Yesterday, while Elizabeth and I were cooking something, or cleaning something, or doing whatever it is that we end up doing together in the kitchen of an evening, Elizabeth shared with me this story:
Elizabeth: The girls at my school wear shorts that are so short! They come up to here! (Hands held hardly lower than the hips). Today, on the bus, this girl got on in a little short skirt and then she took it off and underneath it were even shorter shorts. When she took off her skirt, she said that her friend would be mad at her because she forgot to bring a pair of the shorts for her, too. I don't think that her parents let her wear those shorts to school.
Me: Well, what do you think about that? (I was interested what her take was on the deceiving the parents, but she went somewhere else with it)
Elizabeth: I think it's pretty stupid. I mean, if the kids aren't allowed to wear clothes to school, then why do their parents buy them? If the parents don't think that they should wear them in public, then why get them at all?
To me, that was a very interesting question, and one that begs an answer.
Why do people buy those clothes for their children? I'll tell you one reason:
That's all that you can find out there!
Jimmy and I went to Target to pick something up and they had the swimsuits out(yeah, I know! Already!). I know that Elizabeth will need a new one for this year, so we stepped into that section to look for one. There was NOTHING but little tiny bikinis. Nothing unless you count the few suits they sell in larger sizes that were pretty hideous. (And to me, that alone is a problem. Hide what society labels as 'ugly fat people' (which they're NOT!) and put the 'skinny pretty people' out on display half-naked! So WRONG!) So, we can chose to put Elizabeth in a tent, or we can chose to try to cover her parts with tiny triangles.
Who designs these things, anyway!
Society has made our children into sex objects. This, of course does not happen overnight. It takes time. No one is one day going to wake up and say, Yeah! It's a good idea for my child to wear pants that are stuck on them like they are painted. Or, Yay! Those shorts are so short that when you sit down it looks like you aren't wearing anything at all! It all has to happen over time.
And this is how it's been done:
For those of you who have children who are older now, take a trip into the toddler department. Check out the short, shirts and swimsuits there. Yes, you may find a few cute one-piece suits, but I can guarantee you that you will see lots of little bikinis, short so small that they don't even HAVE an inseam, and halter tops.
So, our kids get used to dressing like that when they are little. It's cute then. Their little tummies sticking out and the chubby little legs out the bottom of the shorts.
But they don't stay little and when they are grown, they are accustomed to wearing clothes like that and we are programmed to buy them because that is what the market shows us.
I have the hardest time buying clothes for Elizabeth. Jimmy and I both decided that she would not wear skinny jeans. Besides the fact that they look ridiculous on Elizabeth because of her wonderful soccer playing feet, we also feel that it is inappropriate to be wearing pants that look like an extra layer of skin. For the longest time, we couldn't find ANYTHING that was not a skinny something. Jeans. Cords. Khakis. Everything was skinny. But then we started to see 'regular' jeans. But checking the label, it says Super Low or Way Too Low or something like that. So great. She can cover her legs at the cost of exposing her undergarments. Now THAT makes sense. Yes, our sons can study well and pay attention in school when the girl in front of him is sitting there either in skin tight pants or exposing her underwear (and they sell thongs for kids sizes, too!!!).
Now don't get me wrong. I used to dress that way. I never liked skinny jeans, but I wore my share of belly exposing shirts and tiny bikinis. But now that Elizabeth is of an age, I see things totally differently.
Perhaps I have my hormone-tinted glasses on. Jimmy and I are not so far removed from the teenage scene that we can't remember it vividly. So can Jimmy. He knows what he thought about in those days.
No, Elizabeth. You can't wear that.
I don't care what everyone else is wearing.
Put a shirt on under that. It's too low in the front.
And, yes, Elizabeth is a little weird in her school.
But honestly, I would be concerned if she was not.
And true to her style, she takes it in stride, makes the best of it and
Comes out on top...looking sharp, looking athletic and being her own silly, sporty, smart beautiful self. She gets attention not for the clothes she wears, but for who she is and how she is strong enough to stand up for what she believes is right. Whether it's because she actually agrees with us, or whether it's because she knows it's right to respect and obey her parents.
Now...for the wise words from Elizabeth:
In that same evening, I told Elizabeth that I was proud of her and that I thought that she was brave to be different and that both Jimmy and I thought that she was a good girl and that our rules were not punishments but rather limits placed out of love and concern for her.
Her answer was:
Yeah. You don't really have to worry too much about me. I study hard and get good grades because I want to and because I want to be better than ***** because you always ask me about the grades she gets. And I have no interest in getting into drugs or anything. They are gross and stupid. Besides, I don't want to do all that stupid stuff and then later be like 'oh! I can't believe that I wasted so much of my life blah blah blah' and then get interviewed and show up in a movie for middle-schoolers to keep them out of drugs.
Oh, and when I see girls dressed in those tiny clothes, I think they must be cold.
That's my girl!