Recent Posts

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Keeping our daughters young

I don't know about you, but when it comes to kids clothes, I am totally anal. I do not like Disney characters splashed across the front (or across the butt), and things must be tidy and respectable looking. LOL (My kids will love me in ten years, I'm sure) My mom has learned that buying clothes for them is a tough undertaking, and now just issues me a gift card so that I can do the dirty deed myself.

I've been doing some shoe shopping for myself lately, and have quickly scanned the kids' aisles, too. Perhaps I've just never noticed, but there are a ridiculous amount of high heeled shoes for little girls! out there. When I went to buy my daughter tennis shoes last year, I swear, I went to like eight stores looking for a conservative pair of Keds that didn't look like crazy tricked out hooker shoes for toddlers. I'm not into flashes and blinking lights (besides, once those lights don't light up anymore, it's a major disappointment that just can't be overcome).

I have serious foot issues so I can't really wear heels without torturous results. I know that in adult women, they can gradually shorten the achilles tendon, and since mine were basically born that way as it is, I don't need to make the problem worse. Not only that, but like any other child, my kids like to run around - and they can't do it in those things, for sure.

I checked out and saw these little beauties, most of which top out at a 1- 3/4" heel. The black sandals at the top actually have a 2- 1/2" heel. Can we say broken ankle? Of all the reasons to head to the ER this summer, I don't want this to be one of them.

Those brown pumps with the bow - how cute! I may order a pair for myself (some styles do come in women's sizes, but a girl's size 5 is like a women's 7 1/2 or something). But check out the ones on the bottom - that little heel is low, but so spikey I can just see an awkward 11-year-old wobbling her way through church/Bat Mitvah/whatever in those. (Wait, do 11-year-olds go through an 'awkward' phase anymore? It doesn't seem like it. *sigh*)

Apparently I'm not the only one who is freaked out about this. Doctors are issuing "warnings about the dangers of kids wearing high heels ," and you can see Suri Cruise wearing a crazy pair of peep toes that make her look like an elfin 12-year-old. One six-year-old mentioned in the article has worn them "until the jewels fell off," says her mother, who adds that "it's not my preference, but I've stopped fighting it."

Umm...hello...who's the parent here? If it's not your preference, then why did you buy them for her? Secondly, if you don't like them, they might just have to 'disappear,' and little Helena might have to get over it. She is six, for goodness sake.

As far as wardrobe choices, I see more four-year-olds in Hannah Montana than I can shake a stick at. Just the other day we were at a play date where a little girl the same age as my daughter pulled out her Hannah Montana electric guitar. I thought, Wow, my kids have no idea who that is, thank God. And after I saw pictures of how she 'performed' at the Teen Choice Awards last year, hopefully they never will, either.

In this photo (taken from the Huffington Post ) you can practically read the expressions of the girls in the background. Girl 1: "OMFG! Woot!" Girl 2: "Miley, you are a goddess! I worship you and your 3 1/2 inch heeled boots!" Girl 3: "Whoa, I can't believe she just did that! My mom is, like, going to kill me!" Girl 4: "Wow. She is so awesome. I'm going to ask my dad to install a pole in our basement, like, tomorrow!"


It seems like when it comes to fashion, the industry is trying to sex up our daughters and make them grow up way sooner than they should be. Teens in the media don't often help - consider how long it took Britney Spears to shed her "good girl" image and head straight for Madonna's closet. And conversely, look what the fashion industry seems to be doing to women: convincing them that, even though you're pushing 40, you can still look like you're 20. (Even when I was 20, I didn't look that good.) It's great if you've got a nice body, but you need to treat it with respect - that doesn't mean showing up to Disney with four young, impressionable daughters in tow wearing a pair of skin-tight low rise jeans and a tube top that exposes your muffin top and size 38DDD breasts. What kind of image does that project to young girls?

I'm "old" LOL and a mom, and am not necessarily ready for the Alfred Dunner line. Neither am I going to bare all in a pair of Daisy Dukes and parade around showing all that extra flesh I've earned as a mom of three. (Dear God, the image is burning my retinas) Sometimes I think we need to be realistic about our body image - which doesn't necessarily mean negative - just be honest with ourselves that no, we can't squeeze into those pants no matter how much they stretch. And even if you somehow manage it, bending over is another task. If that's the case and you need an oxygen tank to breathe, you might want to reconsider.

Speaking of Madonna (who is 52! Hello, 1984 is over, honey! I think - and so do lots of other people - that it's time to hang up the fishnets and bustier) - all it took was one photo of daughter Lourdes' eyebrows circulating on the internet before the 12-year-old had them, and apparently her upper lip, done. I guess if you're a celebrity's kid the pressure is also on you to be beautiful and 'grown up' before your time. No wonder so many celebs shield their kids from the paparazzi. There is just as much an expectation for their kids to look as perfect as the parents do.

As a mom of two boys as well, I don't see the same pressure on them to look the part. In some ways, they do, what with the little three-piece suits and ties that look so cute as a button. But in girls, it's so much different. It's like the world has tapped into that feminine persona that defines us as women (or at least thinks that defines us), and has decided that girls need to look like that, too; that girls can't just be girls, but, rather, smaller versions of grown women.

I almost wish we were back in the 1950s, where women and men looked clean-cut and "dressed up" every day as part of their regular wardrobe. No, I don't think women should have been barred entry to a place simply because they were wearing pants; but it's sad that when you see someone dressed up you think, "Oh, they must be going somewhere!" At what point did we decide that a bra (or underwear) was optional? That it was okay to look like you just rolled out of bed when you're actually going for a job interview?

It's such a struggle as parents when we're up against these themes and images, constantly bombarded from all sides, and it continually undermines our authority as parents, in my opinion. In the meantime, I'm glad I know how to sew, because from now on it's pleats and Peter Pan collars, baby!


AtYourCervix said...

I feel the same exact way! Really? What's up with all of the hooker shoes for preschoolers and elementary girls?? The barely there bikinis? The "juicy" and other words written on the tush of the pants? Don't even get me started on Hannah Montana.

Heather Griffith Brewer said...

This is awesome!
Fortunately my daughter was born with a strict sense of personal modesty. I about dropped dead (from laughing) when she told me flat out that she would be "embarrassed" to wear the pink pleather mini and cropped jacket that my SIL gave her for her 8th birthday. Hello!?
I also think that most of the time the Disney prints, and character clothes look "cheap" in poorly made and really tacky.
My friend recently told me that she was beginning to think she was too old (she's around 40) to wear a bikini, and she has the body for it!

The Deranged Housewife said...

AYC, maybe you can appreciate this, working in the healthcare field: I want SO BADLY to walk up to a scantily clad teenager and say, "So, did you know that Hollister is the name of an ostomy supply company? You DO know what an ostomy is, right?"


TracyKM said...

I read a book that was a collection of essays written by women, on being mothers and women. One of the essays was about "chicken backs" being shown--the little pads of meat way down low on the back--by older women who should dress their age, not their dress size.
I have two nieces that were wearing lady's size 9 shoes before they turned 10. I was stunned that those shoes in the picture were KIDS shoes!
Have you heard about the "BoobQuake" theory and day of protest? LOL.

Anonymous said...

This is why I like the school my son goees to, Im only 29 by the way, so younger parents do feel the same way. The boys have to wear a belt, their shirt tucked in, hair and bangs short, the shirts cant have any picture on them, they can be solid color, striped, plaid, whatever they like, just no picture at all. Now if there is a logo on them it has to be 2x2. No shorts. All the boys look sooooo cute! Nicely dressed and no uniform look to them, they all just look like very nice young men.
Now the girls look much too "loud", too much glitter an too much pink. Im not sure why the dress code dosent translate well with them. Maybe because their shirts arent made to be tucked in.

Aoife said...

This is a great post. I have and 18 month old daughter and am ALREADY fighting the battle to keep her from looking like a skanky ho. (for lack of more colorful words) I never had problems finding my son a pair of shorts no matter his waist size... they all still went down to the knee. The shorts for the girls... geez.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I agree with everything. the other day I was flipping through channels and watched a movie with Hillary Duff. Oh my lord, they are teaching the young women today how to be whores and making it sound and look sooooo normal. It's horrible. :(

cathicog said...

And people wonder why some men are becoming attracted to younger and younger girls/children? I so totally agree with what you said, and I am looking for shirtwaist dress patterns online. I'm not ready for "dresses only" but sure would like to send a message to my granddaughters and son that a woman doesn't need to dress like a hooker to be popular and well liked. Class always shows, even with little money, and the lack of it does too!