And I do agree that I don't think that miniskirts are appropriate for girls who are young enough to play on the playground. I think that high fashion trickles down to young girls much more so than to young boys, and that clothes that are appropriate for adults (or not, I don't really care) are NOT appropriate for kids who need to be able to move freely and run and play. I can't tell you how many young girls I see at the playground in little slip-on ballet flats or flipflops that they can't run in, in super tight skinny jeans that don't allow movement, in tiny miniskirts that they're constantly tugging down. I don't think that it's appropriate for kids of either sex to show underwear, but I can't say that I've ever actually seen a boy doing it. They still get to run around in sneakers and jeans and oversize t shirts. It's not even entirely a "modesty" issue, it's also a practical one. Those clothes just aren't practical to play in. You can't go down a slide in a miniskirt that rides up: your butt won't slide down the hot metal slide easily.
Again, I find this an issue of consumption more than pure misogyny. Companies make a lot of money selling "grown up" fashions to parents of little girls, so of course they do it. I guess I just don't understand what makes the parents think that $120 ballet flats from Crew Cuts that don't stay on are a good idea for the playground. And I'm happy to dress my DD in low-fashion but practical clothes for as long as she'll let me, but at the same time I know that when she starts getting teased for it I'll cave and buy her the stuff that "everyone else" wears. I just hope that it doesn't happen for a long time...
I agree strongly with this post. I have done home childcare for years and also have been very involved with my sons' preschool. Every year, we have to specify that girls (it's *never* boys) need to be sent in clothes that are appropriate/comfortable for active play indoors and out in a cooler climate -- good shoes, clothes that are ok to paint in , stretch in, run in, climb in, etc.
I don't know what to call it - `fashion forward' clothes for girls? -- slow the girls down. They can't run as fast in sandals, as the boys can in sneakers. They can't let loose and paint or glue or play with gak if they are afraid of mussing their dresses. I've been presented with a bill for new clothes by parents who sent their dd to my program in designer clothing and then got mad at me because the red tempera paint at the craft center that smeared in the clothing despite paint shirts wouldn't wash out (No, I didn't pay it. ) Girls can't go in puddles or in deep snow in the girly ankle boots that match their coats like the boys can in their practical waterproof rain boots or snow boots. Girls, usually smaller and thinner than boys to start with, shiver outdoors in lightweight but pretty jackets while boys jump in the snow in the parkas and snowpants their parents send. Even the snowsuits *made* for girls are often of lesser quality in terms of keeping a child warm than boys' suits are, though that seems to be improving in recent years.
Girls have to stop and pull their low-rise jeans up or their miniskirts down. Girls don't want to go on the slide or into the bush by our house with miniskirts/shorts/sandals on for fear of bug bites or hot metal or scratchy thistles. Girls in miniskirts need more bandaids on the knees than boys in long pants, I find.
I'm not against dresses -- my dd wore them all the time, but layered over leggings or pants for practicality and with appropriate warm sweaters and shoes. I'm not against self-expression. That's what my dressup center is for.