Ava Grace's Closet: Let Girls be Girls

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let Girls be Girls

I know I shouldn't care. Look to my own children and worry about them only.
Not judge.
But I do.
I can't help it.
When I see a 12 or 13 year old girl who I've mistaken for a 19 year old? I have a hard time swallowing it.

Who is allowing it?
Their mothers. Mostly.
Beautifying them. In their eyes. 
I guess.
Taking their confidence away. In my eyes.
Making them feel not good enough as they are.

We forget sometimes that a 13 year old is a child.
Not a woman.
Colored hair. Highlights. 
Too much make up.
Inappropriate clothing.
I'm no prude. But woah. 
Some of it is so wrong.
Almost at any age.
But definitely at 13.

I want for my daughter's to be children for as long as they can.
I tell my Isabella that almost daily.
That she will never be as beautiful as she is right now.
That she will never get the chance to be a kid again.
I get that they grow up.
Want to fit in.
I totally get that.
But fitting in at what expense?

Make no mistake.
We live in a very nice neighborhood.
Many run their own businesses.
Work for large corporations.
Seemingly intelligent.
What is wrong with these people?

I feel like calling some of these mothers.
I contemplated anonymous notes.
Dear mother of....,
I saw your daughter the other day.
Why are you doing this to her?
Teaching her that how she looks naturally is not enough.
You would be prettier if you color your hair.
You would be prettier if you were taller. Wear these.
You would be prettier if you covered up that skin. Put this on.
You would be prettier if...
Where does it stop?
Take a good hard look in the mirror.
We're the girls these girls look up to.
We're the girls who should teach them how beautiful they are.
Just the way they are.
Shame on you.
Signed,
A Mother

Too harsh?
I posted pictures of Isabella last week and received this comment :
"Truly stunning and (I hope that you don't mind me saying this) but I love that their (her) clothes are really age-appropriate".
It was the inspiration for this post.
I'm trying.
Lord knows, it's already a struggle to measure up to the standards society puts out there.
Why do it to our own girls?

33 comments :

  1. Good Morning My Friend!! Oh I'm so on that soap box with you! ... Yes, children should be ALLOWED to be children. Especially girls... too quickly they will be bombarded with marketing images "of how to look" minus the fact that photoshop is not a real life thing ... it's photo editing.

    There is also a flip side of going over board and making these young girls feel bad about themselves. I've seen some young girls dressed in what amounts to old play clothes ~ too short pants, always is sweats .. frumpy looking, this too will impact how many will dress themselves in the future.

    In both cases I feel (in my opinion) that the mothers are either trying to live through their daughters "I" only buy name brand, "she" is the best dressed in her group (never mind that the daughter looks years older than her peers) or that they take the approach "I" didn't have stylish clothes growing up - so "she" doesn't need them either.

    It must be difficult to be a mother in these days, trying to find the right balance of not too much nor too little. I think you have the right words ... They are children and a 13 year old is a child. Let's take a look at when we were 16 or 18 or 20 for that matter ... and how often do we say "gosh if I only knew then what I know now". These little girls will grow up to be teenagers, young ladies, and women fast enough... Great post!!

    Isabella and Ava are very blessed girls to have a mother who has learned balanced ... they will continue to look like fashionistas BUT NOT at the expense of their childhood. I would love to see a how to book by Isabella and Ava ... for dressing age appropriate is more COOL than trying to look like a Mommy all grown up.

    Great post, Hugs C. (HHL)

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    1. Thanks friend. It is hard. I feel I'm saying no more so than I'm saying yes. Somehow, so far, my daughter is ok with it. Respect is hard thing to earn back once you've lost it y'know.
      Hugs!

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  2. Yes, I have a 12 year old, first year in junior high and we live in the same type of area... it's a hard age and they do so want to "fit in". I go with my gut and try to let her take the lead with my guidance. She really doesn't want to wear much make-up yet, which I love. I try to show her how to wear what she does wear very naturally... lip gloss and clear mascara makes her perfectly happy. Some of her friends are wearing a full face of make-up, eyeliner, the works... to play volleyball for goodness sakes! She thinks it's silly and stupid, and I hope she keeps thinking that way. I also get annoyed at trying to find clothes that she likes that are appropriate for her age AND school... looking at shorts at AE yesterday, and they are all hot pants. WHO can wear that to school?

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    1. Oh those shorts! If you can call them that. How I struggled with those last summer.

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  3. I don't have a daughter and not sure what I will do if I have one in this generation. hats off to moms like you to have to deal with issue everyday. Every girl, woman deals with self confidence constantly. It starts from the moms, the way they dress, they speak, the attitude. Girls look up to their moms to be their role models.

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  4. Yes, this. I wholeheartedly agree. My daughter is 8 and this is important to me now and will continue to be. She's a young girl and she has all the time in the world to be a grown-up. Just not now.
    Your daughter is beautiful.
    Thank you for this post!

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    1. I'm glad you do. Thanks so much!

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  5. This oh so true. I have a 13 y/o and thankfully she is able to take "No," for an answer when she veers into the land of hot pants. I see evidence that she does have enough confidence not to have to be immersed in every trend.
    At her honor society event, I was appalled by how some of the girls were dressed. The 5 inch platform heels and the shirts with the peek-a-boo windows made me sweat.
    Your post was both thoughtfully written and timely. Loved it. Ellen

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  6. Such great timing of this post as I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Last week I noticed several 5th grade girls had highlights, lowlights etc. After consulting my son (also a 5th grader) he said more kids are starting to do it. Also a girl showed up last week lookng orange..tanning or tanning spray for a dance competition she said.

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  7. i'm starting to experience a little of this with my daughter...wanting to iron her hair, style it, get highlights.

    she never really cared about her looks before and truly does not care to wear make up. she goes to a christian private school that is very strict with their dress code, so she is used to dressing conservatively. but i know there's going to be some peer pressure along the way...

    [oomph.]

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    1. Down with peer pressure. And hallelujah for uniforms at school. ;)

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  8. Well well well said friend! What a responsibility we have to raise daughters that are confident and independent

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    1. Thanks Christina. Miss you! And we do...biggest responsibility we have I would say.

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  9. Love love this post. Mine is almost nine and I've managed to 'keep her little' but it gets tough. I want her to be confident in herself and her body but also know that respecting herself is so important.

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  10. I love this post. Very well said. I have a 7 year old daughter and a 1 year old daughter. I am already fighting the battle of the belly shirt and mini skirts with the 7 year old. I see some of the older teens in our neighborhood and want to cry at what they're being allowed to wear and do to their bodies. I want my girls to be confident in who they are and what they stand for, not simply popular for the attention they receive based on an inappropriate outfit they are wearing.

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree! Thanks for the kind words.

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  11. I completely and wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote. My daughter is eight and my husband and I are determined to keep her age appropriate. Some of her peers are dying their hair, wearing suggestive clothing, etc. Too young. Your children are beautiful & lucky to have such a smart mama!

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  12. First time at your blog through Yeah Write. Your children are beautiful, your daughter looks very much like you and I so agree with you on the whole "keep them children" front. My oldest is 10 and I find myself staving off premature teen syndrome at every turn - unseen by her - for ex. we don't have cable anymore (amazing at how influential the Disney shows were becoming on that "grow up too fast" front - for my liking anyway...) Also my girls attend a pretty sheltered AMI Montessori elementary school, it's very small, and all the girls there are very close - influence each other - but not one of them is into things over their age group, makeup or anything like that. They play sports, they do cat's cradle and even pat-a-cake games. Like I said I'm with you on the putting growing up too soon off front. (-: Sorry for blathering on but this is a topic I am very much interested in...!

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    1. Blather away! I'm glad you feel the same way. It's nice to see that so many other mothers do.

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  13. Hallelujah! There is a girl my son's age (well she's 11 he is 12) who had a boyfriend at the age of 9 - who she kissed. She has always dressed inappropriately and had streaks in her hair. At the 6th grade dance she spent the entire time making out in the corner. Her mom supports this behavior. Her mom thinks it makes her daughter cool. She thinks her daughter is awesome because she's popular.

    She also graduated from a continuation high school.

    ~The G is Silent

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    1. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a similar story. I feel sorry for these girls, I really do.

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  14. If only we could make them understand what pretty really is... you are trying and I will too. Maybe we'll get there together. My girls are only 15 months old but I already worry about this 8:-)

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  15. I can't even tell you how much I love this post! I so agree with you.

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  16. Hear! Hear! I completely agree. My daughters are three and six and I want them to stay little as long as possible. It's so important to teach our daughters that they're enough just the way they are and that natural beauty is real beauty. Wonderful!

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  17. Amen!! Thank you from a mother of 3 boys.

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  18. Your daughter is beautiful! And I so agree with you. Sometimes I can't believe the things my oldest wants to wear because of what she sees her friends wear. I keep asking her why she wants to look so grown up - it'll happen soon enough.

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  19. what beautiful kids! and yes, your daughter does look beautiful and appropriate, great job mama! It can be done! - - you're giving hope to this mama of a daughter who's 3 that I already know this will be a battle :)

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  20. I am with you 100% on this.
    Completely.
    I just don't understand how some parents can let their kids out of the house dressing like a 20 year old.
    I cringe when we go to the mall.
    once my husband said to me "I'm so glad that we had a boy"...

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  21. Just to play the devil's advocate here: I used to leave my parents' house looking one way, then change at a friend's house or a public bathroom to look another way. At a young age I was thinking very adult thoughts - and my parents had nothing to do with it! The phase didn't last long, and I stopped wearing make-up (thankfully!) early on as well. Still, it was mine and not my parents. I doubt I was the only one.

    And because of that, my kids are going to dress in Garanimals until they are 18.

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  22. oh my word is your daughter gorgeous! GORGEOUS!!!!
    and i feel you on all of this. loud and clear. i'm morbidly obese and gray haired. i fully admit to needing to lose weight but i do not discuss this in front of her- EVER. nor do we live on McDonald's or anything. she's actually one of the only 2 year olds i know who eats and enjoys eating veggies on the regular. and my hair? it's becoming whiter every day. and that's OK. it's who i am and i love me. and i want my daughter to love herself just the way she is. so i ... lead by example and cringe when i see so many others not doing the same. it's sad since we, the parents, are the ones they learn the most from.

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  23. What a fabulous post, and I found myself nodding in agreement. I am scared beyond belief for the time when my girls have more a say in their attire! I hope I can create an environment where they are comfortable in their own skin, and find beauty in themselves without layers of costumes.

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  24. I agree, Susan. Such truth here. I was blessed to have parents who encouraged me to dress modestly and told me I was beautiful inside and out. They let me grow up slowly and protected me. I didn't feel like I had to go look for confirmation and value in boys or even in what girls thought of me. Such a gift. I'm glad you are giving that gift to your girls, too. You are a good mama. :)

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I love reading every last one. Thanks so much for stopping by our little blog. xo.

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