They're not "butt cheeks," they're "sugar cookies."

In a conversation with one of my daughters, a few years ago, when they were both still in elementary:

Me: those shorts are too short, unroll them. (In my defense, booty cheeks were showing – we call them “sugar cookies”.)

Her: but then they have this ugly fringe.

Me: fringe looks cute. Denim cut-offs are in style (not really knowing if this is true).

Her: I don't want to wear them that way.

Me: well, then, you need to find other shorts, because that's too much leg.

Her: UGH!!! You say that about EVERYTHING!!! (stomping out of the room)


See, I'd call that a parenting win. Part of my job as her mom, in an era that pressures women to make our bodies public property, is to help her understand that it is her body and her choice, and that starts out by helping her see that her body deserves to have her think about whether or not she wants to show it. I tell them both, "no belly shirts or booty shorts, or your Dad and I will start wearing them."


I also taught them that people judge us based on first impressions, and if we want to have bright colors in our hair, or walk around with our sugar cookies showing, then we have to understand that people will make assumptions based upon how we look, and we have to show them who we are by trying even harder. I tell them that the amount of our bodies we choose to show also leads people to assumptions, and when they are grown ladies, they may choose to


wear booty shorts and belly shirts, but that I want them to really understand the messages they are sending and to be sending them by choice. They were too young to fully understand how complex that is. Now that they are both in high school, they make very different fashion choices, but they understand those choices so much more.


In a perfect world, women's bodies would not be public property, available for looking, judging, and constant commenting. In a perfect to world, we could wear whatever the hell we want, color our hair, ink our skin, pierce and modify whatever parts of our face we want, and no one would ever judge us until they get to know who we are inside.


In a perfect world.


We are not in a perfect world. People will judge me, my daughters, my sisters, our aunts, our grandmothers, our mothers, our nieces, and cousins by our hair, our shorts, our appearance. It is my job to help them live in the world as it is, while raising them to help change the world to what it could be.


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