preteen girls and skimpy clothes

Kathy - posted on 10/04/2012 ( 80 moms have responded )

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What do you think of pre-teen girls wearing skimpy clothes?



Lets define pre-teens for this post as between 9-15, old enough to make their own clothing choices, but young enough that they are not "women"

I don't really want to discuss toddlers in tiaras or a 19 year old in thigh high boots……



I have really mixed feeling on seeing girls/young teens in skimpy clothes.



On one hand:

-it is their body and they can dress how they want

-no one should judge them or how they dress, and if boys or men (eww….) are distracted or turned on by how they dress, that is not on the girls, that is the boys/mens issue.

-I do not for one minute think how a woman dresses causes or excuses any sexually aggressive behaviour.



On the other hand:

I don't think we need to be ashamed (at all!) of our bodies - but I do think modesty is a good virtue. When it is hot out, I dress in less clothes, when I dress up for a party, etc, I might accentuate a few attributes ;) but as general rule, I do not run around in skimpy clothes. I want attention for my brains and charm - not my looks, you know? Most preteens I know who dress really skimpily do seem to be looking for love in all the wrong places. I am more than a body - young girls are more than a body - so deliberately dressing in a way that makes them come across as being mostly about "bodies" bugs me a bit.



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Claire - posted on 10/15/2012

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I honestly dont think that they should be wearing shorts and skirts that their asses are hanging out of and shirts that everyone can see down all the time. I think it invites bad attention and intentions by others. I remember when I was in HS they didnt allow us to wear those kind of clothes, so I am wondering how these kids are getting away with it now

Sascha - posted on 10/15/2012

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No way, you're the parent and you need to take the reigns and put your foot down. No skimpy clothes while they live under your roof!

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/15/2012

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It was a Doc Zone documentary on TV. I have most of it saved on my PVR, so will try to remember to look it up at some point to see if I can get more info.

Sally - posted on 10/15/2012

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Getting drunk around a bunch of drunk immature guys while dressed like a streetwalker shouldn't get you raped in a perfect world, but we have to live in reality. Men are biologically designed to become aroused by seeing women. Women have been taught for millennia to use that power to control men. Alcohol, drugs, and immaturity make both those factors even harder for either gender to control. Add the current cultural push that no one should have to face any consequences for unwise sexual choices and I'm surprised there are as few rapes as there are. Thousands of years of species survival don't sit down and shut up because a few decades of social conditioning tell them to.

I value my daughters enough to help them be what a good man wants in a wife instead of following the current fad to be what a silly boy wants in a playmate.

Sally - posted on 10/15/2012

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When we constantly push the idea that it's "empowering" to show off our bodies, what do we expect kids to think?

Dressing like a slut is NOT "empowering"; it's stupid and immature. I'm hopefully raising my daughters to value their personhood enough to not think they have to show off their bodies to be powerful.

Aleks - posted on 10/15/2012

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Fit2BMe Fit2BMe



Could you please name that documentary you are referring to. I have not commented here before, but have been interested in this debate so have been following the comments made. And I have a strong interest in finding and watching that documentary. It sounds extremely interesting. I must say that I agree with what you have tried to convey here quite strongly about this topic.

Dove - posted on 10/14/2012

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No, it shouldn't equal that, but preteen/young teen boys typically only think with one part of their body. It is NEVER the fault of a person's clothes (or lack thereof) if they become a victim of a sexual crime, but girls who are ALSO young and hormonal need to be aware that the clothes they wear may prompt those boys to start coming on to them and potentially pressure them into making a decision that neither child is equipped to handle. Sure, the attention is nice and may make them feel pretty or loved or whatever, but... it's too easy for it to go too far too fast.



It's not just about the clothes. Not even close, but clothes very much CAN be one of the steps that leads to disaster at such a young age. It's the snowball effect that my best friend and I talked very extensively about with my young ones just last week....

Kathy - posted on 10/14/2012

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Fit2BeME….



You can bow out (obviously) if you want. I don't think the topic is too personal or sensitive to me. I don't think one response equals that conclusions……This is a debate forum - things can get a little heated. Sorry if I came across a little snarky, though.



If I put it in different terms, I guess I simply disagree with the statement I quoted. Wearing skimpy clothes does not equate to (and people should not assume) being ready and wanting consensual sex

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/14/2012

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Nope. That's actually not what I'm saying at all. That is certainly projecting a lot of "extra load" into a statement someone else makes, which tells me that perhaps this may be feeling a little too personal and sensitive for you.

There was never any mention of victims, or blaming them. That is something entirely different altogether.

Because this is clearly starting to get a little heated for one or both of you, I choose to bow out.

Ultimately, raise your kids as you will. That is the prerogative of a parent, after all. ;)

Kathy - posted on 10/14/2012

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"If they aren't old enough for consensual sex, they shouldn't be allowed or encouraged to dress like they're ready for it and wanting it." FIT2BEME.



This sounds a bit blame the victum-y to me. Women should be able to dress however they want without having to worry about coming across as "ready and available for sex" Good grief. You know how you will know if I want sex? I will tell you! Clothes are clothes - and no one should assume a scantily dressed woman or teen walking down the street is "asking for it." I hope I am reading you incorrectly.

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/14/2012

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One of the things mentioned in that documentary is how it looks like these girls are aware and I fired sexually, however they aren't. They know HOW to get boys attention, HOW to please boys, HOW to act sexualized etc. however many of them haven't got a clue how they themselves should feel, how to actually physically enjoy sex themselves, how to prevent pregnancy etc. Its somewhat akin to "babies who can read" yet have no real concept of what the words mean, what they are doing, or having a clue about phonics and grammar.

These young girls know how to send out a message and get the deed done, but don't get the ramifications of their actions, the dangers, how to protect themselves or navigate healthily in an over-sexualized culture. They just know, as this documentary professional stated, that they have to "be f-able or be invisible" and NO pre-teen/teen girl can handle being invisible. It's a mothers job to teach and protect her kids, and help keep them safe until they truly understand how to do that themselves. If they aren't old enough for consensual sex, they shouldn't be allowed or encouraged to dress like they're ready for it and wanting it.

Dove - posted on 10/14/2012

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Preteen/young teen girls here are getting pregnant and having babies. I think they VERY much need to be aware of sexuality and how they portray themselves... and have oodles and oodles of sex ed knowledge, supervision, and information about how to make WISE choices with their lives... and the earlier the better.



If your preteen is NOT full aware of sexuality/how they may or may not be portraying themselves.... you would be doing them a disservice here.



And no, I'm not saying the clothes they wear are going to make or break the decision to have sex, but when my child comes home and tells me about a 13 year old girl in the 8th grade that just had a baby.... you'd better believe I'm going to do everything in MY power to make sure that's not my kid. And pray like crazy for the rest.

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/14/2012

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This raises a good point in defining what one considers "skimpy". I have seen plenty of girls and women in spaghetti straps where it has not seemed inappropriate, and several where it has. If its spaghetti straps on a super tight half see-through shirt, especially with a bra underneath that either pushes cleavage up over top, or one that is thin and reveals the nipple shape... Well, seriously. Why bother at that point?!

The very short shorts that show the gluteal fold, the very short skirts, the very tight outfits that necessitate special underwear. The combination of a strapless tight top with very short shorts, particularly when a mod drift is shown....

However there is no black and white, as "skimpy" is revealed in other ways also. A child's behaviour can accentuate it or not.

My question is, while parents are the ones still buying the clothes, why are they buying this for their young girls? In many cases, it is the parents intentionally choosing this type of clothing over something less questionable.



My theory is that women want their daughters to have a leg up socially. Sons too for that matter. We try to dress our kids in trendy and cool clothing, however in doing so may be unwittingly getting sucked into that vortex ourselves--forgetting critical thinking and going with trends. And while initially girls may not associate it, on a conscious level, with sexuality or any of that, they can be picking up other messages: the importance of keeping up with fashion, the importance of going with the crowd, that mom is ok with ok with it. If one parent dressed and undeveloped or yet developing girl in these clothes, to suddenly start to ask questions once she has hips and breasts becomes hypocritical and confusing.

To

Not question it at all communicates approval and "no issues or questions". It's not to say that parents need "demand" anything. As with all aspects of parenting, this isn't about control and punitive approach, its about communicating, teaching, and open dialogue.



I will also say, I see a LOT of parent who parent fear, so afraid of rebellion or losing their kids that they become permissive. Sadly though, what I learned in working with teens, was how quickly kids saw through that and both learned to manipulate it and take advantage of it, as well as how insecure it made them feel. When everything else is confusing and out of control in the teen years, it was astounding how many teens were able to actually verbalize that what they needed was a mom who cared and put boundaries on them so they wouldn't be able to screw up so badly and lose everything. A lot of teens who had been in some troubling situations, though from good families, became very disappointed by parents who did not step in and speak up more and parent more.

That's from the mouths of babes, not my own.



Its a tough job, a very difficult and delicate balance I'm sure. We should never be afraid to parent, however, and always think about what messages we may be sending in both our actions as well as our inactions.

Laura - posted on 10/13/2012

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Thank you Kathy, I think you said what I was trying to say better than I did. Projecting that perception of sexuality onto a child by telling them they can't wear something revealing is going to make them more aware of being seen as a sexual object than they were. I'm not thinking about extreme stuff that a girl might wear only to attract attention, but of regular clothes that happen to be revealing that a girl wears because they are stylish and cute.

My girl is not yet a preteen, but I remember what it was like to be a preteen.

Karla - posted on 10/13/2012

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I'm not a fan of skimpy clothing for anyone.

The thing about skimpy clothing is that they are not worn for comfort or daily living but rather to attract attention and to be sexy. That's a bit premature for a pre-teen child. IMO

Kathy - posted on 10/13/2012

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"Laura Justice, do you HAVE a preteen girl? Just curious here. " DOVE



I am not Laura - but her response does not surprise me. I see lots of preteens and young teens wearing skimpy clothing. Obviously their parents are OK with (at least on some level) or it would not happen. I don't see them posting here, but they are out there.



I am not totally convinced we need to crack down on all skimpy clothes. Sometimes I think it can backfire. My 9 year old wears spaghetti straps. There is nothing a sexual about it. If I make her change because I have issues with it, I am projecting/sexualising something that was fairly innocent.



In some ways it is a difficult topic to write about - it almost has to be visualized. I can often look at a person and figure out if they are dressing for themselves or if they are dressing in a way that is objectifying. Dressing to please yourself - even if it is spaghetti straps? Cool. Dressing in a way that objectifies yourself? Not so cool.

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/13/2012

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Very true that people mistakingly confuse modesty with shame, and also mistakingly mistake sexual provocativeness with empowerment. It's backward thinking.

Taking it to the extreme, has one ever honestly felt that a stripper or prostitute had more pride and higher self esteem than the average woman? I'm pretty sure most of us can agree that's likely not the case--hence the addictions these girls often have and need I help them cope.



Also, modesty comes in varying degrees. It does not have to mean covered head to toe as some cultures do, or even neck to ankle or elbow to knee.



A philosopher (C.S. Lewis--tho I forget which essay of his it was in) once wrote, (and I very softly quote) I am not my body, I have a body. You have are a soul/a person, you have a body. The difference is an important one as it relates to many aspects of life.



How one dresses and acts communicates something about them. We teach our children to act respectfully for this reason, as we want them to experience success in life. Does teaching them how to dress respectfully not naturally fall in line with that also?



I often say to kids: If you walk around swearing, yelling, speaking rudely to people, and showing off, you will get a reputation that harms you more than it helps you. Even if its not representative of who you are. Likewise how you dress has this impact.

Dove - posted on 10/13/2012

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Laura Justice, do you HAVE a preteen girl? Just curious here.



Our job as parents is to TEACH our children what is acceptable and what is not. True modesty has absolutely nothing to do with shame and everything to do with respect.

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/13/2012

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The other night there was a documentary on talking about young girls and sexuality, getting into this very topic. Wish everyone had been able to see it. Very concerning. It spoke of how from a young age girls are taught by media and Disney even, the importance of being pretty and beautiful. There is so much value put on that with the "princess" themes being so strong. Then as girls get a bit older they move into Bratz dolls and all the rest, which are more skimpier clad. Girls don't lose that teaching of "be the most beautiful princess", it just shifts. Gradually, to be the most pretty, they learn/realize this means being the most sexy.

Of course that's an over-simplified representation of this documentary's thesis, and I am not doing it justice at all. However, it was alarming to see. They showed how girls, more and more, are playing up the porn-star imagine and being pressured to do so. How many girls in highschool, now, have anal sex a part of their relationships. Also how prevalent sexting is (taking naked pictures of yourself and sending them over text.). When polled, girls stated they did this to get the boys attention. They talked about how boys are impacted also, with pornographic images in their faces so much that they themselves develop very unrealistic ideas of sexuality and relationships.

That point was made that while one might be tempted to say this is empowering women sexually, its actually exactly the opposite as the themes are on pleasing HIM, attracting HIM, and even dumbing yourself down in order to live life In the moment and take risks and just enjoy those carnal pleasures. It touched on a study of how girls' anxiety and depression and self esteem issues are on a concerning upward trend.



It all have me a lot to think about as a parent. Firstly, I was so thankful I was not raising girls. Secondly, it showed me where I need to be involved and careful in helping to guide my boys in their thinking. Thirdly, it made me realize how innocent but continuous statements of beauty etc. can be damaging. We learned in social work practice how constantly praising a child for their achievement and/or for being smart was actually counter-intuitive as they become performance oriented and develop a fear of failure. However, praising effort and character accentuates those virtues instead. So likewise with beauty. While its fine to tell girls they are beautiful once in a while, accentuating it actually risks setting them up for disaster. Again, over-simplified, however you catch my drift.



I personally believe you can teach a girl to have pride in their body, not shame, and respect for their own sexuality. I do not believe that wearing sexualized clothing and acting provocatively does this. It seems to me, that all that teaches girls is that other people's opinions of their bodies, dressing up and acting up and performing for others, is what determines their value or not.

Laura - posted on 10/13/2012

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I see no issue with it. The first hand of your post says it very well. I don't believe in modesty. To me that is the same as teaching that the body is shameful. Its true that some clothes the girls are wearing may reflect that they are looking for the wrong kind of attention but that is just part of the being that age. They will learn, as we all do. If they are comfortable wearing revealing clothes, then let them. Big deal.

Kathy - posted on 10/10/2012

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My daughter is 11 but looks 13 or 14 because she is definitely in the middle of puberty. The rules in our house are as follows...if you are wearing a spaghetti strap tank top, you must be wearing long/loose shorts, if you are wearing shorter shorts, you must have sleeves. Every outfit must be approved by me before she leaves the house, but she has a pretty good handle on what will be allowed and what's not. ISOBEL



OT - but I live by this adage as well, so does my older daughter (almost 14) Wearing one tight or skimpy thing? Sure. It can be dressy and even sexy in a good way. Head to toe skimpy and or tight just looks sleezy. My 2 cents.

Isobel - posted on 10/10/2012

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My daughter is 11 but looks 13 or 14 because she is definitely in the middle of puberty. The rules in our house are as follows...if you are wearing a spaghetti strap tank top, you must be wearing long/loose shorts, if you are wearing shorter shorts, you must have sleeves. Every outfit must be approved by me before she leaves the house, but she has a pretty good handle on what will be allowed and what's not.



I HOPE that finding a happy medium between giving her complete freedom to dress as inappropriately as she wants (because she really doesn't understand the ramifications of projecting a particular image to the public) and keeping her in a burka will keep an open line of communication as she grows up.

Cass - posted on 10/09/2012

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I'm going to be honest and straight up with this topic - I feel sick to my stomach when I see little girls wearing practically nothing; who in their mind, believe its gain respect from men. It isn't gaining respect, its turning into a sex object. ESPECIALLY in a world where creeps walk among us regularly. A 9-12 year old girl should never be craving a raunchy look or acceptance in that sort of way...9-12?!?!?!?! No way! Mother's need to stand up and educate their child about respecting themselves sexually. A lot of this enabling spawns from the whole fear of discussing the sexuality. Well, discuss it - bottom line. Its a normal part of life, and its best to educate girls at an early age before they become too stubborn in that "know-it-all" age, and end up drawing an abusive manipulative man into their life - because that's the inevitable result. I don't support the overly sexually exploiting clothes for kids - never. A normal tank top and shorts at least half way between bum and knees is perfectly fine. At an older age, sure you're aloud to do whatever you want obviously, but not kids. And I agree with what was previously said - I don't look down on the kids, its the parents that should be ashamed.

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/09/2012

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This subject actually makes my husband crazy. Forget pre-teens, ANY girl in skimpy clothing really upsets him. Particularly when the parents are buying it for their kids or allowing it. His thing is to say that it sends kids message that parents are ok with this, and sends the world a message too.

I agree with him, tho probably don't get quite as upset by it. Good thing we have boys and don't have to deal with this nonsense!

Sherri - posted on 10/07/2012

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I think young ladies too young before the age of 15. By 15-16yrs old yup I am more okay with it.



Short short shorts that show butt checks - nope

Shirts that show mid drift - nope

Prostitute skirts and dresses - Nope



At any age:

Spaghetti straps - Fine

Bikinis - Fine

Momma - posted on 10/06/2012

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I do not allow my 14 year old to wear skimpy clothing. She does get a say in her clothing - we go out together to purchase her clothes. I have always taught her that her body is hers and others should not be able to see it. I have also always taught her that males associate that type of clothing in a negative manner and she has something that is should not be left for all to see. I have also taught her that there are weirdos out there and skimpy clothing can get her into a place she does not want to be. Needless to say, she has never been into skimpy clothes.



I do allow her to wear spaghetti strap shirts in the summer and I just started allowing her to wear a bikini top for swimming (about a year ago), she chooses swimming shorts, though.



I have never been a provocative dresser, either and I think kids (girls) often learn from their parents. The way I look at it is, kids 15 and under still need their parents to PAY for their clothing, so they do have a say and they should NOT be allowing their daughter to run around looking like a, well, you know....



I also disagree that a girl that dresses provocative gets treated better. They may get more eyes from the boys but the other girls tend to call them sluts and talk/laugh behind their backs. ;) As a young girl, you typically want more girls to like you, than boys....



~Meme

Jennifer - posted on 10/05/2012

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My 11 year old has friends who push the boundries with their dress......so I've seen it, all of it!! She and I have talked about it. The day she thought she was gonna go to the park in a bikini top and shorts, well, I yelled about it! I hate that it is an issue. First because to explain why she can't dress like that, I have to explain why, which brings up sex, and not loving wholesome relationships, but the other part of it. Secondly, it makes it appear that I look down on her friends. I don't look down on her friends, but I do look down on some of their mothers!! A 10 to 12 year old girl should not be allowed to dress like that!! And Third, my daughter already knows that the girls who dress like that get "treated better"! She was on a basketball team where one 12 year old dressed pretty sleezy, and she already had a nice figure. Guess who got the most play time, extra coaching, and never got yelled at?



My daughter does not really have an inclination to dress overly sexy, in fact, her taste still run to little girl cutesy, but she does want to fit in. I try to avoid stores that sell crazy stuff to pre-teens, but that stuff is everywhere now. I also could not find anything but string bikinis in her size this year!! She wears a 7-8!! I want to blame TV, the fashion industry, movies, and the stores that sell this smut, but reality is, if we mothers do not stand up and demand better choices, we are to blame. I'm sick of shopping in the boys section for my three daughters because the shorts in girls section don't cover their cracks! I let the stores management know why I take my business elsewhere. I wish every one did.........



One last thought, my 11 year old doesn't even have a hint of 'filling out' yet. My husband thought nothing of her dressing too sexy, because 'she's a baby' and not sexy. Well, I had him sit down and watch a fashion show. Those women were all built like 10 year olds! He sings a different tune now!!

Lacye - posted on 10/04/2012

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Not in my house! Yes it is their body but it's my house and my rules. I don't care what age they are, they are going to dress properly. And I don't mean covered head to toe because let's face it, here in the Southern US it can get pretty freaking hot and humid. I just mean that everything has to be covered with no chance of peek a boos. Shorts will be at a decent length. If I don't like an outfit that my daughter has on, she will not be leaving the house in it.

Dove - posted on 10/04/2012

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Pre-teen is 9-12... once they hit 13 it's just teen. ;)



My take is absolutely not. It IS their body, but I am responsible for that body at least until the day they turn 18 and I will not have them going around in clothes so short you can see their butt cheeks (yes, I saw a pre-teen's butt cheeks recently... gross... and she had the attitude to go with it). My guideline is that if the bottoms aren't appropriate for school.... they aren't appropriate. No off the shoulder shirts. Tank tops and regular t-shirts are fine.

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modesty is beautiful. i don't mean cover every inch of yourself like i did in junior high and high school, but wear a tank top that falls to your hips with actual straps instead of these string things like the one i'm currently wearing (hahahaah except i'm at home and my kids don't care) and don't wear shorts that could be mistaken for panties. gosh.



i think that's simple enough, right? that's not too modest, is it? i personally don't ever wear shorts. they have to be capris or longer. and my tank tops, i wear them a lot but i always wear something over them so yeah...



and exactly, girls and women should want attention for their brains and charm, not just looks. i don't think it's wrong to accentuate your good looks, but that shouldn't be the only thing you focus on. parents should teach that to their kids. both girls AND boys.

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