There was a discussion in one of my Facebook groups today that I didn’t want to get involved in. There’s something about community Facebook groups that just seems to bring out the worst of everybody. But after hemming and hawing a bit I decided I had to say something.

The thread was started by a father who saw a teenaged girl wearing short shorts while out to eat with his daughters. He shared with the group that he had taken the opportunity of this young girl’s outfit to explain to his children why they should have more self-respect than to wear such things that show off body parts he felt should not be for public viewing.

Following his lead, many people agreed that yes, that was the right thing, and these girls who walk around dressed like that, how dare they?

The thread went on as people pointed out  that the only reason this girl would have for wearing that sort of thing was to attract attention from boys. Well, the original commenter said “trying to bring all the boys to the yard,” which is a really lovely way of putting it.

I pointed out that it is unreasonable to assume, based on the length of her shorts, that this girl lacks self respect. Moreoever it is a terrible thing to teach your children to judge others based on what they are wearing. I also pointed out that it is very possible that she was hot in the 40 degree humidex and decided to wear shorts, because she likes those shorts, or that maybe she just likes her ass – heaven forbid the teenager have body confidence.

People talked about this being inappropriate and we need to teach our kids that there are appropriate things to wear to school or work or whatever. Again, this girl was in a fast food restaurant. You have no information about what she wears when she’s doing anything else, nor is it any of your business.

And then the original dad tried to explain to me that this doesn’t have anything to do with feminism or women’s rights. Which, but the way, is bullshit. Any time you decide to go to a public forum and shame girls and women because you think that they’re being inappropriate that has something to do with feminism. I’m looking forward to this guy trying to teach two daughters to be proud of their bodies no matter what but not to display it lest random dads at the Subway see you.

It’s all been said much more eloquently that I can say it by the Stay at Home Feminist here.

Yes, Facebook Dad, you can teach your daughters what you see is appropriate, but using a random teenager that you know nothing about to start that conversation teachers your daughters to judge others based on their appearance, and that’s not cool.

(Photo via Creative Commons).

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