As the parent of a 4 yr old, I think she should have been more covered up for a show thats geared toward children. Part of the problem today is,kids will see something like this and then want to dress the way she dresses. And that can lead to other problems.
This is a little off topic maybe, but it goes hand in hand. The clothing (some of it) that is even geared towards children these days is...how can I put it. Slutty?
You even have padded training bras. (I got one that age too). Short shorts, halter tops, short skirts, etc. Its like the clothing industry is trying to lead them down a path they are not ready for and gives those with sick intentions something to look at.
If you are claiming from the start that certain types of clothing are simply "slutty" and they must
lead "down a path" with no exceptions worth mentioning, then you are already in the business of policing feminine attire. You can say that it's about adults being able to handle it versus children not if you like, but I'm skeptical. The very same sort of rhetoric about attire is used to excuse badmouthing and attacking adult women.
There's a more fundamental problem under this: People are arguing about whether children should be able to view and/or adopt things they consider to be adult. The conservative side does what you see here and says no, if they even can imagine it, there will be catastrophe because they're children and they can't possibly understand or make a good choice -- no matter who they talk to. In that view, mere exposure to a lowcut top is some kind of fundamental end of innocence. If you look at the language, though, the same logic of exposure and propriety is used to police adult women. When we take it for granted that a lowcut top or an augmented bustline must obviously send a message about sexuality (as opposed to say: comfort with oneself, art, personal pride totally apart from sexual availability, or functional ventilation), or when we take it for granted that people are generally expected to respond as if it did, then we have set up a trap for everyone who dresses feminine.
There is some comfort in this thinking because it allows us to believe that all women have to do is be constantly alert to what is socially considered modest versus risque, and presto they can control how people treat them at any given time. However, it focuses social regulation upon women etc. (for others who dress feminine). First, the wearers themselves, and then their families and associates are held accountable for maintaining a reputation of modesty and purity. We say, oh look, if you simply dress like this everyone will know you are a modest person and you will never have trouble. And if you do not, you must be guided by your family and elders, or else you should
expect to meet with dire consequences. You might be called a slut, a "safe" conservative person will not see you as a good partner, or you might be attacked or raped. So wearers of feminine attire, primarily biological females, are supposed to watch how they dress in order to avoid trouble. It's a catch 22, because they are the ones who are most commonly slandered as sexually immoral or attacked with excuses about their clothing in the society at large, to begin with. We see this taken to a certain visual extreme with the burqa in the Middle East. Some Americans are so upset that this has become an added political excuse for wars to be fought in the area.
I understand that some parents can think Katy was just another example in a trend toward more "risque" clothing for youth, and I can understand that some would prefer to find relatively modest attire for their children. I don't
think that calling Katy part of a "slutty" trend addresses the underlying social problem. The way I see it, there is no truly safe choice as long as you buy into a situation where the only question is what one can safely wear. Today's uniform of ultimate modesty is the foundation of tomorrow's Britney Spears video. If all the girls wear the same uniform, those who seek any visual excuse to call them sluts or to rape them will pick on a tiny fold of the cuff, a dimple, or a hairstyle, someone's height or race or whatever. The basic problem will not go away, and both the aggressors and the "good mothers" will still be sharing in this same old game of both priming and blaming the victim.
Instead, why not educate people so that looks are not the key to judgments of modesty or permissiveness? What about art, comfort with one's body, physical comfort, consent, desire, various kinds of relationships beyond "hey wanna fuck"? But to discuss these things, to give people with feminine attire a real choice in what they can expect, to shape both motherhood and
masculinity into something besides policing or defending girls' looks... Then we have to get beyond the conservative notions that some clothing is always, obviously slutty and it's all the girls and mothers' fault, and that any other way would mean "corrupting" innocent children with too much information they can't handle in the schools and streets.