Let’s agree the transition from 11 to 14 is a big one. Let’s say your daughter starts out being a girl all covered in tee shirts and jeans, does a 360 and starts wearing crop tops and mini skirts and then by 14 starts to mellow, finds her footing and starts coming into her own.
I know it’s hard to be a parent. PERIOD. There need not be any more statements as the challenges that face every single parent can be daunting and filled with dread. Parenting teen daughters is one such endeavor. After spending the summer with my girls, doing errands, going to the beach, and countless other activities I can say this : it sucks to be a 14 year old girl. It sucks to look like an 18 year old and be 14, it sucks to constantly be oogled, it sucks to be judged, it sucks to have to deal with shitty people, it sucks to walk around in a body that is the object of other people fantasies and shitty thinking.
When the original jeans to mini skirts transition happened I would jokingly say to my friends “You’ll know my kid, she’s the one dressed like a hooker.” … or the time when she came downstairs to go to the farmers market in a tube top, mini skirt and high heeled flip flops and I told her she might be mistaken for the drag queens at the pride parade… have I mentioned what an awesome parent I am yet? She was playing around with her new found girly powers and I was adjusting and neither one of us was doing it gracefully I might add, but at least she had the excuse of being 13… what was mine? I was just being an asshole of course and in my defense I really did let her wear want she wanted.
And then this year happened and my awkward teen girl became a gorgeous young woman… a self assured beautiful girl. Now we live in a small liberal city and my girls have always walked home from school and around town with their friends but now the reports started rolling in….
“This guy invited me to a party on my way to the dance.”
“What did you say?”
“That I’m 13.”
“This guy offered me money to take my shoes off and show him my feet.”
“What did you do?”
“Um, kept walking.”
“The guys outside the bar started talking to me and then followed me.”
“What did you do?”
The kid is smart, like wicked smart and knows how to handle herself but more and more incidents were happening on an almost daily basis to the point that my daughter didn’t even want to go to the town beach because too many guys talked to her and made her uncomfortable… and I know why, really, she’s young and blonde and has huge boobies… she’s a walking ideal of “girl”… but she’s freaking 14! So we go the beach as a family and my daughter gets oogled by some old nasty guys (I’m talking like 60 year olds) and wants to go home and we don’t, so she walks home. When we get home she’s upset.
“Well like 4 cars honked and yelled at me and then guys at the bar tried talking to me again and I’m just sick of it.”
and the my husband steps right in it….
“Well you have to take responsibility for how you dress and what you put out there.”
let me just say my husband is as liberal and woman centered guy as you can wish for and probably wanted to die as soon as this left his mouth.
If my daughter could have laser eyes at the moment he would have been dead as she let him have it
“Oh yeah, it’s MY fault, I’m just a slut, I’m just a whore and that gives all those people the right to say whatever they want to me? It shouldn’t matter what I’m wearing, the guys at school have no dress code, the guys are never told to change what they’re wearing.”
She’s right, absofuckinglutely right. As a girl is she supposed to dress in a Burka to get respect? She’s smart a whip and most people probably immediately dismiss her because of what she looks like and instantly label her slut or slacker or something else dismissive so they don’t have to see the real her.
It’s really easy to blame the media and the culture but really I was the first to label her the hooker. I was the first to judge her and it sucks to realize it. Our daughters should have the freedom to express themselves however they want and hopefully be safe while doing it. Now she wants to walk in the slutwalk and I know she’s only 14 but I think as long as the outside world sees her as older and worldly I just might have to as well. She hasn’t had done anything that could even remotely be “slutty” but she sure bears all the weight of peoples ideas about sluttiness… and really “slutty” what a screwed up idea. I hope my kid finds pleasure in sex, why shouldn’t she, it’s fun and I want her to live a full life, a life filled with partners and lovers and friends and family.
What I don’t want is some skeevy creepy 60 year old staring at her boobs at the freakin beach, or asking to see her feet or whatever other shit people think they can bring into her beautiful orbit. I can’t protect her from them and I hate they get to impact her in such negative ways.
I want so much more for her but in the end I might just need to settle with the fact that I’m really happy that she knows how to stand up for herself… I just wish she didn’t have to.
Some other peoples thoughts on these types of things: