Katie Rophie sure doesn't appreciate Caitlin Flanagan's nostalgia for a more simple kind of childhood On Slate.com, Rophie lambasts Flanagan's new book Girl Land, as sappy and un-insightful, reflecting the author's isolation and yearning for a golden era that never existed.

I have yet to read Flanagan's new book, though I certainly will (I thoroughly enjoyed To Hell With All That and her writing in general, even if I don't agree with everything she writes). I feel confident, though, that I won't share Rophie's total rejection of Flanagan's sentiments.

Rophie may have a point that society has always worried about the corruption of little girls, and may idealize the idea of girls' innocence even as girls themselves seek to move toward adulthood.

But that reminds me of the saying that just because you are paranoid doesn't mean no one is out to get you. Perhaps there has always been concern about the treatment of girls in our culture, but that doesn't mean that there aren't new, destructive forces in our culture that give reason for concern today.

People have long complained about the marketing of over-sexualized Barbie dolls to little girls, for instance, but certainly Bratz dolls take it to a new, worse level. Parents may have always have grievances about girls' clothes choices, but certainly there has been a new, and often disturbing, push to market sexy clothes to younger and younger kids.

So what's the solution? There probably isn't one, really. Parents have some options: Don't buy sexualized clothes and toys for your young kids. Pay close attention to the media they consume. But one of the greatest challenges for parents today is that the prevalence of consumerism and these images make it so you have little to no control over when your daughters (or sons) are exposed to ideas that you feel they aren't ready for. Parents can do their best, but they also need to prepare to have honest conversations and give kids a good grounding in how to place all this in context.

And perhaps parents today are overly protective, just as they always have been. But is that really such a terrible thing? Is it really oppressive to think that it's best for parents to pay attention to who their daughters date with the hope that they might discourage early sexual activity?

I don't think so. It certainly may seem so from the girls' perspective, but most adults, looking back at their childhoods, can appreciate their parents' motives in trying to set boundaries. And in fact, some research has shown that teenagers admit parents have the biggest influence on the decisions they make about sex and substance use, and they even appreciate having rules set for them. Even as teenagers, they recognize those boundaries for what they are: signs of love.