Saturday, November 7, 2015

What's So Bad About Just Wearing Leggings?

Friday night, here in SoCal was pretty cold. Cold enough, that I wanted Bunny to wear more than just her soccer shorts to her Friday night practice. Her one pair of sweatpants, like many of her clothes, were suddenly too short after a 4 inch growth spurt over the summer. After much back and forth, we decided on a pair of lined leggings. The thing is, along with height, my beautiful 9 year old has developed hips, curves and legs for miles. And her tight fitting leggings were only emphasizing all these changes.  So, I was a bit uncomfortable with her wearing just the leggings to practice.

I asked her to put some shorts on over the leggings. And, not unusual for her, she pushed back. She did NOT want to wear shorts over the top. She didn't need two layers, she insisted. It was uncomfortable and she didn't like it. And quite frankly, her complaints while likely true, weren't doing much to sway me until she glared at me, hands on newly blossomed hips and asked "What is so bad about just wearing leggings?!?"

I am not one of those parents or people who believe a woman wearing provocative clothes deserves what she gets. I am also not one of those parents who thinks girls should be sent home because a bra strap showing in school is somehow too provocative and distracting to male students. I am however the kind of parent who thinks girls should be sent home from school for wearing shirts that are too tight, skirts that are too short, or outfits that are too revealing not because they are too distracting to the boys in school, but because it isn't appropriate for a learning environment. It's a school, not a bar.

And I equally believe guys should be sent home for wearing their jeans around their knees to show off their underwear. Not because poor weak woman just can't control themselves around this kind of peacock display of maleness, but because it doesn't belong I'm school. Save those outfits for date nights and hanging out with your friends.  I think girls can wear whatever they and their parents are okay with and women can wear whatever they want.

So, why did these leggings make me so uncomfortable? Because, we have not yet gotten to the point as a society where we've taught the majority of our young men that girls are not objects. And I didn't want my daughter at the tender age of 9 to have to deal with being objectified, or to have to fend off any unwanted attention.  Because while her body is growing these beautiful and natural womanly curves, she's still only 9. And it's my job as her parent to not only protect her, but to teach her how to protect herself from inappropriate behaviors of the opposite sex.

My daughter should be able to wear whatever she wants damnit!  But I feel compelled to teach her to be conservative in her choices until she's better equipped to handle the consequences.  I feel so sad by having to make this choice. And I am more profoundly affected by this than I thought I'd be when the conversation started.

I will say, I let her wear just the leggings on Friday night. The girls practiced soccer, did cartwheels, giggled, made up songs and generally enjoyed just being kids completely unaware of my concerns. It was wonderful.

And then today, I bought her sweatpants.

Seriously... Thoughts?

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