Meet "Secret Keeper Girls." It's kinda like American Girl. If American Girl was focused on modesty, God's Plan, and staying pure.
Secret Keeper Girl is a Christian organization: its founder, Dannah Gresh, has authored such books as
And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity and Lies Young Women Believe. (Said lies involve Immodesty, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and, presumably, forked-tongue sexytalk from The Media.) And it wears its Christianity on its sleeve; purity is fun and godly, seems to be the pastel-tinted message. Indeed, SKG is described as "the most fun a girl will ever have digging into God's word." (Talk about damning with faint praise.) But SKG is clearly eager to appeal to modern young women - hence the org's slick, poppy web-site and line of mainstream-looking tween books.
What, you might ask, is a Secret Keeper Girl? (Well, you can probably guess what the "secret" is, and it's not that secret):
A Secret Keeper Girl values modesty, she surrounds herself with wise friends and she embraces Godly beauty. But, the most important thing for you to know is that a Secret Keeper Girl is a masterpiece created by God. So whether you are new to our site or a SKG pro who's been to an event, read "Secret Keeper Girl" or already had eight great dates with your momma, you, sweet girl, are a Secret Keeper Girl because you are a true masterpiece created by God's hand.
SKG organizes mother-daughter events that focus on wholesome bonding and age-appropriate activities like wacky fashion shows. Because fashion, you see, is a big part of SKG's mission. The organization is committed to getting more age-appropriate clothes for tweens out there, and with this in mind, has launched the "Bod Squad Petition," which they've presented to the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Apparel and Footwear Manufacturer's Association, and which protests the "marketing of sensual clothing to tweens." They've also organized the "Shop Til You Drop" event, that encourages the patronage of those stores - Old Navy, Gap Kids, Lands End - that provide stylish and age-appropriate clothes.
Here's the thing: I totally support this in principle. And it's good that SKG focuses on healthy body image for girls and recognizes the correlation between overly sexualized kids and EDs. But why is there no happy medium? Why does this "mission" have to be twinned with God's Plan and chastity belts and what seems to be a generally retrograde and abstinence-only approach to sexuality? Look, this is an openly Christian organization that can promote whatever it likes. My point is, why aren't there more options for young women - why does it have to be Purity Ball or Slutoween? It's depressing that the only voice I've seen publicly calling for any kind of not-slutty kids' clothes is politicized and somewhat problematic, making it easy for us - and certainly the CFDA - to dismiss any good sense within the rhetoric. Eight-year-olds shouldn't have non-slutty clothing options because God Loves Modesty, but because they're little kids who shouldn't be sexualized - and who aren't, by nature, until they're told that's what's appropriate.
I'm not saying 12-year-olds should dress in oversized flannel dresses (YES, MOM, I'M LOOKING AT YOU) but let's say you want that option: it would be nice if other kids, looking at you, then didn't have to assume you spent your weekend hanging out with your mother attending modest fashion shows and discussing how you're a true masterpiece created by God's hand. Because Gresh is absolutely right about one thing: it's a pivotal time for a young woman.