Fashion trends are always changing and right now, crop tops are in. A mother has spoken out on Facebook after she saw what she claims are crop tops for sale in the girl’s section of a store. She is asking the industry to please stop selling this type of clothing to little girls. Her post received mixed reviews. (1)
“Please Stop Selling Crop Tops To Little Girls”
A mom who goes by the name of K-Leigh Taylor posted a photo she took in a local store on Facebook. The photo was of what she says are crop tops – a style of shirt that is shorter with the potential to show off the midsection. She captioned the post:
“If you’re going to cancel cartoons, stop making crop tops for my Fn 6-year-old!”
The top was found in the section for girls 5-10 years old. Likely, she expected to have many people commenting in agreement with her. What she got instead, was a debate on body positivity and the over-sexualization of girls.
It Is A Rash Guard
First of all, many people were quick to point out that this is, in fact, a rash-guard-style bathing suit top. The store wasn’t selling crop tops, simply bathing suits. In reality, these bathing suit tops are actually less revealing than many of the ones you can buy for little girls.
“It’s a swimsuit top.. there’s more on the top of the picture. Some of y’all must make your kids wear sweat suits swimming so they don’t get trafficked for their belly buttons.” wrote one commenter.
“that’s a swim shirt. stop sexualizing children” said another.
Many others commented asking people to please stop sexualizing children’s clothing. They were then quick to point out the double standard between boys and girls. Little boys regularly walk around without shirts on, so why have we made it a problem to see a little girl’s belly, swimwear, or not?
“But a boy of any age can have no shirt on, it’s only a problem when girls show skin right?” wrote one woman.
Stop Sexualizing Little Girls
Many people continued to comment about the over-sexualization of little girls. In the same way that a grown woman isn’t “asking for it” if she wears a short dress or skirt, little girls are making a sexual statement if their bellies are showing a little bit.
“it’s a bathing suit. Also, my 7 year old wears crop tops when she tumbles and dances. I say just stop canceling stuff like cartoons and start cancelling things like pedophiles” wrote one mom.
“Next you’re going to say, she was asking for it because of what she was wearing. Who gives a s**t.” wrote another.
Also, there are many ways to wear crop tops that aren’t “trashy” like some people like to call them.
“pair it with high-waisted pants and an open jacket/cardigan. there’s a lot of ways to wear crop tops that aren’t sexual.”
Most people pointed out that the problem isn’t the clothes, it’s how adults perceive them and put meaning behind something that doesn’t exist.
“If a kids stomach showing offends you or arouses something in you, you need some serious help because that’s gross af. People like this annoy the hell out of me. Children, just like other human beings, have bodies. Nothing about said body is sexual until a grown adult twists it in their minds to make it.” wrote one commenter.
Finally, many people said that as the parent, you are in charge of what clothes are purchased for your child. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.
How To Teach Your Child About Body Positivity
This debate brings up one of the challenging parts about parenting, and unfortunately, especially about parenting girls. How do you teach your child about body positivity while also teaching them about modesty? How do you teach them about modesty without teaching them that their bodies are dangerous, something to be ashamed of, or someone else’s property to say or do what they want?
Model The Person You Want Your Child To Be
First of all, you are the person your child looks up to the most (hard as this may be to believe sometimes). If you want to teach your daughter about owning her body, dressing well, loving herself as she is, and taking pride in how she looks – show her that. Do that yourself. Say nice things about yourself, such as “this outfit makes me feel really powerful/confident/happy” instead of “I can’t wear that” or “this makes my ‘xyz’ look big”. Yes, she will still have influence from peers, but ultimately you are her biggest influence. (2)
If you want to teach your daughter about what is appropriate to where and when avoid saying things like “It’s inappropriate to show your tummy” or “you give boys/men the wrong impression when you dress like that”. Instead, tell her tummies are for the beach and backyard, not for school or wherever else you’d prefer she not wear them.
Watch The Way You Talk About Physical Activity
Far too many parents talk about needing to lose weight in front of their kids. Change your language. Instead, talk about exercise as a way to make your body stronger and healthier. Talk about foods not in terms of “good” and “bad” and ones that will “make you fat”, but rather about ones that will help you grow and have the energy to play and enjoy their activities.
Get active with your kids (again, role model) and sign them up for a variety of different sports and activities. Let them explore their bodies’ capabilities and find what they like and dislike. Never let anything like their size or appearance stop them from participating in something. Show them images of diverse athletes and how you can do anything if you work hard enough.
Don’t Just Focus On Appearance
Yes, it’s nice to tell someone they’re handsome or beautiful, but don’t forget about your child’s other attributes. They are strong, kind, helpful, smart, brave, fast, thoughtful, and so much more. You can also say things about their appearance like “You are positively radiant! You look so happy!”
In terms of their body, praise them in other areas. Compliment them on how incredible it is that their body allows them to climb up that tree. How strong they are that they completed the whole hike or they were able to carry their bag without help. It’s a powerful thing to compliment a child’s body based on its capabilities rather than appearance.
The Bottom Line
You choose what clothes you buy for your children. Still, be mindful of what you say or do in front of them, both when you are talking about their clothes and bodies as well as your own. What you say and do delivers subtle messages like “My body is something I should be ashamed of”, “boys/people can say whatever they want about my body and it’s my fault”, and “if my body doesn’t look a certain way, I am of lesser value as a human being”. We have the capability to empower future generations and change how sexualized the female body is. It starts with how we raise our children.