Q: I’ve noticed my 14-year-old daughter is choosing clothing that, in my eyes, are meant to be
worn by older women like crop tops, short shorts, tight fitting shirts and everything in between!
When I express my concern she accuses me of not wanting her to be proud of her body. Her
friends dress like this too. As Halloween approaches, I’m already concerned about the costumes
she’s considering. I fear a very revealing Halloween costume will put her in a lot of danger. I’ve
always given my daughter room to freely express herself, and I don’t want to police her in a way
that strains our relationship. Why are these young girls in such a rush to grow up?!
A: In this age of pervasive social media, it’s understandable that teenagers will act differently
than their parents did during adolescence. The media has much more influence on your daughter
then it likely did on you. The over-valuation of women’s sexuality while simultaneously
undervaluing our other qualities and accomplishments points girls in the direction of embracing
this sexualization, and even commodification (e.g., marketing ourselves on IG like a product) of
themselves, in an attempt to normalize it and gain broader acceptance from their peers. Take the
opportunity to 1) discuss the positives and negatives of social media’s influence on our self-
confidence/self-esteem, 2) learn together about the body positivity movement and how you both
might want have it influence your own perspectives of self and others, and 3) discuss the safety
benefits of age appropriate style choices. This way, your daughter will feel that you are working
with her instead of against her in her daily, as well as Halloween costume, style choices.