather an attempt to emulate the newness of sexual encounter that he experienced in his own youth: he isn’t attracted to 16-year-olds as a current 30-year-old, he is reminiscing about being 16 himself with his 29-year-old girlfriend.

Sexualization of youth is definitely creepy, but if no youth are affected, is it a problem? This is terrible journalism, but I remember a court case I learned about in constitutional law class that I’m too scared to Google: the court (or a lesser court) once ruled on the legality of CGI child pornography. If no children are hurt, isn’t this a free speech issue rather than a sex crime issue? I don’t remember the outcome of the case, and I am too scared to Google “CGI child pornography,” but it raises an interesting question. Also, wouldn’t the existence of such pornography keep pedophiles “off the streets,” so to speak? Likewise, do “sexy schoolgirl” outfits hurt the youth in anyway when worn by adult women?

We want to start a discussion about this on HelloGiggles, so feel free to discuss in the comments, we’d love to hear what you have to say!

Image via HuffPo