Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
Every other week, I answer a call for advice, and every other week, I share my views on something I observed- I call this Observational Wisdom.
I warn you before you read any further- this is not PC. I have an unpopular opinion on a very hot topic.
Today’s people expect to be allowed to wear whatever they want, whenever they please.
I do too.
Unfortunately, sometimes we cannot have things the way we want, and we have to do what we are told.
Case in point- kids clothing at school.
Pardon the fact I am 41 years of age. Middle aged. Out of touch with the views of the youth.
(Your music does too, suck, fuck you.)
We see case after case of kids, most especially girls , fighting for their rights to wear whatever they please to school. This is usually based on skirt or shorts length, and how much shoulder or cleavage is revealed. Then they get mad, and accuse schools of discriminating against them, slut shaming, and demand to wear what the hell the please. A lot of it is about right to bare cleavage and leg, and the teachers are told to not allow boys to look at them instead of censoring what is worn.
First, let me point out this struggle is nothing new. The minute kids hit puberty, their desire to dress and act sexy starts. Girls have always been more fashion conscious, and society sexualizes our girls moreso than our boys. From a young age, girls are objectified, and valued only for physical beauty. Eating disorders, and personal identity struggles based on whether the girl sees herself as attractive take up a lot of time and emotional space.
Trying to be sexy has been something girls have always been pushed by society to do from a very young age, is my point.
The difference is, some of today’s parents, instead of refusing to allow the girls to dress in revealing clothes, applaud it, and encourage it.
There is a drive to encourage girls to look increasingly more sexy, and discourage boys to react.
While I don’t personally give a fuck about clothes, I was a girl once myself, and went out of my way to do all I could to be what I thought was pretty and sexy. So did a lot of other girls I grew up with. It’s normal.
I don’t give a shit about that.
I don’t care that parents are trying to be less prudish themselves, and be more free with their own sexuality.
That is not my issue, though.
My issue with this whole thing is twofold- when did it become PC to start sexualizing our girls so young rather than not? And why are parents all for it these days? When I see a fourteen year old in stilettos, hiphugger skin tight jeans or leggings their ass looks like it is eating, and spaghetti straps with tons of makeup, and padded bras…I know these are not girls dressing comfortable for summertime. They want to look sexy, and do so in the way pop culture dictates.
Pop culture is not feminist, nor has it ever been. Pop culture has always pushed ONE body type on ALL females, and it has always placed demands of sexiness of women. Whereas generations past valued more “lady in the living room, slut in the bedroom, who actually does not enjoy sex” norms, “slut everywhere who wants it all the time” is what pop culture demands now.
Why buckle to any of these demands at all? Why not be as you are despite what societal expectations are?
Why does society keep reinventing definition of what is sexually acceptable for women, but more importantly, why do women embrace this? And why are today’s mothers seemingly just as eager as the women they swore they would never emulate, and follow along and program their girls to do as society demands?
It is a trend to dress your daughters in sexy clothes for school, and then pick a fight with the school, demanding they be allowed to wear the sexy clothes. It is also a trend to brag about it, and get attention on the internet.
Besides the sexualization of girls by their parents, the second issue with this is pitching a fit because of rules. Maybe we have raised a very privileged generation that never had to go without anything, and we see the damage things like participation trophies is doing. You can’t even get people to cooperate enough to wear what they are expected to.
The long term ills this causes is you have people who are going to throw a fit about wearing what they are told at work. I admit, I’ve done a bit of that myself, and was curtly told that the dress code was part of the job description, and if I could not adhere to that, I was welcome to find a different job.
I admit, I had one job where a double standard was pushed on me. Other workers were allowed certain clothes, but my boss did not want me, or the girl in my department to wear the same thing. THAT, I argued about.
But in the end, I wore what I was expected to, because I had bills to pay, and I wanted to keep that job.
The other people still wore what I wanted to, but was not allowed, and I hated it- but I still kept my job, and at the end of the day, having a roof over my head, money to eat with, and money to have fun with was more important than wearing my favorite shirt or dress to work. The people I worked for will never change. They will still continue that double standard, but guess what? I got a good reference, and they said they would hire me again in the future if it came down to it.
And I still have a roof over my head.
While the adults who raised me did not do everything right, I was fortunate enough to go to a school with strictly adhered to uniform expectations. We wore what was expected at school, and changed if we wanted to afterwards. Nobody died. Girls still looked pretty. Girls still had boyfriends. Life went on.
I live in beige capital, Central Ohio. I look nothing like many of the conservatives around me. There are large groups of very goth, or very rock and roll, or very new age, or very hippie people surrounding all this beige.
If all these different people swapped clothes, they would continue to be the same people they still were beforehand.
Clothes do not make us who we are- however, clothes are a tool that open doors. Knowing this, and dressing for the opportunities you want are part of the battle sticking your foot in the door.
We are all born naked, but in this shallow world, if you know wearing a certain something will give you an advantage, why the hell fight that?
Aside from that, school is a blessing in America. We have free public school. Generations ago, only the richest could attend, and education allows opportunities. Some school districts are severely limited, and the education is very lacking for those kids. It’s a travesty, and I’d imagine the kids who most want opportunities would gladly wear whatever they thought they had to in order to get them.
When small , petty things, like favorite clothes become the priority in schools, it’s clear those having a fit about the petty things are very privileged, and don’t appreciate what they have.
Maybe this is just me being middle aged thinking of opportunities for kids, as opposed to feeling like a fashionista- but with college costs climbing, and college becoming less and less accessible to people- paying attention in class, and getting good grades to get scholarships is more crucial for kids than ever.
The more parents I see thinking of unimportant things like permission to wear short shorts and revealing shirts as opposed to teaching kids to focus on studies and training them to survive in the adult world- where, I am sorry, they can’t wear whatever they please- the more afraid for this generation of kids I am.
Again- I don’t give a fuck if you walk in to visit me and you are naked- just put a towel down on my couch before you sit so as not to get any crotch sweat on it. Take the nasty ass towel with you when you go, thanks. I don’t care if you are naked in public either.
I just know what happens to people who cannot cooperate with others, and throw a fit about every little thing, demanding they do what they please, even down to clothes.
In review- clothes do not make us who we are- they are a tool to communicate intentions to the shallow, materialistic members of the species who admit us to opportunities or turn us down. Clothes can be fun, and a way to express what our personal preferences are, but they do not make us who we are. We are the same people naked, as we are in the clothes we choose. If you are dying to dress your girls in sexy, adult clothes, you are not treating them as children, but sexual objects the pop culture, fueled by the fashion industry. who just wants to make a buck off you controls. If you fight with the school, demanding your girls be allowed to break dress code, you do them a disservice, and teach them to be uncooperative, and are making it difficult for them to understand the expectations of the adult world. You show that you value things more than opportunities for your kid. It’s shitty parenting, and I have no respect for you or your demon spawn. The last thing we need is more stupidity in this world, and the last thing our girls need is more encouragement to mold themselves into obedient sexual objects.
So yes, you have to keep the dress code in school, and in the adult world as well.