Any person thirty five years or older who has recently walked past a group of middle school or high school girls has probably seen more waist and hip skin than they ever imagined on a 12 year old, more cleavage than they thought possible on a 15 year old, and more belly buttons than a Beyonce' video.
The trends and fashion statements that are "in style" with pre-teens and teens today would have earned women who are in their mid thirties a suspension from school for inappropriate dressing.
But it isn't the fashions themselves that have me frustrated. It is the fact that through wearing some of these items at such an early age, young girls are not learning what comfortable clothing feels like, they're not learning how to not feel objectified by their dress, and they're not learning how to present their individuality outside of these trends.
Last year, in the beginning of my daughter's 5th grade school year, she was wearing the low waist jeans. I'd be in the kitchen cooking dinner and she'd sit down and do her homework.
As I walked past, I'd notice more backside than waist was in full view. I'd tell her, "Pull your pants up. Nobody wants to see where the sun doesn't shine." The next day, she'd have on a different pair of jeans, she'd sit down and again, I'm seeing the top of her gluteus maximus where some fabric should have been. I didn't recall buying all these low waist pants.
When we were in the department store it seemed that the pants covered her bottom, but now it seemed every time I walked by I was getting mooned. For the next couple of weeks, I must have sounded like the booty crack monitor because I was telling my daughter to pull up her pants like every five minutes. Finally, I became so angry I asked her where were her underpants.
Defensively, she told me, "I have on underwear." Well, an argument ensued because if my pants fell below my waist you'd see cotton bloomers before you'd see my naked skin. Why weren't my daughter's undies protecting her?
My daughter and I went upstairs and talked and she showed me that she did indeed have on her underwear, but she'd begun to fold over the top of her underwear because she'd learned in school that you shouldn't let people see your underwear if you have on low rise pants.
I couldn't understand it, and I knew too small underwear would be uncomfortable for me as well as wearing jeans that allowed my backside to be exposed at the slightest bend.
What was worse is that she'd kept wearing underwear that were too small to achieve the "look." How cruel is that? Without my knowledge my daughter was learning to sacrifice comfortable underwear for small ones for the sake of fashion.
Yet, whenever I would tell my daughter to pull up her jeans, she didn't seem embarrassed, or particularly bothered. It appeared that showing more flesh than desired was all a part of wearing the fashion and so it wasn't a "big deal."
The too short skirt is the skirt that looks like a small handkerchief is wrapped around the waist. The too short skirt is the skirt that the girl wears and has to put her notebook, purse, backpack or papers on her thighs so that we don't see her undergarments.
As a youth program specialist, I get the opportunity to work with teen girls all across the country. Over the past five years, I've witnessed some shocking fashions but the one that disappoints me the most is the "too short skirt."
How comfortable can it be to sit in a workshop and have to cover your thighs for an hour? How comfortable can it be to know that you can't bend over and pick up anything because your private area will be exposed? What if somebody dropped a million dollars in front of the girl in a too short skirt? She wouldn't even be able to become a millionaire without losing her dignity. The Too Short Skirt teen fashion trend is far too cruel.
The low waist jeans and the too short skirts are just two of the youth fashions that are being passed off as cool, but really aren't. The other really cruel teen fashion is the too short shorts. These are the gym shorts that people in their thirties used to wear with the drawstring tie in the front. Well, girls of today are turning over the tops of the shorts and pulling them up like a pair of stockings. Not only do these short shorts look ridiculous, they look impossibly uncomfortable. Yet, millions of girls are flipping down the waistbands of their shorts to look like the girl sitting next to them. Needless to say, the elastic waistband is really helpful for girls with larger bellies. The elastic band keeps the tummy in and makes the girl look slimmer. But, unfortunately, the girl who really wants to keep her elastic waistband in tact isn't doing so because she feels the pressure to fit in with all the girls who wear the turn down waist. It's cruel.
I never thought cruel fashions could impact a girl's self esteem, but so many girls are now suffering because they're wearing clothes that make them feel bad about how they look. Historically, youth fashion trends gave youth a definitive and creative voice. But for the life of me, I can't figure out what low waist, short skirts and short shorts are saying about our teen girls. Or maybe I refuse to hear what those fashion trends are saying because it's just too cruel.