05/31/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Are Trashy Proms Really Trendy?

It's prom season again, and with it comes the classic struggle between moms and daughters over how sexy the girls' dresses can be.

After all, if you were 16, wouldn't you want to show a flash of leg or a peek of cleavage? For teen girls, prom night is the big red-carpet fashion moment they have been dreaming about for years. In pursuit of The Perfect Dress, girls start pre-shopping stores during holiday time; buy prom magazines for trends, inspiration, and shopping advice; and spend hours flipping through look books online.

It's pure teen fantasy. Girls want to walk into the dance and have all heads turn in their direction.

But do they really want people gawking at their bare bodies poking out from the dramatically cutaway prom dresses that the New York Post calls "Slutty-chic"? Um, no.

When the Post reported that "prom is going porn" this year, it highlighted dresses that exposed midriffs, revealed backs, and barely covered busts. Those dresses are great for the one girl at school who wants that kind of attention. But cutaways and disco beading are only a tiny part of the bigger prom trend picture. The truth is that most girls would rather look like Miley Cyrus in her modest peach bustier at the Oscars or like Taylor Swift in floor-length sequins at the Grammys. Girls look to celebrities, the runway, and designers for their inspiration, not to The Girls Next Door.

It¹s easy to say that the "slutty-chic dress" trend is a bad sign of an oversexualized teen culture. But look at it this way:

If those dresses are really flying off the racks at $380 a pop, it's a great sign of economic recovery!