• Naked Proverbs

You can't wear that! (Your daughter's dress code)

In Episode 003 of the Naked Proverbs podcast Rich and Nik discuss what is and isn't appropriate for girls to wear.

Nik: Welcome back to the Naked Proverbs podcast where we unclothe the truth about Black love, family and marriage. My name is Nik Scott and I’m here with my husband…

Rich: What's going on? It's your boy rich. And today we are about to talk about daughter's dress code.

Nik: Yes. Those little girls, what they wear. What they sell and in the stores. We're going to be talking about all of that today.

If this is your first time joining us on this podcast, and even if you’ve been listening for the past three weeks, it is very important for us to let you all know that we are not licensed therapists or counselors. We have just been in this thing for a long time and we have some experience in this. So, we want to share our experiences and our advice on we've learned over the years.

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Rich: You know what we got to do? Right?

Nik: What's that?

Rich: We got to take time and say thank you to all our listeners.

Nik: Thank you listeners. We thoroughly have enjoyed these past three weeks and we appreciate you appreciating our effort that we're putting into this podcast every week.

Rich: Reality is we keep coming back because of you, because we could sit and talk to ourselves all day, every day like we've always done anyway.

But because of you tuning in, because of you and your comments, it makes us get excited. It makes us want to give more.

Nik: It really does. The engagement that we're seeing on our social media, on our Instagram and our Facebook page, it really does motivate us. And yeah, we talked to ourselves for years. We could keep on doing that.

The topic for today is a daughter's dress codes, and it's homecoming season, so we're going to be doing a lot of homecoming dress shopping, and we know what that could entail.

Sometimes our daughter's wanting to get something that might be what some would consider inappropriate risqué. I remember our oldest daughter's first homecoming, and she had on that red velvet dress and it had the split in the front.

Do you remember that?

Rich: It looked hot.

Nik: Yeah, it was velvet. But we got a lot of pushback from other parents.

Rich: We did, and you know what? I didn't care then. And I definitely don't care now.

For me, it's pretty simple. I cut a check. My young ladies find what they want to wear. You make sure it's approved and they go have fun because to me that's what it should be about. It should be about them having fun more than it is about what they're wearing or these crazy beliefs that they need to wear certain things, and we're going to talk more about that when we get to that.

But I mean, homecoming season, you only get what, eight of them. In high school if you graduate on time. Now there's some people, I mean, I had a couple friends, Mike, I remember you, bro. He looked like a grown man. I'm talking full beard. I mean, in the ninth grade. Uh, so he probably got held back a couple of times, so he probably got an extra homecoming in there.

But for the average person, they get four homecomings during high school. Did I say eight the first time?

Nik: Yeah, you said eight.

Rich: Good Lord, how many years have I been in school? You get four homecomings and a couple of more because if you were cool like me, I got a couple proms. I feel like it should be about the experience and them having fun more so than about, you know, anything else. Because once these days are gone, they're gone. Reality is there are school dress codes and schools tell our daughters and our sons, but more so our daughters what they can and cannot wear. And I think one of the most frustrating things I have read is that it has very little to do with what they're really wearing and the impact people believe it's going to have on the young men that are in these schools, the impact that it's going to have on teachers, male teachers, pedophiles apparently R Kelly's.

You look at my child, being turned on by a little 15-16-17-18-year-old child, then you need to go get some help because there's something wrong with you, but instead we make it seem like there's something wrong with the young ladies and what they wear.

Nik: I think for me, because I was a teenage girl who was told what to wear what not to wear. I was told by my mom on many occasions to change my clothes. I think for me it's already hard enough as a teenager trying to deal with accepting your body and your body image.

We all, I don't care what woman or girl you are, we have all had to struggle with accepting our body image and our body type, no matter what it is. We could’ve been the one of the quote unquote finest girls in high school.

Yeah. I wasn't one of the fine girls in high school. I wasn't. But even they struggled with their body image.

So, I think for me it's more about the, I guess the, the pressure that we're putting on girls to make sure that everybody else around them is comfortable instead of reinforcing these positive body images. It's like something is wrong with you. Because you're making this young man or this grown man feel a certain way because you have on a tank top.

Rich: But reality is we have teenagers now, but they haven't always been teenagers. When our girls were young, you know, we still gave them a freedom to choose what they were wearing to a point, because you have to remember when you have young children, you as a parent are more than likely purchasing their clothes.

So, you have already viewed everything that they made want to wear, whether it's polka dots and stripes or you know, solids and they want to mix and match all that together. Cause that's really the worst you get. And when kids are little reality is you picked it out. So, you don't really have to say a lot.

And it's more of like for me, being able to be comfortable with my child looking like a clown walking out of the house. And her favorite shirt or, when they had those rubber boots, they'd want to wear the rubber boots year around, even though they were rain boots and it wasn't raining. It was middle of the summer and their feet were hot and funky and sweaty in them rubber boots.

But I had to understand that was really not that big of a deal and it was helping them build their identity and helping them have confidence in who they were.

Nik: When our girls were little, I didn't pick their clothes. When we went shopping, I allowed them to pick their own clothes. When they got dressed for kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, it didn't matter all the way up until now.

I allowed them to pick their own attire. Now, obviously it wasn't just a free for all. I kind of gave them some guidance around what's appropriate to wear and when, but I always go back to that self-expression that comes with the way that you dress.

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Rich: We've all seen the kids that are running around in the street with their Halloween costume on in June.

Nik: Yeah. And you know, there's a lot of parents, and especially, let's be clear, Black people were the ones we, some of the main ones that will pass judgment or make comments to our partners or whoever we're with about the, the child running around in her cowboy costume in June.

When in reality, I think it's healthy to allow your children to express themselves in that way when they're young.

Rich: I think they don't have a lot of ways to express themselves. So, what better way than something that's safe. Something that you do ultimately control. Because listen. My five-year-old daughter wasn't wearing anything that I hadn't already purchased.

It wasn't like she went to the mall, jumped in my car, you know, and bought some clothes like she could do now. She was literally wearing things that I had already purchased. So sometimes I think as parents we have to get over ourselves and allow our children to express who they are.

Nik: Because children are free and that freedom starts to get taken away from us the older we get, and then we become adults. It's almost like we're these robotic brainwashed people who just do whatever we're told to do or what we have been told to do. Instead of allowing our kids that freedom of expression from the time that they're young all the way through. high school.

Let me back up just a little bit and talk about my experience and the images that I saw women in my family. My family are very expressive people and there was not a lot of restrictions on what I saw my mother wearing versus my aunts and my older cousins. They had no problem expressing their femininity and/or their sexuality with the way that they dressed.

I remember my mother wearing these leather pants. She always had leopard print, so it was never a real conservative type of dress. So of course, when I come of age and I start to buy my own clothes. I myself, don't dress conservatively. I don't wear skirts to my ankles and turtlenecks up to my, what is this? My ear lobes. I am very liberal with the way that I've dressed. So, of course my daughters would want to be that way. And I think there is something to be said about just accepting who you are and expressing yourself with your attire.

Rich: But I think that there are still limits with that.

Because, see, for me, I came from a very different environment. Uh, as I've mentioned before, I come from a very strong Christian background and I grew up in the church. So, for me, there were a lot of limitations that were placed on women. Um, what they could wear when I was growing up. You know, the women in the church didn't have fingernail polish.

They didn't have lipstick, they wore dresses that probably went to, at least their knees. They probably didn't go to their ankles, but they went to their knees. And that's what I saw every day. So that was normal to me. So for me, when I went off to college in Atlanta, Georgia, and honestly, probably before that, maybe because, you know, I did go to school and I went, you know, the normal places that people go, I saw women that were dressed all kinds of ways, and I've never been one to pass judgment on anyone.

So, I was like, hey, it's kind of neat that they can be who they want to be and it's not this cookie cutter or this, uh, environment where they've been told this is what you're supposed to do. Because I would say that even in the church, some of that has to do with men. It has nothing to do with women dressing provocatively.

It has everything to do with men not being in control of themselves. So, it's easier for them to say, we want you to dress a certain way because I can't control myself, or I've been taught I can't control myself. So, the easiest way for me to control myself is to control you. So, when it comes to dress code, even when our children were younger, I struggled with some things.

You know, when my little girls wanted to get their toenails painted or wanted to wear lipstick, or when they became of an age that we allow them to wear makeup, these were things that I had to look at differently than just the one side of view that I had from growing up. And I think though, for me the most important thing has always been for me to teach my daughters yeah, clothing, makeup, nails, done hair done a certain way doesn't make you who you are. It's a part of the experience of who you are, but it's not you. So be confident. Whether your hair is done or not. Be confident whether you have the newest, nicest Louie bag or not, because those things are nice.

You know, if you feel like you need to wear a mini skirt to attract a man, then you're missing something because your clothing shouldn't be what attracts anyone.

It shouldn't be the thing that you know people look at and they all of a sudden know everything about you because they don't really know anything. So, to me it's like building that confidence to understand that. It's a part, but it's not who you are.

Nik: It's not who you are, but it helps to shape who you are.

I think for me, the biggest thing that I want our daughters to understand is that there are appropriate settings for certain settings.

Rich: Definitely, right.

Nik: So, uh, our daughter's homecoming dress was appropriate for homecoming. But it's not appropriate for her to wear to the luncheon that we go to every year.

You understand? So, there's dress codes everywhere, and I also want to impress upon them that yes, it is not up to us to make men feel comfortable with what we're wearing.

Rich: Definitely.

Nik: However. You need to be aware with how you feel when you wear a certain thing and if it makes you comfortable that men are ogling at you, because for whatever reason, I don't know if this piece is left out of the how you raise your sons handbook, but men, for whatever reason, feel like they don't have to exert any type of control if a woman walks by wearing a certain thing, it's not up to me. It's like control you.

At some point in this process of raising children and training children has become respectable and respectful young women and men. Somebody needs to sit down with these boys before they become men, to teach them how to be a respectful young man towards women.

And if you can't control yourself, your nature starts rising because somebody has on a V cut shirt or they're showing a little cleavage. Or even if there's cheeks hanging out. That's not up to me.

Rich: How can someone teach something that they themselves have not lived? Uh, because in our culture, things are so accepted from men, their behaviors, you know, with the current movements that are going on, a lot of things are being brought to light.

But there are a lot of things that even I myself can say, I did that and I didn't realize what I was doing, or I said that I never even considered how that made that woman feel. And you know, as I listened to the radio the other day and they were talking about, is it okay to look at another man or woman when you're with your spouse...

And long story short, the conversation was more about men staring at women that they see or find attractive. And to hear men and women making it sound like it's okay to literally just drool over people, uh, over women was kind of weird and offensive for me as a man to hear. Because all I could think about was what if that were my daughter?

Or what if that were my wife? Uh, would I want them to be treated it like that? And unfortunately, this is a process that is not going to be a quick process where we go from an environment of men looking at women and seeing them as eye candy or uh, seeing them as just this body or just this beautiful, beautiful thing, but then able to understand that they're human, that they have feelings and opinions and all these great things that make them who they are.

And until more men stand up and say this and accept the fact that, you know what? We have some growth. We have some room for improvement. And until that happens, then there'll continue to be issues with school dress codes where young girls are being called out for wearing a tank top. But young men aren’t, where it's 95 degrees outside and you expect young women to walk around in turtlenecks and dresses to their knees, their ankles, but you're okay with boys wearing shorts and flip flops or whatever the case may be.

And I think that ultimately. It requires adults and parents to change that. It’s changes, like you said, by us having those conversations with our daughters and those that have sons, having those conversations with their sons, you know, it's not okay for your son to be looking at a woman and, or a young girl and whistling and catcalling and saying things that are offensive because ultimately it's something my dad told me when I was young was.

If you wouldn't treat your mother or your sister that way, you shouldn't treat anybody else that way. And that has stuck with me over the years that, well, I wouldn't want someone to treat my mom like that, or my sister, or now my wife or my daughters or my nieces. So why should I act that way?

Nik: The double standard goes far beyond just the school dress codes.

Um, I know. I was told to change my clothes. I have told my daughter, one of my daughters to change her clothes, uh, on a number of occasions. And for me, having her change her clothes wasn't so much of that’s inappropriate. It was more of it's inappropriate to go to school because we know that if you wear a tank top that looks like that spaghetti straps or whatever it is that's a violation for you, but I would dare say that you've never been asked to change your clothes? Even our other daughter she is a track athlete. Those little boys run all over the track field during practice and every other time with no clothes on, shirts off.

Rich: I'm offended because they have muscles and they'd be looking all like I used to 50 years ago.

I'm not 50 old, but, um, you know, I mean. I feel like just like a young male can be turned on by a physical attraction. So can a young woman.

Nik: Exactly.

Rich: So, while we're out here at track practice and you got your shirt off and you got the sweat glistenin…but seriously, you know, it's that double standard.

And to me. It's not just about clothing, but we focus on that. Well, we have double standards like that when we are holding our young women to a different standard. We are creating separation that makes them feel something about themselves that will, I'm not saying my daughter should be able to run around the track with a shirt off or in her sports bra because I don't think that's okay either, but I think that there is a fine line that we must understand that we can't hold our young men to a different standard.

And then expect things to change. We can't with our daughters though, like I said, when they were young, we kind of controlled a little bit, but we still gave them freedom as they've gotten older.

I've actually, I would say, had to control more so because they do have much more freedom. Our oldest daughter has had a job for a couple of years and she's had her own money and she's gone out and bought stuff and snuck it into this house.

And the first time I see is when she's headed off to school or to work or a date, whatever. And I'm like, Whoa, where did this come from? Who approved it?

Nik: But it's gotta be interesting for you as the father because I think that, let's be clear, I'm much more liberal when it comes to their clothing and my clothing than you are.

And to see our daughters grow from little babies to women. Our oldest has womanly things about her, so it's gotta be like, oh my gosh, that's my daughter. I don't want to see her in shorts that short or…

Rich: You know, I think it was, how old were they when we said they could start wearing one- or two-piece swimsuits, like...

Nik: 13 or 14 somewhere in there.

Rich: And I think for me, that was one of those large steppingstones for me. You know, one of those large, uh, steps forward in understanding that first of all, you choosing to prevent your child from wearing certain things is not going to prevent your child from whatever you think is going to happen because they're wearing it.

If your child wants to have sex, they're going to have sex, whether you have them tied up in the basement. Or you are more lenient about what they wear. It's not going to change that. That's not what stops someone from having sex. I always think of myself; you know, I grew up in the church. I've said that a lot, right?

Because I did. I left home at 18 and went to Atlanta, Georgia. I went from a house of two parents that raised me to be respectful to be all these things. But at the end of the day, I did a lot of what I did as a teenager out of fear of the consequences from my parents. Not because I ever thought about my choices.

So, I have tried to raise my children to be able to think for themselves, because when I got to Atlanta, I was bald, but I let my hair down and I lived my best life. I tried. Because there was no fear of my parents telling me I couldn't or I shouldn't, and I didn't have that filter to understand that my choices had consequences because I didn't really grow up realizing my choices.

I just made choices based off someone else's opinion. So, my big goal, even in how my daughters dress is that they can understand choices have consequences, and they may not always be positive. There's nothing that says you can't wear a miniskirt and your boobs out the first day of work.

However, you may not have a second day of work. So, understand that you can wear and act however you want in life, but that comes with consequences. Sometimes positive and negative. You can't think that because you are open minded that everyone you deal with is open minded.

Nik: I agree with that. I still go back to what I said earlier about our daughters, anybody's daughters understanding how they feel because there are girls, there are women who do dress to get the attention of a man. I know when I dress, I dress the way that I dress because it feels comfortable to me and I like it.

And as long as you don't feel any type of way about it, I'm good. Like if I'm confident and comfortable in it, I feel like I look good, you feel like I look good and you're comfortable with me wearing it because this is a different topic, but there are a lot of husbands that try to dictate what their wives can and cannot wear based on what they believe are, you know, coming from the male lens how other men are going to look at them.

But for me and us, if you don't have a problem with it…

Rich: I think you need to wear… what's that thing that goes all the way from the top of your head all the way down…

Nik: A burka?

Rich: Yup. I want you to wear a burka. And you know what though? I've had to grow, uh, in my own views when it comes to dress code for my daughters, what is acceptable and what's not acceptable.

That doesn't mean that I accept everything. You know, our tried to walk up out this house the other day in a tee shirt dress that I felt was a little short and inappropriate for school after she had just had an issue with dress code in school the day before. So, you know, I am not as lenient as you may be, as you said earlier, but I'm also more openminded to understanding my daughters and what they wear.

As long as they're confident in what they're wearing and as long as they are okay with what they're wearing, then who am I to say you can't wear that. But what is really my reasoning behind it? And I think that's the conversation I had to have with myself was why am I saying that's inappropriate?

I don't think that you should be walking out my house with your booty cheeks out that's not an option. But. That doesn’t mean that when my daughter goes off to college next year, that she won't choose to buy some shorts with booty cheeks out if that's what she wants to do, and as long as she understands and is confident and what she's wearing, who am I to say that you can't walk around with the booty cheeks out.

If the government isn't going to arrest you or give you a ticket for indecent exposure, who am I to say that you can't do it either.

And to me it's like a woman can't be confident in what she's wearing. Because she also has to be concerned with how men are going to perceive her. And instead of us ever having conversations with our young men and our old men in ourselves about our behavior, we once again expect women to change what they're doing.

And it's kind of a very negative thing when you stop and think about that, that no, we don't sit here and hold men accountable for cat calling and. Staring and drooling and having all these things that we say and do. Instead, we tell the one that will, you shouldn't wear that.

Or we tell women that you need to wear a burka because we haven't been taught, and this isn't just a young man thing or a young boy thing.

Men have not been taught to control themselves because that's really what it comes down to is a lack of self-control. So, for me, I will always say that my daughters should be able to wear whatever they want. But like I said, I'm not so naive that I'm going to say, you can wear whatever you want, and that doesn't put you at risk because it could put them at risk.

Because we don't live in a society that thinks like I do. We should because it'd be much better. But we live in a society where men are allotted the opportunity to say and do things that are not appropriate. If your child was wearing sweatpants, jeans, or bikini, if someone's going to take advantage of them, they're going to take advantage of them.

If they want to have sex, they're going to have sex. Like those things don't stop because of the clothing they wear.

Nik: And the other thing that I do with our daughters when they want to challenge me about what they're wearing is why do you want to wear it? Why? Why do you want to wear the tee shirt dress to school? Is it because it's cute? Well, it gotta be more than because it's cute. And until they can have those mature conversations with me and until they can truly understand that there are some consequences that are associated with the way that women dress, they don't get to just walk up out of this house wearing whatever they want with booty cheeks hanging out.

Thanks so much for tuning into this week's episode. We want you to have a truly happy marriage, and we encourage you to support your daughters in their dress codes so that they can have healthy self-esteem and that healthy admiration for their body.

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