As a mother, never did I think I’d be arguing about crop tops this early in my child’s life. At the ripe age of 10, my daughter wants to wear crop tops. Nothing extreme, just those boxy tees that show a hint of skin, but still skin nonetheless. I’m a rather fashionable, liberal woman and I find myself conflicted on the topic of tween fashion because there’s a constant blurring of lines between what’s “in” and what’s appropriate.
My first thought was that I didn’t even own a crop top until my freshman year of college. It was purchased at the IU Urban Outfitters location after I saw it in a magazine. I was 18, eight years older than my child. But, times have changed and now tweens and teens want to dress like they’re straight out of 1997. This includes a crop top as a basis for any “look.”
While I get that they’re “in,” this seems too adult for my 10-year-old. Right? I couldn’t help but wonder, when did the movement to push young girls to look older, faster, begin?
I reflected on the issue and came to the conclusion that while I want to promote self advocation and body positivity to my daughter, I feel like my fear is based on the expectations of society.
I wonder, is this just society over-sexualizing girls, again, and also dictating what’s acceptable? Is there really something wrong with a younger child wanting to wear what’s “in?”
I believe society has programmed us, from a young age, to think that skin is sexy. Our biggest organ, our skin, has somehow become taboo. The more you show, the sexier you are and that is only reserved for older girls. It’s an accumulation of older generations, outdated thinking.
Before you come for me, here me out.
As with the rest of history, cultural standards have changed and much of that can be attributed to women. In recent years there has been a dramatic move for female empowerment and taking control of their bodies. For instance, we don’t encourage hugging anymore if a child doesn’t feel comfortable. Their body, their choice. Society is now more accepting of different bodies types and a push for loving what your mama gave you.
I don’t think showing skin is a sign of wanting to be sexy right now. Two teenage girls in my family are hard-core Christians and love a crop top look. Aside from their stomach, everything is covered in mom jeans, high tops, and if they’re cold, a sweater that Jabba the Hut could fit in. It’s not a sexual revolution, it’s just what’s in style.
While I don’t love the crop top, I have come to a safe compromise that’s cute for her and appropriate for me. I allow my daughter to wear what she wants at home and in certain social situations. As an independent female and as her mother, I want to foster an environment where she feels safe to exercise her opinions and confidence. I want her to be comfortable in her own skin and make creative decisions about what she wants to wear. I believe this promotes a positive safe for self-expression and an opportunity for her to feel accepting of her own body.