- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

The following are excerpts of Michelle Malkin’s July 27 speech to the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute’s Conservative Leadership Seminar in Washington:

As the mother of a 4-year-old girl and an 8-month-old boy, I am increasingly dismayed by the liberal assault on decency, the normalization of promiscuity and the mainstream media’s role as shameless collaborators.First, let me tell you about my new hero. Her

name is Ella Gunderson, and she’s a student at Holy Family Parish School in Kirkland, Wash. … Ella recently wrote a remarkable letter to the Nordstrom’s department store chain.

“Dear Nordstrom,” she began. “I’m an 11-year-old girl who has tried shopping at your store for clothes, in particular jeans, but all of them ride way under my hips, and the next size up is too big and falls down. They’re also way too tight, and as I get older, show everything every time I move. I see all of these girls who walk around with pants that show their belly button and underwear. Even at my age, I know that that is not modest. … With a pair of clothes from your store, I’d walk around showing half of my body and not fully dressed. … Your clerk suggested there is only one look. If that is true, then girls are supposed to walk around half-naked. I think maybe you should change that.”

All it took was one little girl to speak her mind about the excesses of our “Girls Gone Wild” culture. And guess what? The market, in a small way, responded. Nordstrom executives wrote back and pledged to young Ella Gunderson that they would try to broaden the clothes choices for girls.

“Your letter really got my attention,” wrote Kris Allan, manager of the local Nordstrom’s where Ella shopped. “I think you are absolutely right. This look is not particularly a modest one, and there should be choices for everyone.”

Do you remember Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famous phrase “defining deviancy down”? This ultra-low-rider trend has given that phrase a whole new meaning. …

Back to little Ella Gunderson’s story. Here’s the best part. She and her friends didn’t wait around for Nordstrom’s to change its inventory. With help from her mom and 37 of her classmates, Ella organized a fashion show to model decent clothes for girls ages 10 to 16. The sold-out show, called “Pure Fashion,” drew a crowd of 250; two other clothing stores donated modest clothes; the girls got a standing ovation; and the event raised money for the Catholic Challenge Club network, which encourages young girls to stand up for their faith and their values in an increasingly secular and hostile world.

Nordstrom’s deserves some credit here, too, for its modest display of corporate responsibility. Compare them to Abercrombie and Fitch, which refused to pull a line of thongs for young girls after receiving pressure from thousands of parents across the country. These kiddie thongs, which had the words “eye candy” and “wink wink” printed on the front, were marketed to children as young as 7.

“It’s cute and fun and sweet,” said Hampton Carney, a spokesman for Abercrombie and Fitch.

This is the dictionary definition of what Hoover Institution scholar Mary Eberstadt dubbed “pedophilia chic”: A grown man getting paid to say that he thinks dressing pre-teens in rearless underwear is “cute and fun and sweet.”

Cute and fun and sweet. That’s probably the same thing a Florida Hooters restaurant manager thought, too, when he attempted to hold a “Little Miss Hooters” contest for girls 5 years old and under. According to Stacy Tabb, who called up the restaurant after spotting a billboard advertising the contest, the toddlers would be required to dress in little orange spandex shorts and tiny Hooters T-shirts tied up like the waitresses wear them. Sick. Miss Tabb used her popular Web log, titled Sekimori, to publicize this atrocious event and shame Hooters management into doing something about it.

“The cretin who thought up this little sideshow should be hung by his/her heels from the nearest tree, beaten with saw-grass whips, then covered with sugar water and fire ants,” Miss Tabb wrote. … Thanks to Miss Tabb’s scathing online campaign, the corporate suits canceled “Little Miss Hooters.”

Internet Web logs can be an incredible force for good. …

But blogs can also serve as exhibitionist outlets that highlight the worst of America’s tell-all and show-all tendencies. Which brings me to Jessica Cutler, the former Capitol Hill staffer who was fired earlier this spring for using Senate computers to post to an explicit blog that chronicled her casually deviant trysts with six different men in Washington. The Washington Post ran with the story after an online Washington blogger originally “broke” the story. So what was this blogger’s groundbreaking investigative technique? She drank and danced the night away with Jessica Cutler, and they posed for soft-porn pictures together at a club.

Both women ended up all over TV and the newspapers. Jessica has a $300,000 book deal, an upcoming Playboy photo shoot and a Washington Post magazine front cover article coming soon. Wonkette Ana Marie Cox nabbed appearances on CNN and Fox and signed on to an MTV reporting gig. …

I’m sick of the skankettes and their pimps in my business, and I’m not alone. …

When conservative women say “Have some self-respect,” liberals in the media call us self-righteous. When conservative women say promiscuity is degrading and self-destructive, liberals in the media call us prudes. When liberals won’t shut up about their sordid sex lives and we object, they call us rude.

When liberal women raise their voices, they are praised as “passionate.” When conservative women raise their voices, we are condemned as “shrill.”

Liberals and libertines who can’t complete a sentence without using gutter profanity have turned modesty, monogamy, faith and self-restraint into dirty words. Well, if teaching young girls to act like ladies instead of animals is now considered offensive, I support obscenity 100 percent.

How do we stand up to the “Girls Gone Wild” culture? Ella Gunderson, the girl who asked Nordstrom’s to sell decent clothing has shown us how. Stacy Tabb, the outspoken blogger who killed the “Little Miss Hooters” contest, has shown us how. The Capitol Hill letter writer who stood up and rejected the idea that getting ahead requires shedding your morals and your clothes has shown us how. Go ahead and be “self-righteous.”

Be “prudes.” Be “rude.” Be “shrill.” And never, ever feel ashamed for asking out loud: Have you no shame?

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