If you want to bring your daughter up to think and dress like a feminist, one of the things you’re thinking of is obviously what she “should” wear. That’s the thing – what’s important is to make sure you’re not imposing or enforcing anything.
How to dress your daughter like a feminist? It is all about encouraging choice, showing her variety, respecting diversity, and teaching her to be responsible for her choices.
We can go on for hours about the politics behind women’s clothes’ policing and how society views the woman’s body.
There have been cases where young kids wearing tank tops in sweltering heat have been reprimanded for violating school dress codes.Or girls have been told off for wearing yoga pants (which are super comfortable) to avoid embarrassing the guys.
There’s something wrong with this way of thinking. It makes girls feel like second-class citizens, especially when they see the boys don’t get told to wear what they want to wear. And the sexist nature of dress codes doesn’t stop within the boundary walls of high schools.
I’m sure we women are aware of how these things sneak their way into our lives, and we don’t notice until an experienced feminist points it out to us!
Bringing your daughter up as a feminist in a world so skewed in favor of the boys is going to be tough. And it begins with teaching your daughter to make her clothing choices for the right reasons. The reason your daughter wears something shouldn’t be because someone else wants her to wear it.
She should wear what she wants to wear, as long as it’s appropriate for the occasion (no swimming suit to class, for instance!) And she should wear it because it’s comfortable, lets her do what she wants to in it, and it’s something that expresses who she is.
These are valuable self-empowering reasons for clothing choices that are often not easy for women to make!
Here’s a look at some of the easy ways to dress your daughter like a feminist.
Give her choices – there’s more than one way to dress a feminist!
The most empowering idea about feminism is about having the freedom of choice. In a world where others often decide for babies what color they should be wearing – blue for boys and pink for girls – just giving your daughter a choice to wear yellow or brown or green or orange or grey can be a simple way to empower her.
It also applies to style. Ask her if she wants to wear lacy dresses or cargo shorts or cartoon dresses or denim overalls.
You’ll probably find some department stores being narrow in their children’s section choices. But keep a look around for variety and make sure your daughter sees them too.
Encourage her to match her choices to her interests.
Adults express themselves through their clothes. Even when militant workplace dress rules restrict you, you’ll find a way to wear something that reflects who you are. On the flip side, it’s all too common to see young girls imitating others’ dressing styles because it’s “trendy” despite not feeling very comfortable in what they’re wearing.
To avoid this, you want your daughter to develop the sense of autonomy to dress for herself from a young age. It means encouraging her to wear outfits that reflect her interests. Luckily, when you’re six, you can walk around in overalls featuring flying saucers if that’s the way your interests lie.
You may have to look around a bit for the perfect match. Instead of looking at the mainstream chains featuring kids’ clothes, you may want to hunt for little local or independent shops that are more imaginative and child-friendly with their designs. Many stores will help you in your quest to dress your daughter like a feminist.
Respect her choices
A woman is constantly being told that her choices are wrong. You don’t want to add your voice to that general stream of soul-killing advice. So let your daughter go with whatever choice she makes.
If it’s glitter tights or stiff collar shirts, encourage her to wear what she wants. As long as she can do what she wants to do in the clothes she’s wearing, you should let her figure out her own choices.
The only time you should step in with advice is when she’s wearing something “inappropriate” for the occasion. For instance, if she wants to wear her favorite homely shirt to a formal wedding.
That’s an excellent time to have a conversation about how sometimes clothes have to be appropriate for where you’re going. You could think creatively about ways to work her choice into the occasion as well. For instance, why not put the homey t-shirt on under a suit?
Don’t ban the pink and the frills!
While you’re giving your daughter choices, it’s essential to make sure you don’t bring your biases into the picture. If you feel stifled by girls’ social pressure to wear pink and frilly, you shouldn’t be militant against it for your daughter.
Rather than making the aim to be going against the tide, it’s more important to teach your daughter the power and importance of personal choice.
So, if she is obsessed with all things sparkly and frilly and you can’t bear the sight of those things, you’ll have to find ways to cope. Trying to brainwash your determined daughter with the message that pink and frilly are anti-feminist is not correct.
It’s decidedly anti-feminist. If you want to raise your daughter to be a strong, independent, opinionated woman, you don’t necessarily have to bring her up to hate pink.
But you do want to show her variety. You want to open her up to a multi-faceted world where she has many choices.
Even if she gravitates towards something naturally, like painting, you still want to show her that mathematics and numbers are cool too. It’s the same with clothing – show her options. Then let her choose.
Teach her to care about how and where her clothes are made
Feminism is also about being a good citizen of the world. And that means taking responsibility for your choices. It’s important to instill in your daughter an interest in the origins of her clothes from an early age.
If you look at the standard markup for clothing retail (at around four times the cost of manufacture) and subtract the labor, shipping, and materials from it, you’ll quickly realize that big box stores pay a pittance for labor on an item.
This low labor cost is possible partly because of economies of scale and partly because of unfair labor practices. Children and women in inferior, developing nations are often made to work in harsh conditions for long hours at low pay.
It may be impossible for you to trace the origin of every item of clothing your child wears. But instead of shopping at big box stores all the time, you could on occasion spend on the independent brands here that take pains to manufacture ethically wherever they send their clothes to be made.
And while you’re at it, you could teach your daughter about the importance of supporting manufacturers who make clothes that are good for those who make them.
Let her get her clothes dirty.
Careful mothers who caution their daughters against getting their clothes dirty aren’t letting kids be kids. A creative, independent child needs to get her hands dirty by exploring in the sandbox, cooking, tumbling down the hillslope, finger-painting, etc.
If her dirty hands end up staining the hem of her skirt, you’ll have to heave a sigh of relief that you’ve got a washing machine. Let the machine do its job. It’s not how clean her clothes are all day that matters, but what she’s doing in them. You may want to look for a good washing machine and stain remover that does its job well.
When your daughter grows up with a sense of comfort in her clothing choices, she will be able to extend that feeling to her other decisions as well. In a world where being yourself and raising your voice to be heard is becoming more accessible and critical for women, a sense of ownership of who she is the most valuable lesson you can teach when you dress your daughter like a feminist.
And because clothes represent who we are and they’re so important in presenting us to the world, this begins with the clothes your daughter wears. How to dress your daughter like a feminist can begin right from choosing the color of her nursery closet dividers.
You can print out these charming nursery dividers in a neutral shade of green that’s neither pink nor blue! It’s important to send a positive, empowering message to kids through clothing and the decor you choose for them and that’s what Cute Rascals has set out to do.
If you’re also looking for a cute gift for your daughter, check out the link provided.
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