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Monday, March 17, 2008

Empowering Girls: Short Skirts


Are there shorts under your dress?

Why do I always have to wear shorts?

Because, it's no fun to sit like a lady.

"Sitting like a lady" sucks. It pretty much rules out swinging, running, climbing trees, jumping on trampolines, summersaults, cart wheels, and sitting indian-style during circle time at school.

If you let your daughter wear a dress or skirt without shorts and still participate in all these activities - just think of all the people who have seen her panties.

Ainsley often skirts the shorts by wearing pants. Which is way funky cool.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

AMEN!! I don't even have a girl child and this drives me nuts.

Jen

goddess in the groove said...

I started tights and leggings under dresses when my daughter, now 10, was a baby. She grew up thinking it was completely normal to layer leggings, capris, and now jeans under dresses. Plus, now she is "in style" without even trying :).

Whirlwind said...

Since we live in perpetual coldness 1/2 the year, and the girls love shorts, the rule is, during the winter, you have to wear pants under your skirts. Otherwise, I'm not too worried. However, if we are going to the park, I make them wear shorts. Einey sometimes wears shorts under her uniform, and I think as she gets older, I may make her all the time.

Am I doing okay? said...

I'm a bit of the opposite. I let my girls run around in their underwear in the sprinkler and hang upside down in dresses in pre-K. I think the person who's staring at a 4 yr old's panties has the problem. I teach them sit politely and not pull their dresses up and "flash" people, but I don't restrict what they wear or do because others might gawk. Am I wrong?

Tracee said...

I don't think of it as "restricting" what she wears. I think of it as liberating so that she can participate in as many physical activities as possible without worrying about "flashing" people.

As a child our girls should be able to swing, jump, roll around, play chase, etc. without "sitting politely." I think the sitting politely is more restrictive than just having them wear shorts. When do boys have to sit politely or worry that people might see their underwear?

I'm no perv, but it does make me uncomfortable to see a little girls' panties. I think it makes completely normal non-pervy men uncomfortable as well.

Tracee said...

Whirlwind - pants under dresses are also great for preventing burns on the slides in summertime.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it makes me uncomfortable for little girls to show their panties, especially if there are men or boys around. I like your idea Tracee, and it just safe guards her from being gawked at.

I think maybe some moms still see their little girls as their babies and the rest of the world sees them as little girls who need to cover up their stuff.

For instance, I have a 4yrold boy and to me it's nothing for him to pull it out when we're in the yard and pee - because he's my baby...but if he did that in front of your little girl, or any other child it would be uncomfortable woulndn't it?

Tracee said...

I'm trying to convince a certain grown man I know of the inappropriateness of peeing in the yard,

Tracee said...

I have to add - the other day in church the children went up to the front for children's time. There was a sweet little girl sitting on the floor - not politely - she was only about 3, but she was in panties and she had a terrible wedgie.

Her wedgie exposed her bottom for the whole congregation and I desperately wanted to go pick her up and pull her dress down.

I was uncomfortable, not because I'm a pervert or a pedophile, but because the poor little girl was exposed in front of everyone.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. I think if they're out of diapers - it's inappropriate. I'm not offended, I just think it's so avoidable.

Violet said...

I guess I'm going to be the one who disagrees.

I grew up with the mom who was always preaching modesty and I think it made me really self conscious about my body. I'd be having a great time playing, and would look over to see her gesturing at me to pull down my shirt that was creeping up to show my belly. When I was later molested by a family member, I remember wondering if it was my fault for not being more modest.

Why do women or girls always have to cover up or change their outfit because it might make some men uncomfortable? It's not as extreme as a burka, but it's the same concept. Sorry, but it makes me kind of sad that someone's child has to wear tights, leggings and pants under everything.

And it's sexist. No one puts anything like these rules on young boys who are free to run around half naked without their shirts and no one blinks an eye.

I don't think anything is wrong with the naked human body or girls underpants for that matter. What's the difference between them and a swimsuit? Not much except for our ideas. I think people feeling uncomfortable about it says more about their issues.

Tracee said...

Why do women or girls always have to cover up or change their outfit because it might make some men uncomfortable?

This is a good point Violet.

My son rarely wears a dress or any other outfit that would show his underwear at all.

He NEVER has to worry about such things because we would never think of making him wear a shirt that is too short, pants that show his butt crack when he bends over or a dress that exposes his underwear for all the world to see in church or school.

Because boys are ENTITLED to modesty. They are never sexualized by their clothing. THAT's the sexist part. Girls clothing is intentionally more revealing and sexualized.

Girls have to work hard to be allowed such privacy about their bodies.

I can see why we all felt shamed by being made to wear things that expose us - like dresses and skirts and then being hissed at to "be modest and cover up."

It's the inability to move freely in our clothing or be judged as too sexual or immodest that I find sexist.

But, that's why I think shorts under skirts and dresses is a good solution. I don't want to restrict her movement. I want her to be able to move around just like any boy who isn't wearing a dress or skirt.

If I were going to be unbiased and completely non-sexist about it - I would have to forbid the dress and skirts that risk exposure of her body - to which boys are never subjected. She's not into that. She likes a dress.

This is a reasonable compromise.

Violet said...

You have to do whatever you think is best for your daughter.

I don't think your premise is entirely true though. My whole childhood was my brothers wearing cutoffs and NO shirt, bare chested, while I had to wear an undershirt and a t-shirt on hot summer days. And yes, I had to wear shorts underneath if I wanted to wear a skirt which made me even more hot and uncomfortable.

Let's see, also a slip under any dress and tights or pantyhose. After I got to be a tween, undershirts were swapped for training bras (nipples make men uncomfortable, you see, even if you don't need the support).

My brothers had plenty of low rider jeans that showed their butt cracks, and walked around our house every day wearing nothing but boxer shorts or pajama bottoms.

No one cared though, and certainly no one told them they were "risking exposure," or that it would make people want to have sex with them, be too arousing for adults and make others feel uncomfortable. Sorry, but I see a huge double standard.

JayMonster said...

A day late, but what the heck...

Almost everything I was going to say, was covered by violet.

I'm not going to go point for point with you on this, because I doubt very much it would make any difference, but your reply to violet just highlights the points she was trying to make.

The basic human body is only "sexualized" if you believe it to be so. Outside of our puritanical society, boys and girls, men and women frolic on the beach nude and nobody thinks twice about it. Why, because not everybody sees nudity as a "sexual" issue.

Now, that being said, my wife is guilty of the same thing, and even I have fallen into that trap with our daughter of "what would people think?" Then I stop, and usually say the same thing I try to preach to my daughter about everything else in life, it doesn't matter what "they" think.

Outside of concerns in public places (such as summer camp) where there is no telling what kind of perv is around, I don't worry much about it.

Tracee said...

Certainly, I would never argue that boys are not held to the same modesty standards as girls.

I would argue that letting everyone see Ainsley's underwear or letting her run topless through the neighborhood at 6 years old has zero chance of changing the double standard. It only puts her in the way of judgement.

Anonymous said...

"the human body is only sexualized because you believe it to be so"

When your average everyday person sees another person - no, they don't think 'sex'...but when your average everyday person sees a naked person they DO think sex. And your average everyday child molester thinks sex when they see a naked child - I don't want them to see my naked child.

My husband and I just had a similar discussion: Long story short, my 4 yr old all of a sudden thinks that it's funny to moon people..this is very worrisome to us (especially when they went to the nursing home to sing Christmas carols and he mooned them in the middle of the Lord's prayer)..I have recently had many talks w/ him about the fact that private parts are private and what that means and they are not funny, but private..So, in a further effort to drive this point home we have stopped dressing - or undressing in front of him. I know he doesn't see us as sexual - but how will he grasp the concept that everybody's not supposed to see his "private" stuff if we are non-chalant about our own stuff..

Also, I don't want him to be comfortable around naked adults - we would never hurt him of course, but another adult naked around him should be a warning sign to him..

So anyway, I guess my point is - child molesters ARE out there. No, it is never the child's fault, but if there's anything we can do to make our child less of a target - we're going to do that. Even if some people think it's oppressive in some way. All acts of parenting are oppressive in some way or another.

Ashley

Tracee said...

To be honest I'm not very motivated by the child molester argument. They are pedophiles and how children dress has little to do with their deranged minds or their actions.

Jaymonster is right - it is more about what "they" think. And "they" are the other mothers for me.

I have to pick my battles.

We don't have the same clothing and modesty rules at home - these are only public rules. Are you wearing shorts usually gets asked when we're on our way out the door.

Feminism aside - it's tacky.

Violet said...

Child molesters do not select who to molest based on what they are wearing or whether they see their underpants. Mostly, they choose children who are easy to exploit emotionally. But I can understand the fear.

It may be radical to some people, but my husband grew up with hippie parents and nudity was no big deal. He has one of the healthiest attitudes about the human body I have ever encountered.

Anonymous said...

"Child molesters do not select who to molest based on what they are wearing"

That wasn't what I was trying to say.. I'm sure they're not lurking around the corner waiting for my some to whip it out and pee. My point was that we are trying to drive home the point that 'privates are private' and I don't know if we can send that message consistently if we let him expose himself sometimes. It seems like some of the molestation stories I've heard on Oprah consist of the molester convincing the child there's nothing wrong with what they're doing..well, I guess I just want there to be a clear line for him. If a man or woman exposes themselves in front of him I want alarms to go off. If a man or woman asks him to take off his clothes I want him to recognize 'something's wrong here'. If someone touches his privates I want him to know without a shadow of a doubt that's wrong! We're not trying to make our son paranoid about things or hate his body - but we're just trying to teach him some basic knowlege about boundaries and with my kids the boundaries have to be clear - not blurred for certain situations..
I'm not saying our way is 'right', I'm just sharing ways we're trying to tackle a very difficult issue. And I am interested to hear how others handle the issue.

Ashley

blue milk said...

Very interesting topic to post on. Well done for starting the discussion.

anna said...

its kind of sad that dresses and skirts are being reduced in many cases to fewer and fewer occasions - and formal events don't happen that often in most people's lives

Tracee said...

It's funny you should mention that Anna. I went to a banquet last year with my mentee and we got to dress up.

She chose to wear city shorts, heals and a cute top. I dressed similarly to her for the fun of it.

But I actually was disappointed that we didn't take the rare opportunity to dress in formal ball gowns. Because it is so rare.

Also, women aren't even wearing dresses to church. I have a few friends that don't even own dresses anymore. They wear slacks to formal events, funerals and weddings.

I still have dresses and enjoy wearing them.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Empowering Girls: Short Skirts


Are there shorts under your dress?

Why do I always have to wear shorts?

Because, it's no fun to sit like a lady.

"Sitting like a lady" sucks. It pretty much rules out swinging, running, climbing trees, jumping on trampolines, summersaults, cart wheels, and sitting indian-style during circle time at school.

If you let your daughter wear a dress or skirt without shorts and still participate in all these activities - just think of all the people who have seen her panties.

Ainsley often skirts the shorts by wearing pants. Which is way funky cool.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

AMEN!! I don't even have a girl child and this drives me nuts.

Jen

goddess in the groove said...

I started tights and leggings under dresses when my daughter, now 10, was a baby. She grew up thinking it was completely normal to layer leggings, capris, and now jeans under dresses. Plus, now she is "in style" without even trying :).

Whirlwind said...

Since we live in perpetual coldness 1/2 the year, and the girls love shorts, the rule is, during the winter, you have to wear pants under your skirts. Otherwise, I'm not too worried. However, if we are going to the park, I make them wear shorts. Einey sometimes wears shorts under her uniform, and I think as she gets older, I may make her all the time.

Am I doing okay? said...

I'm a bit of the opposite. I let my girls run around in their underwear in the sprinkler and hang upside down in dresses in pre-K. I think the person who's staring at a 4 yr old's panties has the problem. I teach them sit politely and not pull their dresses up and "flash" people, but I don't restrict what they wear or do because others might gawk. Am I wrong?

Tracee said...

I don't think of it as "restricting" what she wears. I think of it as liberating so that she can participate in as many physical activities as possible without worrying about "flashing" people.

As a child our girls should be able to swing, jump, roll around, play chase, etc. without "sitting politely." I think the sitting politely is more restrictive than just having them wear shorts. When do boys have to sit politely or worry that people might see their underwear?

I'm no perv, but it does make me uncomfortable to see a little girls' panties. I think it makes completely normal non-pervy men uncomfortable as well.

Tracee said...

Whirlwind - pants under dresses are also great for preventing burns on the slides in summertime.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it makes me uncomfortable for little girls to show their panties, especially if there are men or boys around. I like your idea Tracee, and it just safe guards her from being gawked at.

I think maybe some moms still see their little girls as their babies and the rest of the world sees them as little girls who need to cover up their stuff.

For instance, I have a 4yrold boy and to me it's nothing for him to pull it out when we're in the yard and pee - because he's my baby...but if he did that in front of your little girl, or any other child it would be uncomfortable woulndn't it?

Tracee said...

I'm trying to convince a certain grown man I know of the inappropriateness of peeing in the yard,

Tracee said...

I have to add - the other day in church the children went up to the front for children's time. There was a sweet little girl sitting on the floor - not politely - she was only about 3, but she was in panties and she had a terrible wedgie.

Her wedgie exposed her bottom for the whole congregation and I desperately wanted to go pick her up and pull her dress down.

I was uncomfortable, not because I'm a pervert or a pedophile, but because the poor little girl was exposed in front of everyone.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. I think if they're out of diapers - it's inappropriate. I'm not offended, I just think it's so avoidable.

Violet said...

I guess I'm going to be the one who disagrees.

I grew up with the mom who was always preaching modesty and I think it made me really self conscious about my body. I'd be having a great time playing, and would look over to see her gesturing at me to pull down my shirt that was creeping up to show my belly. When I was later molested by a family member, I remember wondering if it was my fault for not being more modest.

Why do women or girls always have to cover up or change their outfit because it might make some men uncomfortable? It's not as extreme as a burka, but it's the same concept. Sorry, but it makes me kind of sad that someone's child has to wear tights, leggings and pants under everything.

And it's sexist. No one puts anything like these rules on young boys who are free to run around half naked without their shirts and no one blinks an eye.

I don't think anything is wrong with the naked human body or girls underpants for that matter. What's the difference between them and a swimsuit? Not much except for our ideas. I think people feeling uncomfortable about it says more about their issues.

Tracee said...

Why do women or girls always have to cover up or change their outfit because it might make some men uncomfortable?

This is a good point Violet.

My son rarely wears a dress or any other outfit that would show his underwear at all.

He NEVER has to worry about such things because we would never think of making him wear a shirt that is too short, pants that show his butt crack when he bends over or a dress that exposes his underwear for all the world to see in church or school.

Because boys are ENTITLED to modesty. They are never sexualized by their clothing. THAT's the sexist part. Girls clothing is intentionally more revealing and sexualized.

Girls have to work hard to be allowed such privacy about their bodies.

I can see why we all felt shamed by being made to wear things that expose us - like dresses and skirts and then being hissed at to "be modest and cover up."

It's the inability to move freely in our clothing or be judged as too sexual or immodest that I find sexist.

But, that's why I think shorts under skirts and dresses is a good solution. I don't want to restrict her movement. I want her to be able to move around just like any boy who isn't wearing a dress or skirt.

If I were going to be unbiased and completely non-sexist about it - I would have to forbid the dress and skirts that risk exposure of her body - to which boys are never subjected. She's not into that. She likes a dress.

This is a reasonable compromise.

Violet said...

You have to do whatever you think is best for your daughter.

I don't think your premise is entirely true though. My whole childhood was my brothers wearing cutoffs and NO shirt, bare chested, while I had to wear an undershirt and a t-shirt on hot summer days. And yes, I had to wear shorts underneath if I wanted to wear a skirt which made me even more hot and uncomfortable.

Let's see, also a slip under any dress and tights or pantyhose. After I got to be a tween, undershirts were swapped for training bras (nipples make men uncomfortable, you see, even if you don't need the support).

My brothers had plenty of low rider jeans that showed their butt cracks, and walked around our house every day wearing nothing but boxer shorts or pajama bottoms.

No one cared though, and certainly no one told them they were "risking exposure," or that it would make people want to have sex with them, be too arousing for adults and make others feel uncomfortable. Sorry, but I see a huge double standard.

JayMonster said...

A day late, but what the heck...

Almost everything I was going to say, was covered by violet.

I'm not going to go point for point with you on this, because I doubt very much it would make any difference, but your reply to violet just highlights the points she was trying to make.

The basic human body is only "sexualized" if you believe it to be so. Outside of our puritanical society, boys and girls, men and women frolic on the beach nude and nobody thinks twice about it. Why, because not everybody sees nudity as a "sexual" issue.

Now, that being said, my wife is guilty of the same thing, and even I have fallen into that trap with our daughter of "what would people think?" Then I stop, and usually say the same thing I try to preach to my daughter about everything else in life, it doesn't matter what "they" think.

Outside of concerns in public places (such as summer camp) where there is no telling what kind of perv is around, I don't worry much about it.

Tracee said...

Certainly, I would never argue that boys are not held to the same modesty standards as girls.

I would argue that letting everyone see Ainsley's underwear or letting her run topless through the neighborhood at 6 years old has zero chance of changing the double standard. It only puts her in the way of judgement.

Anonymous said...

"the human body is only sexualized because you believe it to be so"

When your average everyday person sees another person - no, they don't think 'sex'...but when your average everyday person sees a naked person they DO think sex. And your average everyday child molester thinks sex when they see a naked child - I don't want them to see my naked child.

My husband and I just had a similar discussion: Long story short, my 4 yr old all of a sudden thinks that it's funny to moon people..this is very worrisome to us (especially when they went to the nursing home to sing Christmas carols and he mooned them in the middle of the Lord's prayer)..I have recently had many talks w/ him about the fact that private parts are private and what that means and they are not funny, but private..So, in a further effort to drive this point home we have stopped dressing - or undressing in front of him. I know he doesn't see us as sexual - but how will he grasp the concept that everybody's not supposed to see his "private" stuff if we are non-chalant about our own stuff..

Also, I don't want him to be comfortable around naked adults - we would never hurt him of course, but another adult naked around him should be a warning sign to him..

So anyway, I guess my point is - child molesters ARE out there. No, it is never the child's fault, but if there's anything we can do to make our child less of a target - we're going to do that. Even if some people think it's oppressive in some way. All acts of parenting are oppressive in some way or another.

Ashley

Tracee said...

To be honest I'm not very motivated by the child molester argument. They are pedophiles and how children dress has little to do with their deranged minds or their actions.

Jaymonster is right - it is more about what "they" think. And "they" are the other mothers for me.

I have to pick my battles.

We don't have the same clothing and modesty rules at home - these are only public rules. Are you wearing shorts usually gets asked when we're on our way out the door.

Feminism aside - it's tacky.

Violet said...

Child molesters do not select who to molest based on what they are wearing or whether they see their underpants. Mostly, they choose children who are easy to exploit emotionally. But I can understand the fear.

It may be radical to some people, but my husband grew up with hippie parents and nudity was no big deal. He has one of the healthiest attitudes about the human body I have ever encountered.

Anonymous said...

"Child molesters do not select who to molest based on what they are wearing"

That wasn't what I was trying to say.. I'm sure they're not lurking around the corner waiting for my some to whip it out and pee. My point was that we are trying to drive home the point that 'privates are private' and I don't know if we can send that message consistently if we let him expose himself sometimes. It seems like some of the molestation stories I've heard on Oprah consist of the molester convincing the child there's nothing wrong with what they're doing..well, I guess I just want there to be a clear line for him. If a man or woman exposes themselves in front of him I want alarms to go off. If a man or woman asks him to take off his clothes I want him to recognize 'something's wrong here'. If someone touches his privates I want him to know without a shadow of a doubt that's wrong! We're not trying to make our son paranoid about things or hate his body - but we're just trying to teach him some basic knowlege about boundaries and with my kids the boundaries have to be clear - not blurred for certain situations..
I'm not saying our way is 'right', I'm just sharing ways we're trying to tackle a very difficult issue. And I am interested to hear how others handle the issue.

Ashley

blue milk said...

Very interesting topic to post on. Well done for starting the discussion.

anna said...

its kind of sad that dresses and skirts are being reduced in many cases to fewer and fewer occasions - and formal events don't happen that often in most people's lives

Tracee said...

It's funny you should mention that Anna. I went to a banquet last year with my mentee and we got to dress up.

She chose to wear city shorts, heals and a cute top. I dressed similarly to her for the fun of it.

But I actually was disappointed that we didn't take the rare opportunity to dress in formal ball gowns. Because it is so rare.

Also, women aren't even wearing dresses to church. I have a few friends that don't even own dresses anymore. They wear slacks to formal events, funerals and weddings.

I still have dresses and enjoy wearing them.