My Tween daughter wants to wear crop tops. We Asked Caitlin Moran

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“My daughter is almost 12 years old, straddling childhood and adolescence, and developing. And she loves cropped shorts and cropped tops. Which is nice, right? Right! But I wonder what monsters the I don’t want to judge or dictate her choices, but… I don’t know what to do.—Amy, Toronto

“I have been there exact same situation with my two daughters and I made an absolute hash of it at first,” acclaimed bestselling author Caitlin Moran says with a laugh and a sigh when I call her to discuss your question. His delivery establishes the essence of what makes his writing – and his latest book, more than a womanwho just fell to the deafening cheers, so convincing: she is deeply funny, completely unwavering and completely welcoming.

In fact, the British journalist pinned down her now storied career to fearlessly explore taboo subjects. “And, well, basically, being a woman is still a bit of a guilty, shameful secret, isn’t it?” she said with another small laugh. Our guilt and shame only grows worse when we try to carry the burden of womanhood for our daughters, wondering when they will be strong enough to carry the burden themselves. “Almost every conversation that women are supposed to have with their daughters is really heavy and depressing. At the end, the child is supposed to be crying on the floor while the mother is standing there saying, ‘Yeah, that sucks. ‘being a woman!’ But it doesn’t have to be like this: we can implement the idea that being a grown woman is fun. After all, girls are growing up in a time of more diverse role models. and, ostensibly, less shameful. “So why let our bitterness and anger taint things? It’s better for us to go to our therapy quietly and try to tell our kids that it’s fun to be a girl.

So how can you approach your loaded question in a way that doesn’t involve lecturing on patriarchal attitudes and age-old sexism bestowed on otherwise unassuming clothing? (“Because an 11-year-old will cry or climb out the window if you talk like that.”) RuPaul’s Drag Race together, Moran said. Yes, the colorful, creative and glamorous reality TV show that challenges budding and acclaimed drag performers to impressive feats of costume, makeup, lip-syncing, dancing and more. (And the Canadian iteration of the show, Canada’s Drag Racejust aired its first season.)

“Watching this show with my kids has really changed things for me because it’s basically the game show of womanhood,” Moran says. “It gives you and your daughter a natural entry point to talk about feminine appearance and the story that clothes tell — something drag queens are brilliant at.”

Watch shows like drag race or more mature movies like Little Miss Sun (which is “really just a movie about a young girl who wears inappropriate attire and dances inappropriately, but in a weirdly pure and shiny way”) – or whatever suits you and your child – you allows you to engage in deep conversations in a more fun and stimulating way. “It’s like if you walk straight towards a cow, she’ll run away and get scared. You have to go sideways,” says Moran. While you’re watching, get her talking: what her friend’s favorite outfits are, why she loves crop tops so much, why she thinks queens wear certain looks, what story she wants to create through fashion, about… she emerging ideas and values. “Until recently your child only knew three words and you were the one talking. Now the whole game has changed. You need them to talk about what’s going on their spirit,” Moran says. “Knowing who you want to be is a complex thing for anyone, so submit as much information and opinions as possible to your child, because when a child starts talking, it starts working in his head.”

Because while you’re torturing yourself trying to make the right decision on behalf of your daughter, it’s time to start grappling with the idea that she is the one who must learn to make this choice for herself.

It is understandable to feel conflicted. “The first time I asked my 14-year-old daughter if she really wanted to wear this really short dress or maybe she wanted to wear a cardigan over it, she turned around and said, ‘Don’t don’t be ashamed, bitch. ‘” Moran says, laughing at the pitfalls of raising feminist girls who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves. “I was like, ‘This is a very complex notion, which has brought a lot of feminist conferences to their knees, so we don’t have time to talk about it when you have to be on the bus in 10 minutes.'”

So consider this situation from her perspective: if she’s still wearing crop tops, she’s likely to feel hurt when you suddenly tell her to stop, citing her changing body, which she can’t control. Of course, you’re the parent and you make the rules, but logically what does preventing your daughter from wearing crop tops between the ages of 12 and 16 really accomplish? Instead, perhaps it’s best to focus on her role as an uplifting guide through the parts of adulthood that she hasn’t been exposed to when they enter her life. I talk about what the changes happening in his body really mean, how to handle confusing online interactions, his team dynamics, what his friends are going through – the list goes on. Because she will experience the full range of what the world has to offer, whether a piece of her belly is visible or not. I wish a sweater could serve as absolute protection, but it doesn’t. It’s more relevant to show her joy and confidence and try to make sure she’s emotionally equipped and confident enough to handle her teenage years. Or as Caitlin Moran says, “It’s once you’ve got your sass you’re bulletproof.”

So if you want to guide her without shaming her, make peace with the fact that no item of clothing is inherently inappropriate – neither crop tops, nor short shorts or bikinis – but they can be more or less suitable for you. an occasion. An adult might think it’s obvious that an amusement park offers a different sartorial opportunity than a funeral, but a child needs to learn these nuances, so that you as a parent can speak to them with a heart. and an open mind. But if it becomes a constant struggle and she doesn’t feel like her voice is heard, in a few years she’ll turn into whatever she wants in school behind your back.

“You’re going to make mistakes, so be prepared to apologize,” Moran says. “Although women are supposed to know how to make a home comfortable and campaign effectively against female genital mutilation and navigate through heartbreak and make a marriage delicious, and all that other crap, we’re not even born knowing how to handle our rules.. We are all working our way through this.

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