Monday 18 December 2017

Letting your teen win short skirt battle may help you win the war

Girls generally dress for their girlfriends. Photo: Getty Images.
Girls generally dress for their girlfriends. Photo: Getty Images.
Sinead Moriarty

Sinead Moriarty

My friend's 13-year old daughter went to her first disco last week. "How did she look?" I asked. My friend paused, sighed and said, "Like a hooker." I was a bit surprised, both by her admission that her child had gone out looking like a tramp and by her resignation to it.

But her daughter's attire – or lack thereof – is nothing unusual. We have all seen teenage girls queuing outside nightclubs in skirts and shorts that frankly contain less material than a pair of knickers. A lot of them do, in fact, look like hookers. Teenage girls dressing provocatively is nothing new, Twiggy was showing a lot of thigh back in the 60s. But a recent incident in the US where a group of fathers reacted harshly to a girl in a mini-dress has caused quite a stir.

Last week, 17-year-old Claire Ettinger of Richmond, Virginia, was kicked out of her prom because some of the dads chaperoning the event thought her dress and dancing would give their boys "impure thoughts." Of the incident Ettinger says, "I was told that the way I dressed and moved my body was causing men to think inappropriately about me, implying that it is my responsibility to control other people's thoughts and drives. The whole situation made me feel violated." From the moment she arrived she was criticised by the event organiser for turning up in a dress that was too short. Ettinger said that her sparkly dress met her school's "fingertip length" dress code requirement (ie that the dress goes below your fingertips when you have your arms by your side)

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