The Reason My Daughter Hates Girls' Clothes Stunned Me

Photo: Cheryl Casey / Shutterstock
tomboy young girl

You know, eight is a weird, weird age to talk to kids. At eight years old, my kid is young enough to still be unaware of most of what goes on in the world but old enough to realize something is wrong.

Today, my daughter and her parents (all of us) were talking about kids’ clothing. One of her fathers piped up and mentioned that she doesn’t like to wear girls’ clothing. In fact, she prefers to go to the boys’ section.

"Why? The girls’ section has stuff that’s made to fit her, right?" I asked. 

I assume gendered clothing tends to be easier on body proportions, so it’s simpler as far as the shopping process goes.

This opened up a whole can of worms.

As a birth mom in an open adoption, I very rarely go to kids’ clothing stores because my daughter will not be there to try on the clothes I want to get her. So, we have to wait until she’s old enough to stop growing to go shopping.

As a result, I never really saw what kids are wearing. I just assumed we’d shop for goth clothes from Cyberdog and call it a day. You know, cybergoth clothes for kids. Until then, she’d wear jeans, shirts, dresses, and mainstream clothes.

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It was then I found out why my daughter doesn’t feel comfortable with most girls’ clothing:

  • First off, she hates swimwear made for girls. I was shocked to find out that most girls wear bikinis to the beach at her age. I had to wait until I was 12, and honestly, I still feel scared to wear them.
  • She doesn’t like the messages on girls’ shirts. Apparently, most girls wear includes phrases like "Mommy’s Little Girl" or "Daddy’s Sweetheart." Boys' clothing features things like "Future Rockstar" or "Genius."
  • Like her mother, my kid also doesn’t like shorts that ride up on your rear. Why are girls' and women's shorts like this? I don’t want to pay for a wedgie, and neither does my kid. Neither of us like the length, either.
  • She’s also not a fan of princess gear. Apparently, she finds most princess stuff pretty boring and feels like the girls are weak. I…Well, I was an Alice in Wonderland kid, myself.

Back when I was young, this stuff was everywhere, but not to this extent.

I mean, bikinis were starting to take hold at younger ages, but most parents who allowed it were given the side-eye by everyone else. It was not okay. But everything was generally still pink, still princessy, and had phrases like "Mommy’s Girl" on them.


If you take a look at photos of kids from the 90s, the lengths of everything were way longer. Kids wore Osh-Kosh overalls, baggy tees, and a lot of bold colors. The shorts were short, but they weren’t borderline booty shorts like today.

My daughter’s adoptive parents were right to tell her that she has the right to wear boys’ clothes. They also were right to tell her that they’d prefer her not to wear stuff that shows too much skin.

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As a parent, I feel really weirded out — and so does my kid.

You know, I don’t usually like to talk about stuff like this or put down fashion trends. I’m often on the cutting edge of edgy, and like to do weird things with my clothing.

When it comes to fashion, I usually live and let live. Things evolve, right?

I’m not going to lie. It really feels like fashion labels are sexualizing our kids and trying to encourage them to show more skin than they want to. The sexist phrases we’ve seen on kids’ clothing also make me feel like they’re trying to tell kids their roles in a really unhealthy way.

Even so, my gut instinct as someone who’s worked in fashion is to assume it’s all in my head. Maybe it’s not that bad. I’m old, maybe I just don’t "get it" like I used to.

But, what do I say when modern fashion makes my own kid uncomfortable?

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If my 8-year-old can feel there’s something wrong with how girls are dressed, we need to pause.

Kids are not dumb, and they know when something isn’t right. My daughter feels the same weird nakedness I feel when I wear mainstream women’s clothing. She feels objectified by girls’ clothing, too.

Bottom line?

My kid feels creeped out by female fashion standards.

We need to start listening when our kids tell us something is wrong.

My daughter was my proverbial canary in the coal mine. As parents, we owe it to our kids to help them get clothes that they feel comfortable and confident wearing.

So, why aren’t fashion houses aware of how bad they’re looking?

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.