"The Skin Wars" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 09-06-2003, 02:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In the Times: The Skin Wars Start Earlier and Earlier

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When The Washington Post reported last summer that fashions for girls in the "tween" years were "long on skin, short on modesty," it was noting a reality that many parents of teenagers know only too well.
Now I'm not a parent of a teenager by a longshot -- we've got another 12 years before we hit that milestone -- but I do worry about this. I went to the mall (ugh!) a couple of weeks ago with my mom and sisters, and we were all shocked at what the (unsupervised) 9-to-12-year-old girls were wearing. They ran around in groups of four or five, all sporting what I would call a cross between sweatpants and hotpants: itty bitty athletic shorts, incredibly tight, revealing as much skin as a swimsuit would -- and in some cases, they rolled the tops down so far you could see their hipbones. (BTW, I'm 25, and my sisters are 24 and 18, so we're not *that* out of it!) Ten-year-olds! Unsupervised! At the mall! Wearing stripperwear! Am I really that old, or is this acceptable? And what are clothes going to be like when my two daughters are teenagers? Strips of electrical tape? Is it really as bad as the media makes it out to be? Do these kids just have parents who don't care, or is modesty a real struggle even when you shop with your teenagers and want them to have some semblance of decency? I'm not in favor of returning to Victorian modes of dress, and I've been known to show a bit of cleavage now and then, but I don't think it's okay for pre-teens to run around trying to look like sex symbols.
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#2 of 5 Old 09-06-2003, 07:35 PM
 
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Why parents might let thier kids dress like this: some might be parents who don't approve but are "choosing thier battles" and don't see clouthes as a major one. Others might be parents who are giving thier children choice about how they dress themselves (I hope to fall into this catagory, even if it means cringing because my 5 year old wants pink princess tennis shoes). Others might be parents who approve, who see no harm.

I do think it distasteful, especially since it tells girls that thier attractiveness and thier bodies are so important to thier identity. But they will get this message every day in a hundred ways besides low riding jeans. I will try to fight the general message itself rather than its particulars. (My mom didn't let us have barbies, but I still grew up putting too much of an emphasis on my appearance.)

My parents also wouldn't let me "run wild" (thier words) at the mall when I was 11-13. All my friends parents would drop them off for two hours or so on Friday nights. So I would say we were were going to a movie at the mall cinaplex and just hang out at the food court/mall stores etc with my friends. We never got in any trouble (got kicked out of BK for being obnoxious), but I certainly have reservations about whether I would be comfortable with my jr. high kids hanging out unsupervised at the mall. I guess it would depend on the kid and on her friends?
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#3 of 5 Old 09-07-2003, 02:25 AM
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FWIW, I do let Rain (10) hang out with a friend at our (admittedly smallish and mellow) mall. I'm elsewhere in the mall, and we meet at certain times, and she has a cell phone... but the same may be true of the kids you see. Of course, if I thought she were "running wild" we'd talk, but she doesn't.

Clothes are a big issue. I've spent many hours over the past couple of weeks looking for some new clothes for Rain. The biggest problem is that she's 5'2" and no longer fits most Girls Clothing, so we're into Juniors... but even stuff in the Girls section looks pretty risque to me, and if not then it just looks shoddy. She doesn't even really want stuff like that, she likes things that are pretty but basically classic, like flare blue jeans and basic tank tops, but we haven't found many options, especially for things that are a little bit dressy. She wears Hanna 160s but that gets pricey... it's just hard.

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#4 of 5 Old 09-09-2003, 03:53 PM
 
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One more reason "why" parents might let their kids dress this way: they don't care what their daughters do. They'd rather not be bothered putting the effort into discussing clothing issues (and therefore maybe getting into a confrontation), or be bothered with supervising them at the mall. I'm showing my bias towards modest clothes for young teen girls.

Honestly, 15, 16 y.o. and above, I say enjoy wearing a belly revealing tank or low slung hip huggers or a two piece swim suit. Enjoy it, with moderation, while you can! I think you can show off your belly button or wear a tight t-shirt without looking like a slut. It's just not appropriate for 9 y.o.'s!!!

All too soon you might not be able to wear the belly revealing jeans. No one wants to see my post partum x2 belly, that's for sure!

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#5 of 5 Old 09-09-2003, 09:21 PM
 
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I agree in some measure journeymom. When I was a kid I wore halter tops and such.. they were comfortable. My pants came up to just below my navel, though. When you have to worry about the site of your FIRST PUBIC HAIR being above the line of your pants... there is a problem. When you can't move in your clothes without exposing the top half of your underpants or worse still your butt... big problem, in my opinion.
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