My daughter and I got out of the car at a local store and just ahead of us were two very pretty young ladies. The first thing I noticed was that their long tanned legs were fully exposed up to almost the underwear line. Both had on very revealing tank tops, I mean it is hot out right? Both young (likely 14 year old) girls were very mature physically and it was made quite apparent by the low cut tanks. The girls appeared to be friends with one of the girl's mother having driven them and accompanying them into the store. They were laughing and chatting and I don't even think they noticed the 40ish aged man oogling them as they walked by, or the inability of the male stockboy to look them in the eyes as he directed them to what they were looking for.
I felt myself wondering what was the mother thinking? I don't mean I was wondering in an angry judgemental way, but more in a concerned, friendly manner. Was she too overburdened with her daily goings on to mind what her daughter wore out in public? Was she too unobservant to see that the girls were getting attention from much older men? Was she concerned that if she put her foot down about what her daughter wore that she would cause her daughter anguish with peers if the daughter was not allowed to dress just like everyone else?
I believe we are failing our daughters. We, as a generation of parents, relatives, teachers and friends are failing our daughters by letting them believe the lie that they are pretty only as far as what can be seen with the eye. That they are beautiful, when they are dressed in popular style and when they can turn heads with their appearance.
Yes, these girls were pretty and they were head turners, but they would have been that way even had they been dressed more modestly. They would have likely turned a few heads for their beautiful long hair and eyelashes, their clear youthful skin, the pretty sprinkling of freckles across one of the girls' cheeks. Those would have caused anyone to think, what pretty young ladies, not necessarily what was likely running through the 40ish man's mind by the way he was looking at them.
We don't tell our daughters why they need to be modest. We don't tell our daughters that putting all their assets on display is cheating themselves. Let me clarify, I am not suggesting that our girls wear burkas or amish attire (though my husband may suggest that...lol) They can look trendy and cute without showing off everything. I am well aware that starting at about age 7 with my girls I had a difficult time finding skirts that were long enough, shorts that were appropriate, and still making them look cute. However, that is not an excuse for me as a mom, I do have to look harder but it is possible to find more modest clothing (Old Navy and Gap have bermuda shorts and Kohls carries tons of maxi skirts and dresses).
Let's stop worrying that our daughters will not be happy if they are made to look different (less scantily clad) then some of thier peers, maybe they will start a new trend. Let's stop trying to be their friends when it comes to being shopping companions, and let's be their guardians. Just give it a thought as you prepare for back-to-school or fall shopping. What message is the clothing we buy our daughters sending? Are we failing them?
And what about our sons? Read here for my thoughts on them...