Thursday, June 24, 2010

Excuse me, miss, I think you left your pants at home.

Despite the fact that I'm almost old enough to be Justin Bieber's (great?) grandmother, I briefly tuned in to watch the Much Music Video Awards on Sunday, June 20th. Not because I really give a crap about this particular award show (or any award show, for the record), but because I was bored, and I'm too lazy to use the treadmill in our basement, and what else am I supposed to do while I'm eating chips? Anyhow, for some unknown reason, this Canadian award show was hosted by Miley Cyrus, a very American pop star, but that's not the point. The point is more about what Miley was wearing or, if you're a cynic like me, what she wasn't wearing. I watched her jump about the stage belting out her "Party in the USA" song (at a Canadian award show, but I digress), wondering what happened to teeny-bopper Hannah Montana? More importantly, what happened to her pants? As in, where were they?

Fast forward two days, and I'm in line at a local store wondering the same thing. No, Miley Cyrus was not in the lineup ahead of me; rather, another teenage girl was, and like Miley, it would appear she had forgotten to put on her pants that morning. I don't even know where to start describing what she was (or wasn't) wearing. I can tell you she was wearing impossibly tall wedges. And a hot pink tank top, with a lacey cardigan thing layered over the tank. I call it a 'cardigan' only to be kind; the same thing, if worn in a bedroom, would likely be called 'lingerie', but whatever it was, it barely covered her bum. I assume she was wearing extremely short shorts under the lacey cardigan thing, not because I saw any actual shorts, but mostly because I just hoped she was wearing them. My immediate thought was "Does her mother know she dresses like that?" That question was easily answered as this young woman was standing alongside her mother (and her grandmother to boot).

When I think back to when I was 17 years old, my perception is that girls our age were dressed more age-appropriate than the 17 year old girls of today. Of course, I spent my teenage years in a small town, it's entirely possible that I lived a sheltered life like the people in Footloose (and how the hell did Kevin Bacon ever get picked for a lead role in a movie about dancing anyway?), and while I was wearing jeans and t-shirts (can you even imagine?), everyone else was wearing hot pants and tube tops (were they?). Did you watch Degrassi Junior high back then? Remember how Stephanie would wear plain clothes to school (like jeans and a t-shirt), then she'd change into her 'sexy' clothes in the school bathroom? It was positively scandalous at the time, however, what was considered 'sexy' then would be considered downright demure next to what seems to be fashionable today. Given the lowriders, thongs, heels, and tank tops that teenage girls sport today, I wonder what will be in vogue when our daughters hit that age.

My oldest, at nine years old, is already pushing me to buy her a pair of 'short shorts' because her friends wear them. Being the mean, apparently prudish mother that I am, the answer to that request is (and always will be) "No". Wardrobe choice is not a new argument around these parts, a few years ago, I was horrified to receive a gift card for Maddy and Hannah (from my own sister, no less) to LaSenza Girl. The girls, on the other hand, were thrilled to bits. We went down to the store to see if we could find anything suitable for the girls to wear, 15 minutes and two distraught daughters later, we left empty-handed. I'm not sure why people think it's acceptable to dress children in mini-versions of adult clothing, but it's not something I'm going to allow, let alone encourage. Judging from my daughters' occassional moans & groans, you'd think I was enforcing a wardrobe of turtlenecks and culottes, however, I just want our little girls to look like little girls.

My daughters watched a portion of a rerun of the MMVA show this morning (that is until mean old mommy spoiled their fun), when they saw Miley Cyrus they commented on her choice of clothing (or lack thereof). We had a discussion about how she's still a kid, and it's not appropriate (or comfortable) to dress 'like that'. I think it's unfortunate that Miley Cyrus' parents don't sit her down to have the same conversation, however, I suppose that's none of my business. I don't think it's wrong to treat children like they're children -- there's plenty of time for them to behave like adults when they're actually old enough to be adults. Although I'm not going to lie, even now that I'm an adult, the likelihood of me prancing around in a lacey cardigan thing layered over a hot pink tank top while I may or may not be wearing extremely short shorts is less than slim to none!


  1. the sexualization of little girls is upsetting and it creates an atmosphere where they feel they need to emulate this sexiness in order to define their space (all those videos of dancing to all the single ladies - yikes). this starts so young and continues on in life.

    it isn't new. my neice is about to graduate grade 8. since she has been a toddler, my sister has been on a nonstop quest to find non-lowrise jeans, one piece bathing suits and shirts that cover her belly button. why is this such a hard thing to do! how can a girl play if she is going to be concerned about her clothes falling down lower or riding up higher?

    the mother of a toddler at my son's daycare dresses her daughter in shorts and tshirts from the boys section, for this same reason. my son's clothes - even at 2 - are designed long and loose. they give him lots of room to play, fall and not expose a lot of tender skin.

  2. I've never been more happy to be the mother of three boys.

  3. Hear Hear! When I found out that Milo was a boy, I was sad at first. Then I realized that all I have to buy is a drawer full of tshirts, some jeans and hoodies and a bunch of sneakers. That made me feel better. :)

  4. When my first was 18months old and I was looking for a swimsuit for her I remember think 'My baby does NOT need a gold lamee string bikini!!!!!'

    We like Landsend especially for girls clothing.

  5. I'll be in my late forties, early fifties when my girls are teenagers. I plan to wear the same style clothes as they do, and pick them up from school wearing them, to show them the signals they are sending. If their friends go "Ewww, look at that," it'll really send the message home that no-one should dress that way. My cellulite should be well developed by then and my breasts really long and saggy. who wants to see that in short shorts and a tubetop (other than my husband;)

  6. OMG I love that strategy! LOL! Excellant! Mom of 3 boys over here and although I have always wished for a girl (to enter in to dance classes, braid her hair, paint her nails etc...) I am almost positive I would regret that wish come the teenage years because what is happening. My neighbour has a daughter the same age as my son and comparing her 5T jeans to my son's 5T is insane. I can't believe the difference tightness and rise. The same goes for her tops. Needless to say my son is still sporting his 5T while our neighbour is shopping from the 7/8 section and doing minor (or serious) alterations.

  7. Short-shorts are my pet peeve of the moment too! One simply cannot find decent length shorts this season. Here is my little rant on the subject:

    p.s. I like Jujubean's strategy too! Ingenius.

  8. My Mom's a teacher, and she told her class that if she saw anymore thongs poking above their pants, that they'd see her sporting a thong the next day... and nobody wants to see that!

    My daughter is only 7 months old, so I figure I should have enough time to practice my sewing and make her clothes myself!