DYNAR I don’t get judged as a bad parent though because she doesn’t want to choose skimpy stuff yet, it’s coming I am sure.
Reading this part of your reply I think really put into words what infuriated me so much early in this thread. That I know I’m being judged for the way my girls dress, even though it’s not how I’d like them to dress, because I give them some autonomy in it.
My mum was the person who was appearance and fashion conscious. I was the girl who was wearing the boys clothes, had short hair, led the pants-rebellion at my school that only had skirts as school uniform, the one who rarely wears skirts now and has literally never worn a short one, who doesn’t wear makeup, doesn’t shave my underarms. Because it shits me that that stuff is expected of females. And I don’t even wear shorts myself, because I’m a complete prude.
And I’m the parent who dressed my baby girl in a black onesie (and actually didn’t dress DS in one as he was a spewer and it showed up!) and unisex clothes all the way through till she started forcing a say. The parent who bought silver pumps for DS when he wanted them, and sent him to daycare in a pettiskirt when he wanted to, because I honestly do not want my kids clothing decided by their gender. The one who bought pants for my girls as school uniform even though they didn’t want them, because they were more practical and I hoped they’d wear them, and who tried to drum up interest in the P&C about a unisex school uniform. And encouraged my girls to wear the boys shorts if they wanted.
So… NOT the parent to encourage either gendered clothing or sexualised clothing.
And yet… because my children are exposed to people at daycare telling the girls how pretty they are when they wear a dress - but acting surprised if DS does - and because my girls see all their friends and the ‘fashionable’ kids on TV wearing short shorts - and girls being fussed over for their appearance - and see the pink lego and scanty clothes that are marked for them in the ‘girls’ section of kmart - because all the girls around them at school wear the impractical dress - because of the fact that society is completely stuffed - I am going to cop the ‘bad parent’ judgement. The ‘why do parents put up with this’ judgement. Because I’m willing to pick my battles with my children, and allow short shorts so that I can veto short skirts or kid shoes with heels, who allows a midriff rashie so that at least her shoulders will be covered, allows a longish cropped shirt so that at least the child will stop grumbling about not liking a single item of her clothing, etc etc. Because I’m not going to fight my children on every single item of clothing that the world is trying to market to them that they therefore learn will earn them the acceptance and approval of others, and that becomes their own taste and self expression because they have not grown up in a vacuum. I’m not going to only buy clothes they don’t feel good in. And I’m not going to demonstrate my feminism by policing their choices about their own clothing while they watch their brother wear what he wants (because of course what is marketed to him is fine).
I have already copped it IRL. I have copped the holier than though from someone whose tween likes baggy clothes because mine doesn’t. Apparently respecting your child’s taste in clothing is only being a good parent if your child likes the right type of clothing. Believe me, I would LOVE it if my girls wanted to dress like I did as a kid. But they don’t. They are their own little people, just as I was when my mum wished I was MORE girly and MORE fashionable. I can either convey that I accept them as they are and respect their self expression while trying to gently curb the worst excesses of it (pick my battles), or I can be just the first of a long line of people who will tell them what they can do with their body and their clothing. And… somewhat ironically… it’s the latter one that will bring me the most judgement.