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What's your policy on revealing clothing for your LO growing up?

  1. farawayyama

    kiwi / 556 posts

    We struggle with this. DH and I are very against purity culture and the concept of modesty having any connection to morality goes against our values.

    On the other hand, we do believe in dressing for the occasion and being respectful of the people around us and their comfort levels. I guess we will take each situation as it comes...

  2. imbali

    apricot / 347 posts

    I super don't get this. I wore revealing stuff when I was a teenager and in my early 20s, and don't feel like I don't respect myself because I liked to show some skin. Sure, situation-appropriate (like not to work) but I'm in the her body her choice camp too. I tell her all the time that she is the boss of her body, and what she wears isn't up to me past a certain point. At this age, she wears rashguards at the beach for sun protection but if she really wanted a two piece (with a whole lot of suncream), it would not be a battle I'd be fighting that's for sure

  3. looch

    wonderful pear / 26210 posts

    @Anagram: I wonder how much of it is peer pressure and how much of it is the kids copying the parents or the adults that they see around them.

    I know some parents react very strongly to dress codes, so I don't know what the answer is.

  4. Trailmix

    nectarine / 2152 posts

    No rules on clothing. Her choice, not mine.

  5. MoonMoon

    pomegranate / 3371 posts

    I don't have a daughter so my reply is in the abstract, but I'm really uncomfortable with the notion of parents policing their children's wardrobe because let's face it, it only applies to daughters, and I dealt with that from my father growing up and have a lot of anger/frustration about it. I think people obsessed with modesty are sexualizing children as much as anything else. So I'd be pretty libertine with what my son & any potential daughter want to wear, to continue the theme of bodily autonomy and trust that I try to create in my parenting.

  6. hilsy85

    squash / 13764 posts

    @MoonMoon: I actually disagree--if my son wanted to wear a crop top or wear pants where his whole butt hung out, I would also not be ok with that.

    I think there are appropriate standards for both boys and girls that have nothing to do with sexualizing them, but are just about teaching what is appropriate attire for school and society--something that's ok while at a concert or at a club is not necessarily ok at school or a family function. And that's ok. I don't think stating that rule takes away from their bodily autonomy or places any double standard on my daughter.

  7. snowjewelz

    wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts

    re: school uniforms; I wore them from kindergarten till 8th grade (only b/c I moved). I never knew what friends were rich until we have play dates/birthday parties. Accessories were strict too. I used to hate it, and then loved the freedom we have to wear whatever in America, but looking back I see the point of it.

  8. yoursilverlining

    eggplant / 11824 posts

    I don’t know yet how we’ll address this. I REALLY don’t like and don’t want to send the message that revealing clothes = less/no self-respect. I also really don’t want to send the message that girls/women should cover up or that they *need* to cover up. That message will be reinforced enough by the victim-blaming “she was wearing a skirt so she deserved it” portion of our society.

    I want LO to wear situation appropriate clothing and there are certain articles of clothing I think are not appropriate for little kids but I also don’t want to promote any body shaming or a direct connection between modest dress and morals.

  9. Maysprout

    grapefruit / 4800 posts

    @MoonMoon: I agree With some of that, but kids are learning whether boys or girls. I love my daughters fashion sense even if it's a bit unique at time. But at 4, she still needs pointed out weather appropriate clothes or no we're not wearing your fancy party dress to play in the mud. Also as far as school goes I've watched her dresses hinder her ability to climb up on the bars and do tricks like she likes to. So these have all become part of our conversations when she's choosing her outfits. She's been choosing her own clothes since she was just a bit over a year, she does the main deciding but the girl needs some guidance. Then there's my second daughter who is 2.5 and doesn't care one bit what I dress her in so we haven't had to deal with any of that yet with her.

  10. avivoca

    watermelon / 14467 posts

    @MoonMoon: I don't think it applies only to daughters. I would not let my son wear inappropriate clothing (clothing with sexual messages, things that are too short, shorts/pants hanging off his bum) either. I also don't think that encouraging modest dress encourages body shaming.

  11. JenGirl

    clementine / 756 posts

    @avivoca: Funny story. A couple months ago I was involved in a group breastfeeding photo. We chose a location that is a park that overlooks our city. It was, apparently, the same day as a local formal dance because there was a huge group of high schoolers in formalwear and their parents taking pictures of them.

    So you had the teens and parents giving us the side eye for breastfeeding in public and all these moms of babies giving the teen girls side eye for their super revealing dresses. It was so funny. Honestly, I'm just glad I have a boy and likely won't have to figure this out!

  12. Anagram

    eggplant / 11706 posts

    @MoonMoon: I disagree that it only applies to daughters. I've worked in inner city schools where the majority of dress code battles were with the boys--sagging pants that showed their entire butts (well, the underwear), pants sagging so badly they boys can't walk or run, boys trying to wear white ribbed tank tops or those tank tops with huge arm holes (muscle tanks? I don't know what they are called).

    That school eventually had to institute a belt rule and boys that showed up to school were given loaner belts from the front office.

    Even in my current, upper class suburban school district, boys wear flip flops or house shoes with no sole (seriously, house slippers at school are a thing now), which are prohibited because kids don't change before going to gym class here, so they are required to wear closed toe shoes. And they can consequences for those things just as often as girls get consequences for their dress code issues.

  13. looch

    wonderful pear / 26210 posts

    @Anagram: yeah, what it is it with the house slippers as footwear? I see it all the time and I just don't understand it.

  14. Adira

    wonderful pomelo / 30692 posts

    I don't have any girls, but I think my policy is the same, regardless of gender. No underwear showing!

    Other than that, as long as they aren't violating some school dress code, whatevs!

  15. anonysquire

    cantaloupe / 6910 posts

    If you got it flaunt it. No kidding... But I don't care what my kids wear. And I do buy bikinis, tanks and short shorts. And maybe some crop tops.

  16. MrsRcCar

    grapefruit / 4712 posts

    I think I will handle as my parents did. I was allowed to wear clothing I was comfortable in. They never made a big deal out of clothing or body image. As long as it was activity appropriate and no undergarments showing then we were good to go. That's what we will do with our children.

  17. jedeve

    pomegranate / 3643 posts

    I think it will be something along the lines of, "wear clothes appropriate for the weather and the occasion." Don't wear a sweater over a tank top in July because you are worried you might offend. Don't wear blue jeans to a formal dinner. Clothes are a form of self expression. It's fun to express yourself in different ways, but keep it in context. Dress for yourself, not others.

  18. youboots

    honeydew / 7622 posts

    @stiletto_mom: this! Teachers are going to be the ones that are helping with college applications/scholarships etc. We were not allowed to wear ripped jeans, heavy makeup etc.

    When I went to college my Mom bought me a new wardrobe for school. Comfortable shoes for walking, a little more preppy/professional than what I wore in HS.

    I also agree with situational appropriateness. Some outfits are not conducive to learning. Since I will be the one buying the clothes until she has a job I expect we will have many chances to chat as her tastes change. There are some stores I will not shop at however- like Justice. Just not a fan.

  19. Anagram

    eggplant / 11706 posts

    @looch: I don't know. It's the new trend for middle school boys (probably High School, too). It wouldn't matter so much if the kids didn't have official PE only 3 times a week--but because of budget cuts they switched PE with a coach to 3 times a week but to meet the state requirements for minutes of physical activity, they require students to have free activity time outside or in the gym after lunch. And that's where I see girls not playing sports because their shorts are too short, and boys not playing because they have house shoes on and the grass is wet. Parents all know about the required minutes of physical activity--it's in the handbook. And yet....the kids show up wearing these things.

  20. looch

    wonderful pear / 26210 posts

    @Anagram: Around here, it's the girls that wear the slippers...I've seen kids waiting at the bus stop near our house and I've also seen adults wearing them in the grocery store.

  21. Anagram

    eggplant / 11706 posts

    I think for me, a person who regards herself as a feminist, the concept of teaching girls positive self image by not giving them guidelines for what they wear doesn't jive.

    The thing is, I already feel that "fashion" is very sexist. What's fashionable for women are things like high heels, makeup, tight clothing, small clothing, clothing that makes someone "sexy". I feel like a lot of those things inhibit women. Who can be comfortable in a learning environment when you can't bend over to retrieve something you've dropped on the floor, or when you can't raise your hand in class because then your shirt rides up?

    And what's fashionable for men/boys are things like cool sneakers, joggers, basketball shorts, etc. Why aren't short booty shorts in fashion for boys in school?

    And then there's a separate but related issue where a lot of parents are really wrapped up in their children's appearance because they are reliving their own youth or living vicariously through their own kids. As a parent, I'm sure it's really great to have a beautiful daughter or a very handsome son, so a lot of parents get caught up on some level in wanting their kids to be cool and popular, whether or not those clothes and accessories are good for learning.

    We had a student one year who was really wearing super super inappropriate stuff--even in our really lax school, eventually her mom had to be called (I say mom, because it was a single parent household), but the mom flat out told us that she encourages her daughter to "flaunt her body" because soon enough she'll have kids and won't have such a great body anymore. The girl was 13. Giving a young girl that message about her body disturbs me on so many levels--that she only has worth as long as she is sexy. That after being a mother, she won't by sexy any more and therefore, her worth will diminish. That flaunting her body is more important that being comfortable and having unrestricted movement.

    I don't want to give those messages to my girls. I'm happy for them to follow trends that still allow them to learn and participate in physical activity. I also hope to teach them that they still have worth even if they aren't trading on their sexuality, and that they are beautiful for reasons other than their youngness and smallness of clothes.

    I feel strongly about this subject, haha

  22. Anagram

    eggplant / 11706 posts

    @looch: yeah, I feel like once you are in college--who cares. Make your own choices, you know what your day is like and if you can wear house shoes all day.

    I guess I'm thinking about this conversation from the parent angle, which is only applicable until the graduation of high school.

  23. MrsBrewer

    coconut / 8854 posts

    I grew up pretty much wearing what I want to, and my mom was very lenient. I never really wore revealing things though, I was more of a jeans and t-shirt girl (still am!) I'm all for comfort, not so much style. For my kids, I will make sure they are always comfortable. I will definitely instill modesty, but not push it. Though I will never allow my son to wear saggy pants, and never allow my daughter out of the house with her boobs hanging out or butt cheeks hanging out of her shorts!

  24. skipra

    pomegranate / 3350 posts

    This is interesting because I just read this huge FB post/rant about a middle school girl being sent home for being in violation of dress code policy for her super short shorts. The mom posted a pic and they were ridiculously short. All the parents are in a rage and think because it's the style it's perfectly acceptable. They are like calling the news stations over it. So there's the other side's opinion.

  25. gingerbebe

    cantaloupe / 6131 posts

    I feel like part of DH and I's desire to dress modestly and teach our children to dress modestly partially has to do with being loving and respecting towards others. We do not live in a vacuum where my choices have nothing to do with other people. We live in a community and if we can do something as simple as keep our pants up or not have our butt cheeks hanging out and that creates a more harmonious environment for everyone especially in a setting like school or work why wouldn't we do it?

    I don't believe in slut shaming or victim shaming either, but there is an aspect of wisdom and prudence involved here too. I shouldn't HAVE to be worried about my personal safety jogging at night but is it wise for me as a woman to go jogging at night alone? Probably not the safest thing ever. If I were to go jogging at night anyway, would it better to take some precautions like wear safety gear and bring mace? Yeah. In the same way, should a woman have to fear some jerk harassing her for what she's wearing or be blamed for some rapist's heinous actions? No of course not. But would it be wiser not to have your butt and boobs hanging out knowing rapists and assholes are out there? Probably.

  26. looch

    wonderful pear / 26210 posts

    @Anagram: Booty shorts for boys used to be in fashion for men, you've seen pictures of basketball players from the 70s, right? When they wore the short shorts with the long white tube socks with colored rings? It's just that the pendulum has swung in the other direction to the super long shorts and short socks now. I find it so interesting.

    I don't know a lot about men's fashion, my husband isn't particularly fashionable, he's utilitarian, I guess. The guy wears no iron shirts from Costco, pants from the sale rack at Lord and Taylor and socks that he buys from Amazon. He has his formula for what works and as long as it's presentable, he doesn't put too much thought into whether or not the shirt goes with the pants or if a brown belt might be better. He's more concerned that he has the right technology. All that to say that I don't think he worries about having the right clothes, or trendy clothes, for that matter. Is that true of most men? I don't really know.

  27. Anagram

    eggplant / 11706 posts

    Coming back to this thread--I don't have a transcript version but I listened to a fascinating segment on NPR on my way to work this morning that really touched on my uneasiness with women associating feminism and "owning your body" and not "body shaming" with showing more skin. Peggy Orenstein, who wrote the new book Girls and Sex, found through interviews that increased skin equals decreased confidence among young girls. I found that interesting. And she had some things to say about associating wearing less clothing with body confidence that I agreed with.

    Anyway, it's worth a listen. http://www.wnyc.org/story/peggy-orenstein-girls-sex-internet

  28. Maysprout

    grapefruit / 4800 posts

    @Anagram: I'm not a Peggy orenstein fan overall. I think she brings up interesting topics and some good points but I always disagree with so much.

    Yes, meeting and dating online is different and the hook up culture nowadays. But those are topics that both sons and daughters need talked to about. Teenagers, whether boys or girls, usually have a significant sex drive. I look at guys on the beach longer if they have a 6 pack than if they have a beer belly. I feel like she misses out on all that as just normal and somehow tries to make it abnormal. The whole beginning of the show was just bizarre and culminated I think in a very telling way that she felt Kim kardashian dressing revealing was worse than Lena Dunham because more people find Kim kardashian traditionally sexy?

    I agree that theres some people who do bizarre attention seeking things to appear attractive to others bc they lack self confidence and need validation. But there's other intrusive ways people seek validation other than revealing clothes as well, but that doesn't mean everyone who wants a thank you card is a slutty attention whore.

  29. PawPrints

    pomegranate / 3658 posts

    I'm surprised by the number of people here who are saying your approach to the complex issue of body acceptance, confidence, and self-respect will be to institute rules forbidding your kids to wear certain things. I really feel that's putting the cart before the horse. I hope that the million conversations we have with DD over the course of her childhood will help her have a firm foundation of self-confidence and self-respect such that we can trust her to make her own decisions about what to wear. If that involves a little bit of teenage fun with flirty outfits, well that's part of exploring yourself as you grow up. I don't think that policing her wardrobe is going to have any real impacts (not any positive impacts anyway) on her values.

    I suppose that's a longer way of saying her body, her choice.

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