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.