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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:04 am 
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I'd be interested on perspectives on this - I'm not expecting a consensus (when would we ever get that?!) but I have been pondering for a couple of weeks...
A couple of weeks ago my friend and I plus two 12 year old boys and two 13 year old girls happened to be out in McDonalds quite late on a Saturday night (don't judge!) There was a girl there, maybe 15 years old, in an extremely short and revealing dress. Our boys were quite rude (out of earshot and dealt with appropriately by us) and the girls quite shocked. Afterwards my friend and I were talking. She said that she felt strongly that girls should be allowed to wear whatever they wanted without fear of comment or censure. From a feminist perspective I see what she is saying - however I also feel that what one wears does say something about the respect people have for themselves...
In a week where 1) I have seen photos of my 14 year old god daughter going out in a dress that reveals more than any red carpet dress I have ever seen, Liz Hurley's dress included 2) another friend has moaned at me that she struggles to help her 15 year old son to act respectfully towards girls/women when they are walking down the street in shorts so short that they really leave nothing to the imagination (and yet she happily goes topless on Spanish beaches) 3) my husband felt he had to stand up when we were waiting for a concert because sitting down he was at eye level with the shortest skirts imaginable and he didn't know where to put his eyes 4) I have looked at our holiday photos and have no problems at all with my dd wearing a pretty small bikini on the beach but would never ever let her out in some of the dresses I've recently seen - I find myself unclear what I do think or maybe should think.
What do you think? Should women/girls be able to wear whatever they want? Or is there a level of decorum (is that even the right word?) that should be kept to in public?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:52 am 
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It's a really difficult one, but I was impressed with the way it worked with my DD when she was in her mid teens. She had a really good set of friends including boys of her own age. On the bus one day a couple of them chose to mention her skirt length to her directly. They had a really good discussion and she made the decision herself to modify her skirt length as a result.

It all seemed incredibly mature at the time and the fact that the conversation came from the boys (who took it upon themselves to explain they didn't want their friends to be objectified) was really helpful in encouraging her and the other girls to make their own desicions.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:46 pm 
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I find it sad that girls feel they have to do this in order to fit in with the in crowd.

DAO has moved the girls onto long skirts for Music Concerts outside the school to make sure that no girl turns up in something that lets the school down. The Royal Albert Hall insists that all women performers wear long skirts.

The need to constantly post pictures of themselves with bits falling out everywhere would probably be curbed if they really knew that some men were leering at their pictures and using them for entertainment.

We really seem to be going backwards in girls seeing themselves as individuals and not as objects to be gawped at.

I agree with you, not your friend.

In the court case last year about men who were recruiting girls for grooming to be offered out to men for payment, the men testified that they searched shopping centres for girls hanging around wearing short skirts.

One man commented that he knew that parents who allowed their girls to go out dressed like that were the parents that they could trick as they clearly were not keeping an eye on things. DG


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:52 pm 
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How rude were your boys about the extremely short skirt in McDonalds?

TBH, if people of either sex walk around in public in the UK (where we're not yet into undressed mixed saunas and naturist holidays are the exception not the norm) with everything showing or almost showing then I can't see what's wrong with some private comment from anyone of any age or any sex? Same why one might talk privately about a most peculiar hat which was designed to draw attention?

Or was there more to your boys' comments than this ---- in which case their quiet lewd comments might need addressing in some way or other .... not sure how though. Maybe louder so that next time puts on a pair of tight leggings and she doesn't catch a chill?

But maybe I'm just rude too! :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:09 pm 
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Oh, I don't know. I often think of a cartoon pinned on the wall in one of the (mixed) houses that DH lived in when we were students:

Male character (pointing down below): 'I've got one of these!'
Female character (likewise): 'Well, I've got one of these. And with one of these, I can get as many of those as I want!'. Which we always took to indicate that men are rather pathetic. Mind you, that was before American Gigolo :lol: . But certainly not that women are of necessity victims with low self-esteem.

Our male personages have been brought up on the principle that 'No means No' and just because their sister or any other female apparently wants to freeze to death, the fact that she is displaying her kneecaps or even a fair bit further north of them does not automatically mean that she is plying for hire, or worse still, there for the taking.

The organised gangs of men had something a bit more fundamental going for them than deciding off their own bat what the 'behaviour' of young females means, I seem to remember?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:13 pm 
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Daogroupie wrote:
I find it sad that girls feel they have to do this in order to fit in with the in crowd.

DAO has moved the girls onto long skirts for Music Concerts outside the school to make sure that no girl turns up in something that lets the school down. The Royal Albert Hall insists that all women performers wear long skirts.

The need to constantly post pictures of themselves with bits falling out everywhere would probably be curbed if they really knew that some men were leering at their pictures and using them for entertainment.

We really seem to be going backwards in girls seeing themselves as individuals and not as objects to be gawped at.




I agree with you, not your friend.

In the court case last year about men who were recruiting girls for grooming to be offered out to men for payment, the men testified that they searched shopping centres for girls hanging around wearing short skirts.

One man commented that he knew that parents who allowed their girls to go out dressed like that were the parents that they could trick as they clearly were not keeping an eye on things. DG


I do agree ...... but I'm not so sure about the business about they would stop doing it if they knew what was happening with the online pictures. My year 8 child was showing me pictures her friends and acquaintances (female) had put in Snapchat recently - also year 8. There are some year 8 former primary school friends who are boys on there too.

Some were of them wearing clothing in changing rooms that I don't think their parents would have bought for them but you couldn't tell that from the photos. The poses and the clothing were not for 12 year olds but in the photos they could easily have been 18 and wearing clothes that they owned. They looked very attractive and sexy.

All the others who had photos of themselves were also incredibly fashionable, well turned out, didn't look 12 etc - but nothing so overtly ******** as the couple that worried me rather.

I asked my daughter what she thought. She said it all made her feel a bit strange. But I think she is still happy with sticking pictures of sunsets and cute puppies on there and so, thankfully, are her likeminded friends so she doesn't feel out of place (yet).

But although the parents wouldn't have bought those clothes, it's the line those parents have been heading down from incredibly young (and I mean pre-school) with the emphasis on the daughters being neat, clean, pretty, beautifully turned out, in fashion, not doing things the parents saw as "tomboyish", endless shopping trips first with parents and now with friends (rather than having friends around to the house).

And I think it would be unfair to assume that it would be these girls that would present the easiest prey to unsavoury men. It could be my rather gawky daughter who doesn't know how to speak up for herself that ends up in trouble and not them.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:19 pm 
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ToadMum wrote:
Oh, I don't know. I often think of a cartoon pinned on the wall in one of the (mixed) houses that DH lived in when we were students:

Male character (pointing down below): 'I've got one of these!'
Female character (likewise): 'Well, I've got one of these. And with one of these, I can get as many of those as I want!'. Which we always took to indicate that men are rather pathetic. Mind you, that was before American Gigolo :lol: . But certainly not that women are of necessity victims with low self-esteem.

Our male personages have been brought up on the principle that 'No means No' and just because their sister or any other female apparently wants to freeze to death, the fact that she is displaying her kneecaps or even a fair bit further north of them does not automatically mean that she is plying for hire, or worse still, there for the taking.

The organised gangs of men had something a bit more fundamental going for them than deciding off their own bat what the 'behaviour' of young females means, I seem to remember?


Oh I agree. It's a sign of things having moved onwards (rather than backwards maybe as the OP is suggesting) that girls can wear whatever they like and it won't be assumed it's there for the taking. But, there are still some who would assume that was the case --- do we warn about that and at what age?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:48 pm 
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mystery wrote:
How rude were your boys about the extremely short skirt in McDonalds?

TBH, if people of either sex walk around in public in the UK (where we're not yet into undressed mixed saunas and naturist holidays are the exception not the norm) with everything showing or almost showing then I can't see what's wrong with some private comment from anyone of any age or any sex? Same why one might talk privately about a most peculiar hat which was designed to draw attention?

Or was there more to your boys' comments than this ---- in which case their quiet lewd comments might need addressing in some way or other .... not sure how though. Maybe louder so that next time puts on a pair of tight leggings and she doesn't catch a chill?

But maybe I'm just rude too! :lol:


Their rudeness was that she looked terrible and they didn't know where to look. Not that they were making lewd comments. Unfortunately for the girl in question her dress was not flattering at all so their comments were not lascivious. We had to address the fact that they felt it was ok to comment on a girl's looks and appearance (bearing in mind they are 12, it felt as though it was something that definitely needed jumping on and addressing).


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:02 pm 
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mystery wrote:
ToadMum wrote:
Oh, I don't know. I often think of a cartoon pinned on the wall in one of the (mixed) houses that DH lived in when we were students:

Male character (pointing down below): 'I've got one of these!'
Female character (likewise): 'Well, I've got one of these. And with one of these, I can get as many of those as I want!'. Which we always took to indicate that men are rather pathetic. Mind you, that was before American Gigolo :lol: . But certainly not that women are of necessity victims with low self-esteem.

Our male personages have been brought up on the principle that 'No means No' and just because their sister or any other female apparently wants to freeze to death, the fact that she is displaying her kneecaps or even a fair bit further north of them does not automatically mean that she is plying for hire, or worse still, there for the taking.

The organised gangs of men had something a bit more fundamental going for them than deciding off their own bat what the 'behaviour' of young females means, I seem to remember?


Oh I agree. It's a sign of things having moved onwards (rather than backwards maybe as the OP is suggesting) that girls can wear whatever they like and it won't be assumed it's there for the taking. But, there are still some who would assume that was the case --- do we warn about that and at what age?


I don't think I feel that this is just about how men perceive girls/women. I think I feel that it's about how they perceive themselves. I think (I keep saying "I think" because I'm still processing it) that my feminist instincts are different from those of my friend - in that I think that women/girls are objectifying themselves by wearing certain clothes (I am not talking just short skirts here. I have no problem with short skirts. I am really talking clothes that are hiding ridiculously little). It does feel to me that we have gone backwards in terms of women perceiving themselves as people in their own right rather than trying to get a particular reaction (mostly from men. But it's not the men's reaction itself that bothers me. It's the fact that increasingly girls/young women don't see that as a problem and in fact see it as desirable. Of course they all like to be thought attractive - who doesn't? But this seems to go beyond that.)

Sorry I'm not expressing myself very well. I totally agree that it won't be assumed by most men that "it's there for the taking" just because someone is dressed in a particular way. And I don't particularly feel the need to warn that some will feel like that. [The child sex exploitation is about far more than dress (although the girl in McD's was with a group of men, all slightly older, and I did hang around for some considerable time trying to decide if this was a case of CSE. Can't get that safeguarding head off ever!) and plenty of girls affected were picked up in school uniform or jeans. It's a particular vulnerability that is being looked for - that might, but not always will, be expressed in a certain dress sense.]

I suppose fundamentally I think I want to say that I think girls should be able to wear what they want. But I would like them not to want to wear certain things.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:25 pm 
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loobylou wrote:
I suppose fundamentally I think I want to say that I think girls should be able to wear what they want. But I would like them not to want to wear certain things.

This completely sums it up.

Girls should be able to wear what they want, the fact that they can't and that what some of them want to wear is so appalling is a damning indictment of how we have raised successive generations. Victim blaming is no solution.

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