Why do we let our daughters dress that way?

A mom has written an interesting essay for The Wall Street Journal addressing why women let their daughters dress like “prostitutes.”

While her friends believe it’s just the “fast” girls dressing that way and was the same in their generation, this mom has a different theory:

“I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, “If I could do it again, I wouldn’t even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?”

“We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn’t have to worry about getting knocked up. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that’s certainly the norm among my peers.”

“So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn’t), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don’t know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We’re embarrassed, and we don’t want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.”

Click here to read the whole essay from The Wall Street Journal.

So what do you think: Is it just the fast girls that dress trampy? Is it because the mothers are proud their daughters are hot – as the article said? Is it because they don’t want to be hypocrites and tell their daughters not to do things that they did? How do you reconcile your behavior as a teen with what you expect of them?

What do you think of her generational argument — that this was the first group of mom with access to birth control and the freedom to use it?

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, AJC Momania

81 comments Add your comment

RJ

March 22nd, 2011
2:59 pm

I grew up in the late 80’s and I can assure you that we wore make-up and tight jeans. I hever dressed trampy because I had no desire to do so. My daughter dresses her age. She hates make-up (I still ask her is she REALLY my daughter!:) She wears jeans and t-shirts mostly. Her jeans are usually fitted, but that’s about it. Nothing trampy going on. I guess I’m lucky.

I have had to question middle school students on their wardrobe. I had one girl tell me that her mom told her she had a nice shape, so that’s why she bought her the outfit.

Rick

March 22nd, 2011
3:00 pm

This seems to be a majority or woman on this post so Ladies I hope you don’t mind a mans opinion. I have a daughter and I also work in a school system and I was absolutely shocked the first time I stepped foot back into a high school after 10 years. Looking at the way these girls dress you would think there should be a bouncer and a velvet rope at the doors of the school and only the beautiful people can get in. The parents and administrators in a school HAVE to be the ones stopping these kids from dressing like that.

My daughter does not and will not be dressing like some of these tramps out there becasue that to me is a direct reflection on what kind of parent i am if I am letting her dress that way.

Here is what i think is the bottom line. I hear over and over again that parents never show up to board meetings and put the pressure on school systems board members saying enforce and stick to a dress code. Parents don’t want it becasue they don’t want to hear the gripping of their child who has to wear khaki pants and a nice shirt. We are their parents not their best friends. We made the decision to engage in an act that brought these children into our lives so we need to act like parents and be responsible.

Peachy

March 22nd, 2011
3:00 pm

Please do not blame it on liberals… conservatives’ kids do it just as much! just hide it from their parents more often… and while you are at— liberal, conservative, etc. all ===== the same. say they stand for certain things, still end up doing whatever is on their agenda!

Logic 88

March 22nd, 2011
3:02 pm

May God have mercy on America.

somewhereinga

March 22nd, 2011
3:06 pm

I have a retail store. Every year a mother comes in with her three daughters in their teens. They’re easy to remember. She looks like she puts her make-up on with a putty knife. Eye make-up for the night time stage. Her daughters look like they are dressed as Las Vegas hookers….and I mean CHEAP Las Vegas hookers! All the girls are in skin tight lycra and high heels and we’re talking 12, 14 and maybe 15. Lowcut blouses. They seem to think they’re stylish. They look like trash! Where’s the pimp?

The other reason I always remember them is they always have to touch every thing in the store, LITERALLY, and when they leave (after buying a $10.00 item) I will find $100.00 worth of broken merchandise.

Denise

March 22nd, 2011
3:06 pm

@JOD – YES!!! Z Cavariccis were horrible…but I had a pair. And of course I had them tight rolled at the bottom. When I hadn’t perfected the art, I would get to school early to let my more proficient friends hook my jeans up before the bell rang! I had to be “fresh”. LOLLLL!!

Eclecticdiva

March 22nd, 2011
3:07 pm

@ Momoftweens, I had that same problem with my daughter. I stopped eating out and we had organic, non antibotic meats and milk. That helped curb the development to a slower pace. No fast food burgers or nuggets.

As for clothes, we still battle, she is almost 16. She wants to wear the skinny jeans and low rise jeans – bought them on-line and had them shipped to the house! That is a big no, no. I try to help her find things that compliment her body and are age appropriate.

If you buy things from target walmart, you can layer the low cut tops with a cami or t-shirt underneath. My daughter has learned to layer the tops as I don’t like the looks she gets with the low cut crazy tops out there for girls. As for the shorts, I find her the bermuda shorts and buy them a size bigger. That helps with shrinkage when you wash them so they won’t become super tight. They can roll the cuff of the short up a little if needed.

If anyone is looking for me tonight, I will be finding the skinny jeans to donate to goodwill!

L

March 22nd, 2011
3:12 pm

We are our parents!!!
DRess for SUCCESS!!!
Classy not TRASHY!!!!!

Cammi317

March 22nd, 2011
3:14 pm

ROFL @ “Plow Horses”! Thanks Peach, I am going to have to use that one when I and my daughter are out and about!

JJ

March 22nd, 2011
3:14 pm

You can thank shows like “Jersey Shores” “Bad Girls Club” “Gossip Girls”, etc. These shows are sickening to watch. Spoiled little brats. And unfortunately some children think this is cute and how life really is…..

Joe

March 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

Sex is evil! Teens should not be having sex! We need to train our teens in close quarter combat drills. That will keep their minds off of that filthy business!

Dress our daughters in combat fatigues! Not mini-skirts!

Superman

March 22nd, 2011
3:31 pm

My daughters will not dress that way, period. Ain’t going to happen.

CP

March 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm

Theresa – I agree with you about mini-boden – they have the best clothes for young girls. It’s really not that expensive when you consider the clothes are great quality, there’s no sales tax – and they are always running specials including free shipping. (Assuming you buy on-line and not from Nordstrom.)

I found my girls have mostly outgrown Hanna Anderson by the time they were 7. Really cute on little kids, but not so great for older ones.

Superman

March 22nd, 2011
3:34 pm

If there is a father in the house, he needs to lay down the law.. not to sound sexist, but there are some things only a man can do! Stop trying to be best friends with your children and set some boundaries. Trust me, they will thank you for it one day.

DB

March 22nd, 2011
3:41 pm

America teaches modern mom’s to “eat their young”. Basically, due to competition, inferiority complexes and feelings of inadequacy, many women allow their young girls to dress and act like whores in hopes that they WILL fail in life. It’s insidious and most women don’t realize that they have been programmed to create children that fail. By undereducating, overfeeding, supporting laziness, passing lies as truth, overmedicating and parenting in absentia, mothers know deep down that their children will most likely fail and they do it anyway! Against motherly instinct, millennium mommas want to Facebook and Tweet their lives when they should be building character filled children – and not just for public display – but because that is how children should be raised. This improves the chances that momma will have achieved more than her children and thus will be adored for motherly success without having to trying real hard and being good parents. Instead, their children’s -boys too – accomplishments will be secondary because the parents bought into the “i got mine” mentality when they were young.

Becky

March 22nd, 2011
3:52 pm

Mine’s only 8, so I don’t have any problems with her clothes..She doesn’t like shirts that show her belly & her shorts have to be “just” the right length..Guess, I’ll see how things go when she becomes a teen..None of the other teens in my family really care for short shorts or belly shirts, so again, time will tell..

Cammi317

March 22nd, 2011
4:00 pm

Perhaps the title of this blog should have been “Why Do Some People Let Their Daughters Dress This Way?” “We” implies everyone does it, and clearly, “we” all do not….

Erica

March 22nd, 2011
4:05 pm

@ Theresa: Thanks for the tips. I love Hannah Andersen, but will check out mini boden as well.

@Denise: When you mentioned Guess, I had a high school flashback. Remember when the Guess overalls were all the rage? I wanted a pair so bad and they cost $75, even back then. My mom gave MAJOR push back on that and told me if I wanted them, to pay for em. So, I saved up my money from work and finally bought a pair and boy was I proud of them.

Teacher, Too

March 22nd, 2011
4:06 pm

Can someone just get rid of the ugly skinny jeans? Why not just wear a pair of tights and call it a day?

Erica

March 22nd, 2011
4:07 pm

@ Superman: My husband usually stays out of the clothing conversation, but two things can raise his antenna and ire. First, anything witgh writing on the butt (they sell sweat pants with writing on the butt), and two piece swim suits. You may hear him make a grumbly comment if he think my little girls shorts are shorter than he’d like. So yes, a daddy in the house makes some difference with girls’ attire.

JOD

March 22nd, 2011
4:19 pm

@Teacher, Too – Amen! The only thing worse than skinny jeans on a girl is skinny jeans on a boy!

Becky

March 22nd, 2011
4:31 pm

@Teacher,Too & JOD..Haha with the skinny jeans..Have a coworker that her son wears them and has them in just about every color they make them in..My 8 yr old wanted some skinny jeans, so I bought her a pair (at thrift store), over the weekend, the boy put them on in error..She was quick to tell him that boys do not wear skinny jeans…

Denise

March 22nd, 2011
4:43 pm

@Erica – yes, I loved my Guess overalls/jumper! It cost $100 where I was I think and that was my Christmas present. Might have been the only one I got from Mama and Daddy but it was worth it. Did you wear it with a wide belt around it? ;-)

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2011
7:52 pm

Been out all day and have not had time to read all the posts. I lucked out completely with this issue.

My daughter is WAY modest and will not even wear a 2 piece swim suit. She has a size 6 great figure…much nicer than mine was at her age. She is not AT ALL about showing her body off. She dresses in lots of cute things and I have never, ever had to tell her she would not be leaving the house in something. A blessing but true! Son lived in jeans/sweats and t-shirts all through HS.
He is now known for his silly hoody collection. He is also a snappy dresser, with argyle socks that match his tie and dress shirts ( he has to wear to work).

I will say that it is hard to focus on a sermon in church, when the teen in front of you has a thong sticking out of her low cut pants. I am a MOM…what about boys…. ’nuff said….

deidre_NC

March 22nd, 2011
9:40 pm

wow…i see teens dressed like hookers but never related it to their moms reliving their youth…my daughters never dressed like that or wanted to. not trying to say they are perfect by any means-and they arent goody goody girls either…but they just never wanted the bad attention they would get if they looked like hookers. they knew what kind of attention they would get by watching the girls who did dress like that.

Bluebell

March 23rd, 2011
1:24 am

Girls can dress any way they want to. They should especially wear skinny jeans. They have the bodies for it. Those of you who disapprove obviously wear high waisted mom jeans to hide your bloated bellies and thighs heavy with cellulite.

Bluebell

March 23rd, 2011
1:29 am

Also, whoever said that she bought her daughter oversized bermuda shorts so they wouldn’t shrink down tight needs to be visited by the fashion police. You have turned your daughter into a giant dweeb.
Bad mommie!

DB

March 23rd, 2011
2:19 am

@Teacher, Too: Why not just wear a pair of tights and call it a day? They ARE!! Haven’t you seen the young women walking around in what are basically tights and a top? My husband was behind one in the grocery store the other day, and his eyes just about fell out of his head –forget skinny jeans, those tights were so tight they outlined the mole on her butt! We noticed our first outfit like this last Christmas on our way back from a party — coming out of a QT, this young woman looked like she had forgotten to put on her skirt! But we’ve seen it several times since then. It’s — amazing.

@Bluebell: I think you’re just trolling, but just in case you aren’t — are you prepared to be a grandmother by the time you’re 30?

Old Sandra

March 23rd, 2011
4:33 am

Personally, I would love to be able to find some nice high waisted mom jeans. I hate the low and mid rise ones.

Our sons know that hubby and I would not be impressed if they brought home a girl to meet us who was wearing next to nothing. More importantly, the boys know that I would pass out if they brought home a girl that spits in public. A few weeks ago we were driving to town and watched as a girl in the backseat in the car ahead of us lobbed a wad out the window barely missing the car next to them.

Luckily our daughters are still too young to want any of the hookerwear and we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Sarah

March 23rd, 2011
9:54 am

I had a slightly different experience as a child, a teenager, and even into my 20s (I am 28). I never liked wearing dresses or skirts, and I would have been in jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers all the time, if I could have done so. I rarely wear make-up, and even then, I do not wear much. And I have always despised wearing heels and have never done so (furthermore, they can be very bad for you! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2007/05/07/GR2007050700484.html ).

tracey

March 23rd, 2011
3:00 pm

there’s nothing wrong with a girl wanting to be ‘in style’ or looking good. there has to be a happy medium though. i have teenage boys. i’m pretty ok with ’self – expression’ within reason. but, i will admit i see teenage girls in church on sundays and i wonder why on earth their mama let them out of the house looking like that. i can remember being a teenage girl and having battles with my mom over what i wanted to wear. i was a little more, ahem, developed than some of my friends. i spent years being told i wasn’t going out of the house looking like dolly parton. i swear, i ended up with a complex.