• Mon, Jan 20 - 10:00 am ET

I’m All For Teen Girls Wearing Anything They Want, Until It Comes To My Own Daughter

120368622I have a no tank top rule in my house. For both my sons and my daughter. If you are leaving the house, I don’t want you going out in public without a shirt over your tank top. Unless you are just playing in the yard.

Nothing is wrong with tank tops. I just don’t think they are an appropriate item to wear to school or to a restaurant that isn’t directly adjacent to a beach.

I have a rule in my own mind, this rule is that any woman regardless of age should be able to wear whatever she wants without being judged for it. This rule is sometimes in direct conflict as to how I feel about the idea of my own nine-year-old daughter becoming a teen and wearing whatever she wants.

I have no idea how to marry my own views on feminism and women being able to wear what they want without being “shamed” for how much they expose with the notion that my own kid will one day grow up and want to wear a skirt that barely covers her girl parts.

I know my daughter is smart and good and all shades of awesome and hopefully she will continue to be so as she grows older. I know that we are raising her to respect herself and teaching her that her mind and heart are the most important things she possesses and that  no one can judge her for how she looks or how she dresses.

I also know plenty of teen girls who are smart and good and all shades of awesome who wear things that when I consider my own future teenager wearing cause me to get all pearl-clutchy. I look back on my own teen self and sometimes I can’t even imagine what I was thinking when I left the house looking like I did.

It’s such an easy thing to think about in the abstract. I think of young teens wearing tank tops and short shorts and all of these other sorts of “sexualized” items of clothing and I think:

You go girl. You can wear anything you want and if you are doing it to attract sexual partners that is all fine too and you go out and have fun and be you and don’t let anyone ever tell you how to dress. 

When I think of my OWN kid doing it, the thought process is more:

You go girl, but please come back in the house and put a cardigan on over that and some tights under those shorts and you go out and have fun but realize that some people in the world will judge you for how you dress and it scares me because now you are more open to street harassment and one day you can realize your own sexual nature but can you please do it while you are studying abroad and not living at home anymore and when you fall in love and are with an amazing person who respects you and cares for you and please be safe. 

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  • MERKIN

    I think it’s hard to balance the idea of wanting your daughter to be able to express her sexuality how she wants, and the idea that no matter how messed up it is, YOU know how the world works and you know that when she wears really revealing things people (especially men) will stare and ogle her and make her feel uncomfortable and judge her. I can completely see your point of view.

    I’m a high school teacher, and some of these girls walk into school like they are at the club (crop tops, leggings as pants w/no long shirt to cover their goods up). Then they talk about all the selfies they post on Instagram and how many followers & comments they got from the almost-naked selfie they posted the other day, and they are PROUD of that. It’s clear that their worth is inexplicably tied to how hot boys think they are. I want to pull them aside and SHAKE them and tell them that they need to be more focused on the grades they get in school than getting these boys to want to F them.

    I guess it’s always been this way, but I went to HS back in the days before Instagram, Facebook, etc. I wanted boys to think I was hot, too. Obviously. Maybe that’s why I want to lecture them about it so bad…because I wasted precious time worrying about that rather than getting my GPA above a 2.3 so I could get into a good school. Ugh, I’m old. Sorry for getting off-topic. LOL.

  • Kay_Sue

    This is one of those cases where it is so much easier to be a mom of sons. There’s no conflict of interest between my world view and raising them–in fact, my world view means that, hopefully, I am raising some of those wonderfully respectful young men that are going to look at women as partners, not conquests. If everything goes according to plan.

    But this all comes into sharp contrast (and my husband is bad for calling me out on it) when I think of my stepdaughters, who are 11 and 9, and way too close to being teenagers. I want them to have healthy, happy sexual lives. Like, that’s legitimate, I don’t want them to close it off. I want them to understand that consensual sex is fun, that it can be fulfilling, that it’s something they can choose to freely give. I want them to be able to dress their bodies how they feel beautiful. I don’t want to suffocate them with our notions of what’s “modest”, appropriate, and right for a girl who is respectful of herself to wear. And then, at the end of it all, I’m the stepmom, so my opinion’s not going to mean much either way, honestly.

    If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it’s probably about honesty and then letting her make her own decisions and really own them herself. It’s partially about explaining that you do know how the world turns, and that you want her to know so she can make informed decisions about what she wears, and also so that maybe she can be part of the force that helps to continue to change it for the better. I also don’t see any conflict with teaching her what’s appropriate in various settings. What’s appropriate for a weekend out isn’t appropriate for a job interview–it’s a valuable lesson that young women (and men) need to learn anyway, in my experience.

    This was wonderfully written. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jessica

    There are things about parenting in the early days that are scary- what to feed them, how to keep them from launching themselves off the stairs, etc. But it’s this- the balance between empowering and protecting them as they grow into these independent beings, that really scares me to death sometimes.

    • MerlePerle

      I have a 4 year old and a baby and I’m just experiencing this shift in perpective. Honestly, as long as my baby is loved he’ll be fine. But I worry about my girl getting along with her peers and forming a stroong character and I am terrified of what’s to come in a few years.

  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    I totally understand this. It is totally impossible. Especially trying to come from a place where you want your children to be able to express themselves – it’s just really hard to negotiate these things.

  • JLH1986

    I know my own mom basically said “I won’t stop you from wearing what you want “most of the time” but I’m mom so I get veto power. But you should realize that people will judge you based on what you wear. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but that’s the world. So if you wear those daisy dukes people might say things you don’t like. Just remember that when you want to buy them.” OF course I was a fat kid and super self conscious (or I thought I was I look back now, like damn I was hot what was my problem?) so I dressed modestly because of that but. My mom’s words really stuck. Plus my mom dressed fairly modestly, except on fun nights out with my dad. I’m sure she was still worried I’d dress a little…scandalously, but I thought about what she said and I didn’t want to be the girl everyone called names so…I covered up. When I talk to my teenage cousin (who wears shorts whose pockets are longer than the shorts themselves) I tell her the reason why boys say things like that is because of what you wear. It’s not fair or right, but it just is. She’s getting better.

    • ted3553

      This is basically what I’ve talked to my teenaged stepdaughters about especially at that point where they started getting women’s figures and were still used to dressing like girls. When that tank top shows off a ton of cleavage, we talked about it and about how certain things are appropriate to wear certain places. We also discussed that like it or not, people do judge you based on what you wear and if you put things on display, people will look.

    • JLH1986

      Absolutely. It sucks, but that’s the world we live in. So plan accordingly.

  • keelhaulrose

    I think the most important thing is to teach our daughters to respect themselves and their bodies. Respecting/loving your body didn’t mean showing it off in a lewd manner, it means being comfortable in what you’re wearing even if it is “modest”.
    It’s harder for my husband to recognize that one day our daughters will be sexual beings, but I think that is because I lived it and he, obviously, had the male perspective. I’m teaching them now that they’re in charge of their bodies, and should take care of them and say no when someone is making them uncomfortable. When they get older it will turn into a conversation about their sexuality, how to explore and nurture it, and how to recognize when they’re ready to add another person into that mix.
    It’s easy to turn into pearl clutchers when it comes to our daughters, but we’ve been there. I think if we remember what that age was like it’ll be easier to teach our girls, and hopefully keep their bums covered.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    lol I looked a state as a teen. I was and still am, very much into the goth look.
    A regular outfit for me was black jeans shredded to pieces, worn over red tights, black boots with daisies Tipp-Exed on, a fishnet top and a red tank.
    usually combined with a studded coat.

    My parents figured the best thing was to ignore it and I calmed down by myself lol

    • MERKIN

      It’s awesome that your daughter has her own style! And it’s even cooler that instead of trying to force her to wear something she’s not comfortable with, you are compromising with her to create something that you are both okay with (and proud of) her wearing. Cool mom award :-)

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      you’ve no idea how much those three little words mean to me!!!
      i’m usually classed as the Wicked StepMother lol, it’s nice to know I’m doing something right!

    • MERKIN

      I think you sound amazing. My dad raised me from the age of eight (my mom was an alcoholic, God rest her soul, who left and got remarried and forgot about us) and he never gave a crap what I wore, because he was more worried about things like paying the bills, I guess. He was so wonderful. But I was always jealous of other girls who had a mom who took them shopping and helped them pick out clothes. So it seems like you’re doing an awesome job, and your daughter is lucky to have you!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      I’m so sorry to hear that but you father sounds like an amazingly strong man!
      I also love how you referred to the young one as my daughter, that means the world to me! =)

  • C.J.

    I encourage my daughters to have their own style. I have many conversations with them about appearance being the first impression they make. I tell them people shouldn’t be judged by their appearance and clothes but they are. I tell them they are beautiful and too much make up and revealing clothes takes away from their beauty not adds to it. I do allow my 11 year old to wear make-up, she puts it on so light you can hardly see it. She wanted a strapless dress for to wear to a Christmas banquet. I let her have it but bought a matching jacket. I am trying to balance my desire to cover them up with their desire to express themselves. Luckily it seems to be working so far. The 11 year old has her own style but is always covered. Hoping it stays that way when she is a teenager. Right now she looks like a cross between Punky Brewster and Cindy Lauper. My 8 year old just wants comfy clothes.

    • chickadee

      My eldest (20) favored, and still favors, sports jerseys, man-cut t-shirts, and t-shirt with flannel shirts worn open over them. She wears these with makeup and jeans or leggings. I have always preferred perhaps a more pulled-together look, but nothing hangs out and she likes it. So I just go with that.

    • C.J.

      That’s pretty much what I’m going with too. As long as there is nothing hanging out I’m good with it.

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    Eve, you totally nailed it. Especially top paragraph on last page. This is some of the exact stuff I worry/feel sad about.

  • ChopChick

    It’s hard for me to get on the “a girl should be able to express herself HOWEVER she wants” bandwagon–because, frankly, I have seen too many insecure/drunk 18 year old girls wearing things that are just frightening and that they clearly have no idea what they look like.
    I live on a major road in Boston about a quarter mile from a university campus and all the houses behind me are all undergrads who frequently throw parties. A few years ago, I saw a girl who was wearing a super short skirt, and walking up and escalator, and literally had no underwear on. I ACTUALLY saw her vagina/labia. Am I really supposed to say, “You go girl!” A few weeks ago a very very drunk girl was walking home with a guy and one or two other girlfriends, right in front of my house and her dress was so short and she was so drunk that the bottom of the dress was the height of the middle of her butt. She was LITERALLY walking around with her underwear and her butt hanging out. These are just two of the most egregious examples, but the things I see on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are just ridiculous.
    I’m sorry if this makes me an old lady, or a slut shamer or whatever, but like it or not, young women like to feel sexy and that’s okay, but your skirt rides up, and you get drunk and no longer are closely guarding the height of the bottom of your dress. And it’s okay to want to tell those girls they should put more clothes on. It is totally acceptable to want these girls to cover up a little more–because frankly, if they knew what the rest of us were seeing, they would be none too pleased…

    • chickadee

      Slut-shaming, I believe, arose to contradict the idea that a woman’s clothing choices are an invitation to men to expect sex, or that the clothes serve as a bellwether for sexual inclination….that dressing a certain way is indicative of low morals and means she is ‘asking for it.’ The term slut-shaming has lost its specificity and now seems to be thrown at people who merely question whether an outfit demonstrates good judgment, which was made crystal-clear in Eve’s post yesterday.

      So yes….it is entirely valid to think that the women you describe are making poor choices in behavior and dress. And you should be able to say so without be labeled a shamer.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      THANK you! I feel like we have lost where the line should be in our desire to not perpetuate rape culture. A feminist mother should not feel like she is a bad feminist for wanting to teach her daughter to take charge of her own sexuality while tempering that with a realistic idea of how the world currently works. And I do believe that girls of a certain age should be allowed to express themselves in their dress, but with some limits until they are of a mature enough age to handle the realities of what revealing dress can entail.

    • Fluffy_1

      Exactly. I will also add that firstly, it’s entirely possible to dress sexy without looking cheap, and secondly, a grown woman is far better suited to deal with what entails from wearing a sexy outfit than a naive fourteen year old. Despite what most teenagers think, ie that they’re not naive and are streetsmart, they’re not. They think they can handle the situation; they can’t. They think they know everything; they don’t. I was a teenager once and thought exactly like that, and now as an adult I can realise that I didn’t know shit.

    • CMJ
    • chickadee

      I feel honored to earn this gif TWICE.

  • aCongaLine

    I’m terrified of this- as a mom of two girls. They’re 2 and 8 months, though, so I’ve got time to read articles like this. :)

    TERRIFIED.

  • pixie

    This is fantastic, Eve, and I think you’ve already got a solution to your problem, even if you don’t realize it.

    Your feminist side is all about girls being able to wear whatever they want for whatever reason *they* want. You really don’t have a problem with this in terms of your daughter, but are more-so worried about others who have been raised by parents who think differently. You want her to cover up not because you think she is (or will) show too much skin, but because you do not want her to be judged or shamed and have her confidence broken. Already you are teaching her to love herself, to be proud of who she is, and to make it known when she is feeling uncomfortable about something. Tell her basically what you wrote in this post. You want her to be happy and confident. You want her to be able to wear whatever she wants and be comfortable with the way she dresses, but to remember that not everyone was raised with the same values and to always be cautious of them and don’t take any nasty, shaming comments to heart. She can love whoever she wants, but everything has to be consensual and when she says no it means no. If her chosen partner or anyone else can’t get that through their heads they are not worth her time.

    You’re a great role model for your daughter, Eve, and I have no doubt that your sons will grow to be fantastic and respectful men as well. :)

  • Cement Block

    I always thought it was stupid of parents who thought “well, I mean, I used drugs and did bad things when I was young, so I can’t be a hypocrite and tell my kids not to.”

    Using your own mistakes and errors to teach your child the valuable lessons of how to avoid them is what makes the best parents. They have real life experience in the subject, they know the consequences, so they should use it.

  • TngldBlue

    I think as a feminist this is the hardest thing to grapple with-walking the fine line between my beliefs and the reality of situations. I hope to teach my daughter to present herself based on her own sense of self and not on fear. Part of that will be teaching her that with certain choices come certain consequences. It makes me feel…resigned.

  • Angela

    There’s a great deal of difference in teaching young girls to cover up to protect them from the men-folk and teaching them how to choose clothing that is appropriate for the situation. As you’ve pointed out, there is a difference in how we dress to go to school and how we dress at the beach or to play outdoors. You don’t have to slut-slam to refuse to buy your 9 year old a tube top and mini skirt. I prefer the explanation that certain clothes are only appropriate for adult women in adult situations (such as night clubs). I also think it’s important to emphasize functionality and comfort. If you’re constantly afraid that your bikini top is going to fall off or that your clothing will ride up then it’s not appropriate because it’s too limiting. If your shoes interfere with being able to walk or participate in whatever activity you’re dressing for then they are likewise inappropriate. The fact is that understanding how to dress appropriately for any given situation is a valuable life skill. Helping children to understand that is not the same as slut-slamming.

  • chickadee

    Each mother has a different idea of how she wants her daughter to demonstrate self-respect and self-confidence in her dress. We as mothers try to instill this idea from an early age, but adolescence is when our influence pales in comparison with that of our daughters’ peer groups. You have every right to request that clothing meet minimum standards set by you, and a perceptive mother can distinguish between a body-confident outfit and one that may reveal insecurities that seek superficial and empty approval from outside.

    Figuring out how to be that perceptive mother is where difficulties lie.

  • Tinyfaeri

    I think prostitution should be legalized (and regulated, and the women and men who work in the profession allowed to unionize and have their rights and health protected by law), and I’m in favor of needle swaps and some drug legalization. I do not want my daughter to be a whore or a drug addict. I will love her if she is, but it’s not a life I want for her. I don’t know how I feel about the clothes yet, but something we need to teach our children is that like it or not, they will be judged on how they look and they need to make a conscious choice about how to present themselves (girls and boys) to get the reaction from people that they want to get.

  • Cee

    I get you and I’m assuming part of it is in response to Ariel’s dress during the weekend. Here’s the thing, everyone, pervs and rational people, stared at a 15 year old girl’s boobs when they saw that picture. And, while we want the world to be this nice, safe place where a teenager can be sexual and express their sexuality, ideally, with each other, they are not in a bubble.
    One doesn’t need to go far to read how adults take advantage of young girls, who exploit them and abuse them. Heck even amongst teenage bubbles, reading what teenagers themselves think of rape victims or judge how another girl dresses is pretty depressing.
    As a feminist, it is hard to say “so what if a 15 year old has that much cleavage?!” because we know how the world works. Some of us have even learned from personal experience what its like to be treated for dressing in provocative manner. I think its a hard thing to balance, but continuous conversations with young girls can, hopefully, help come to an agreement or at least have a young girl understand a bit of how the world works.

  • CW

    My daughters can wear what they like when they are ADULTS. As in, over 18, graduated high school, and out from under my roof. Until then, my house, my rules.

  • AnotherMel

    When I was about 17, I bought an outfit with my own money that looking back was only appropriate for a club. My father took one look and told me there was no way I was leaving the house that way and he would return the outfit and get my money back. I was pretty ticked, but you know what – he was right. It’s also the only time I remember a parent vetoing something I wanted to wear (I was pretty conservative as a kid).

    This might not be popular, but I think until your daughter is of age, you can and should get veto power over clothing choices. But you should also explain your rational and use sparingly. You understand how the world works and what’s appropriate for any given situation, even as a teenager your daughter will not fully understand.

    I made lots of clothing decisions in my 20s that my father would have died if he knew – but that was my choice and I was much better at handling the consequences by that age. But even then there were a few things that I only ever wore once because I didn’t like how I was treated when I wore the outfit. That’s not the way it should be, but it is the way the world is.

  • Fluffy_1

    I never had this issue as a teenager. Well, not the “oh my god, are you going to work in a brothel or going out?” clothing issue, but of a different kind. You see, as a teenager, I was a Goth. My mum hated my long black skirts, lacy tops with long sleeves that trailed on the table, big biker boots and black and white makeup. However, she never stopped me wearing the clothes cuz I’d paid for them with my own money. And I guess she was also heaving a sigh of relief and thinking, “At least Fluffy’s not dressing like a tart, even if she does look as tho she belongs in a morgue.” XD

  • VLDBurnett

    My mother was a “Modesty Mom™” and I can say with certainty, that you are not being hypocritical or unfair. I think, if she would have expressed this level of thought, I would probably resent all of the comments she made about my clothing a lot less. But, she didn’t take this approach and instead allowed her fellow “Modesty Moms” to berate me when, not realizing there was anyone else in the house, I came downstairs in my pajamas at 13, allowed her friend to reach down my shirt to pin on one of those little fake camisole things that pin to your bra when you couldn’t even see cleavage because just the fact that it was a v-neck insinuated things (note: I was 23 at the time this happened, there was no excuse), made me bend myself into weird positions to prove that there was no way my midriff would show (because I broke into yoga poses so often as a teenager), and told me that I was somehow responsible if men lusted after me, even if I wasn’t trying. (I should just add the little disclaimer that I actually do have a decent relationship with my mother, but this was sort of a single sticking point for us). I don’t see what you are saying to be anything like this. Misogyny exists and while we all wish it didn’t, we don’t want to see the women and girls we love exposed to it. Teenage girls are especially vulnerable, and often don’t have any idea how vulnerable they are. I don’t think it is contradictory to say that someone has the right to wear whatever they want without fearing bad things and realizing that wearing certain outfits might make a person vulnerable and wanting to protect them from harm. Especially when the sort of people who prey on women/girls based on how they dress KNOW the way society as a whole thinks about it and clearly use that to their advantage.

  • Tom Maker

    Grow up women. Girls (and women) dress to tease and attract men. A ten year old knows she will get special attention if she dresses like a hoochie! Sorry moms….girls like it and do it for a reason….to tease!

    • CMJ
    • Amanda

      So do you get off on outing yourself as a pedophile, or……..?

    • JudasSong

      You know what? Yeah, I did get off on “teasing” older men and women in an attempt to attract them when I was young teenager. And what do you know, there were adults who were willing to take advantage of that. I didn’t know it at the time, but these people would be the worst people I would meet. But the people who stood by- like you- and called me a whore, a slut, a skank, or a skag, either to my face or when they thought I couldn’t hear are almost just as bad. For shaming ME, and only me, for what happened, for not calling the adults out on their immoral, illegal and frankly, heinous, behaviours. I don’t care if you’re just a troll; you disgust me.

    • SarahJesness

      I dress like a slut sometimes but it’s mostly to make other chicks jealous. While it’s to a lesser extent, that’s why a LOT of girls dress the way they do and start wearing makeup. Lots of girls express a desire to wear makeup and wear cute outfits even before they’re into boys. It’s done as a way to fit in with the other girls. Even at points past that, the same motivation is still there. Most guys don’t care about the latest fashions or brand name clothing or fancy makeup and hair that takes an hour to do every morning. Yet girls and women still obsess over those things. They’re status symbols, they’re things we use to express our own interests and sense of style, or things we use to either stand out from the other ladies or fit in with them.

    • Kelly

      A 10 year old who needs to dress like a “hoochie” in order to get attention is either an abused or neglected child. Maybe stop shaming the innocent victims of child abuse and focus on their abusers and the predators who seek them out to further abuse them.

  • Lackadaisical

    My mother would have loved for me to wear stuff like that. She found me too masculine and too … dull. She lived in fear of me not having boyfriends and not wanting them, and that can give mixed up body issues and relationship problems with mums too.

    My daughter is 4 so it’s a bit early for me to know how I feel, everything is a bit academic until you start to go through it. I did have a weird conversation with my mum when she declared my 4 year old daughter’s knee length school uniform dress too long and therefore dowdy. At the moment my daughter is very confident and happily puts anyone mean to her in their place and I am hoping that is enough to help her father and me be less cautious and frightened for her as she tests her boundaries growing up. We tend to worry more about her 10 year old brother who has stolen her share of meekness. He may not be a girl but as a not very conventially masculine boy on the cusp of puberty he suffers bullying, particularly about sexuality, even though he is a bit young to have discovered what his is yet. Ironically the bullying often takes on a sexual harassment aspect from the bigger and tougher boys in his class, a couple of whom had no problem teasing him by calling him gay while forcing his head into their lap or throwing him around in his undies in the changing room. Obviously we dealt with it officially through the school but also we know find ourselves asking “will he get bullied for wearing that” when he goes out.

  • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

    I see it as teaching them risk assessment. If you leave your car unlocked with the doors open and the keys in the ignition in a bad neighborhood what are the chances of your car being stolen? Is it right if the car is stolen? No, but there a high chance that it will be. What if the doors are closed? How much risk does that mitigate? What if it is a good neighborhood?

    If you wear a skimpy outfit and walk down a certain street, what are the risks? If you wear it to school? If the skirt is a tiny bit longer/shorter? What image do I want to portray. Who am I pleasing with the outfit?

    I also think boys should be taught the sames risk assessment. If I walk down this street alone at night, what are the chances I will be jumped. If I drive way over the speed limit what are the chances I should crash. If I sag my pants, what image does that portray. If I leave my drink laying around what are the chances I will be drugged?

    I don’t see it as people should be able to wear whatever they want and expect other people to see who you are as a person. Your clothing reflects or should reflect, who you are as a person. Mine reflect, that I don’t really put much energy into aesthetics as I really have no interest in fashion.

    Why is it that most men wear modest clothing and women do not? How many women would prefer to wear modest clothing, but can’t because they are expected to look hot. I know I was teased for wearing baggy clothing in school.

    If my girls want to wear sexy clothing, and are of age to do the risk assessment, I will respect that. If they are too young to understand the consequences, I will try and steer them away. I generally let them pick their clothing, but I have veto power. They are not allowed to go to school in PJ’s unless it is requested at school. There are some social graces that must be met.

    Also just because something should be a way, doesn’t mean it is. If my daughter wears skimpy clothing, goes to a party, gets passed out drunk and gets raped, I would never say, “You asked for it.”

    However, I will teach her (before she is old enough to get in these situations) that doing those thing increases the risk of harm, and I will teach her how to protect herself so hopefully that won’t happen. I will teach her self defense, and how to say no. Just like I taught her at 4 that private parts are private and nobody has a right to touch them. I shouldn’t have to, but who knows what happens at daycare all day. The world is not sunshine and butterflies.

    When she makes mistakes, I hope I will always be there to listen and support her while she figures out a way out of them. Hopefully I will give her enough education so she will be able to think critically in these situations. I think that is more empowering than allowing her to wear clothing that puts her at risk.

    • jsing014

      Most of the points you make are good points. We should all practice personal safety, we should all teach our kids personal safety, party safety, etc. I believe we can even talk to our kids about dressing neatly and giving the right impression to other people. But when you compare a woman’s vagina to a car, that is when you get a downvote.

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      I respectfully accept the down votes. I expected them. My opinion goes against the majority here.

      You make a solid point. Your body, and your vagina are way more valuable than your possessions. So why is it we spend time and money insuring our possessions, installing alarms and locks, but do not protect our bodies. If somebody doesn’t lock your car doors everybody will gladly tell you that is not smart. But the author is so worried about contracting feminist rights, the right to wear what you want and be respected, that she feels the need to rationalize the fact that she tells her daughter to protect her body. We should be telling our children to protect their body, respect their body, defend their body. If they want to flaunt their body that is their right, just make sure they are making informed choices about where and when and the consequences could be so they mitigate the negative ones.

      Some teenagers do not yet have the capacity to make those decisions because they are running on emotions, peer pressure and hormones. Some are able to use their critical thinking skills earlier than others. You as the parent are the only one who knows your child well enough to decide when that is. In the meantime, feel free to protect them, and there is no need to apologize for that. It doesn’t mean you are condoning rape or any sort of assault when you suggest your daughter be safe. It just means you want her to be safe in a non-perfect world.

    • Mikster

      We teach ours how to handle guns safely and with pinpoint accuracy at the gun range. That way, they can-conceal with licenses here carry, especially if they want to protect their cars, vaginas and penises the safest possible degree.

    • CMJ

      “Why is it that most men wear modest clothing and women do not?”

      That’s like comparing apples to oranges.

    • Kelly

      Saying no, being “smart” and dressing modestly won’t stop a rapist. That’s what’s wrong with your comment.

  • SusannahJoy

    Yeah, I only wear tank tops. I very very rarely wear shirts with any kind of sleeve. Even in the winter, I wear a tank top, with a jacker or sweater over it, so that once I’m inside I can take that off. It’s just more comfy.

  • koolchicken

    You think you’re a drop in the bucket, but you’re not if you’re one of many. I too have a son (my only child) and I plan to raise him to not be one of “those boys” as well. I sometimes wonder about those parents who raise their boys to believe women are objects. Will you really be happy when he rapes someone and his defense is a tube top made me do it? Also, I do foresee telling my son to cover up. I hate it when I see guys walking around topless in the summer. I mean hello, if we’re not at the beach and you’re not just fresh from the shower throw on a top please! Same thing goes for the baggy pants, if I can see butt crack you better go put on a belt- because it’ll be ugly when I show up at school and put one on FOR YOU!!! Oh I’ll do it.

    As for girls, if I had one I would encourage her to cover up too. Not because I want to “slut shame” her, but because too many teens do that stuff for attention and there are better ways to get it. Now I’m not opposed to heels, low cut tops, or even mini skirts. But wear them right! I once had an administrator stop me in the hall and tell me that they would have sent me home over my skirt (very, very short) but when thinking about it they realized I wasn’t actually showing any skin besides my forearms and face and thanked me. So there is a way to wear “revealing” clothes without looking like a stripper. It’s about balance, and I for one prefer looking at people who are dressed classy (both men and women).

    So I’ll raise my son the way I would a daughter. I’ll teach him that you should respect everyone, male or female. That one isn’t better than the other, and no one deserves to be treated like an object placed here for their amusement. And I’ll teach him to cover up if only because I don’t want to see anything hanging out. But that you don’t necessarily need to start looking down on those that don’t. Because they’re a person too.

    • Mikster

      I fully expect both of my boys to refrain from raping women in crop tops or tank tops. And my daughter better not ravish the chiseled guy without a shirt either.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    My mom thought along these lines. She was scared too. And a huge feminist. Ultimately, I think there’s some wiggle room between “wear what you want” and “put on a sweater.”
    A lady shows off one asset at a time. Cleavage? Well, then nothing short or tight. Tight? Then nothing short or low-necked. Short? Then not tight and no cleavage. Belly button? You better be at the beach.
    This fashion rule is a good lesson for enjoying your attractive self without going overboard and drawing in the creeps who believe clothes are actually invitations.
    You can teach your girl to always leave something to the imagination. There’s no body shaming in that message and it’s just good fashion advice.

    • Mikster

      LOL? A belly button? as long as the abs are toned, who cares about crop tops? IO wore them when I was younger, and don’t mind my daughter wearing them. Albeit, not to a restaurant or school, but out and about on causal business, the park, a walk around the block, amusement park, beach…..you get the drift.

  • thisshortenough

    What’s the problem with tank tops? I get wearing outfits that some outfits aren’t appropriate for school but a tank top is just a top. Plus what if it’s super hot? Does your daughter have heat stroke because you don’t want her to possibly be ogled?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Yes exactly. This entire article is about how I want my daughter to get heat stroke. Thanks for reading! #blessed

    • CW

      I allow my girls to wear some tank tops but not others. It depends on the neckline and the width of the straps. There are sporty-looking tanks with wide straps & a higher cut neckline that are perfectly fine IMHO. Then there are ones that are a definite “no way, jose”.

    • Justme

      This is ridiculous. I have lived in Texas my entire life and somehow make it through every summer without wearing tank tops…no signs of heat stroke in 30 years. Also. The Middle East. No tank tops allowed there, yet millions of women make it through their stifling heat, as well.

    • Mikster

      Want a cookie? I live in Ohio and when it gets over 80F, the tank tops and short shorts come out. Hell, the camis with string tops come out in this house. Everyone’s comfort level is different- and as long as they aren’t daisy dukes and string bikini top, it’s appropriate for us.

    • Justme

      I believe your anger is misdirected. I never said anything against wearing tank tops. I was commenting on the fact that the OP mentioned not wearing a tank top as a source of a heat stroke. Even if mentioned only for sartorial purposes, it’s still a ridiculous concept. Heat stroke is not caused by the amount of clothing someone is wearing or not wearing.

    • Mikster

      How did you infer anger? Trust me, emotion on the internet is hardly worth my time or energy, LOL.

    • Justme

      Well, starting off a statement with a sarcastic “want a cookie” certainly doesn’t convey pleasantries.

    • Mikster

      Ah, but I’d infer sarcasm from it, perchance, but not anger. Anger would be more like “Eff off”, whilst a passive-aggressive post would commence with a is disparaging introductory remark like “That’s ridiculous!”

      Capiche? (translated to mean, “Do you understand?” Could also be imbued with mild sarcasm ;-)

    • Justme

      Thanks for your input.

    • Mikster

      You are quite welcome~

    • Mikster

      And, wearing too much clothing in high heat and humidity may not cause heat stroke, but it may cause violence in perimenopausal women. I could post pix of my thermostat to prove it ;-)

  • Kelly

    I will never understand this idea that tank tops are sexy clothing. I’ve heard it before and I just don’t get it. Because… my shoulders? Wut?

    • CW

      Some tank tops are designed to show off the wearer’s cleavage. Others have a more sporty look with wide straps and a higher neckline. I allow my daughters to wear the latter but not the former.

  • privadera

    Well, I don’t know. I get what you’re saying, but I’m a sixteen year old girl and I wear pretty short skirts and heels on a fairly regular basis. My body looks awful in mid/long skirts and I like to feel tall. I don’t get any bad attention from men/boys or really any attention at all. (Still the last person to be kissed ever…) But then again, your daughter is probably prettier than me so maybe you do have to worry….

    Also, since when are tank tops an issue? At least the ones I own completely cover my back and aren’t too low-cut, and what’s that sexy about arms? And it can get really hot in summer…

  • Byron

    Ultimately, values and ideas matter only when there’s something of importance on the table. To hold a view but instantly shift when your view is actually gonna affect you or someone you care about in the end translates to your original view not being what you truly believe.

    If, when it comes to your own child, you assume this position, it is fair to suggest that this is what you truly believe. The fact that you go on and say the opposite for the majority of the time simply means you’re insensere or don’t really know yourself very well.

    It’s fine to not be a feminist. It’s fine to disagree with what you have been supporting until this point. It’s fine to not be part of this club you have been in and in exchange obtain the gift of being honest with yourself and your beliefs.

    I mean, it’s a pretty black or white issue. Unless you purport your child to be somehow superior or more important than those other girls (which have a mother too) then the only logical way to be as a good person with empathy is to put your shoes in those of their mother and say what you think is TRULY for their good. You know, “their” good, not some general “good for women” type thingbut their individual good. Anything else and you’re basically martyring them for your cause, which you don’t really believe in anyways, so why do it, you know.

  • SarahJesness

    The whole “people judge you for how you dress” argument doesn’t really make a lot of sense in situations where you aren’t dressing to impress. I won’t wear short shorts and a tank top to a job interview… But if I’m going to the movies, or the zoo, or getting groceries, I don’t care what the people around me think. Buuuut, I live in south Texas, where it’s over 90 degrees F most of the year. It’s perfectly normal for girls around here, even ones from more conservative families, to run around in tank tops and even the little short shorts. So it’s always really weird when I’m watching a TV show or reading an article where parents are concerned that their teenage daughters are wearing tank tops and low-cut jeans. Like, even before starting the slutty phase I’m still going through, I was like “lolwut”. Cultural things, amiright?

    But I do get where you’re coming from. You want to let her do what she wants but you know we live in an unfair world that’s going to treat her differently for dressing a certain way. I hope I didn’t come off too judgey cause I really do know what you’re saying. And for girls of a certain age, some kinds of clothing are a bit too much.

  • Mikster

    I never knew tank tops were particularly risque. So yeah, my daughter (as well as me AND my own mother) wear plenty of tank tops. And shorts that are actually short. Cause when it’s flipping 85F and humid, we dress for comfort.