Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dead Man's Daughter Talking


Are we really going to take 15-year-old Bindi Irwin to the gallows because she has an opinion on how her peers are dressing?

Did Miss Irwin suggest that women wear a burqa?  Has she written a slut-shaming blog?  Has she been quoted that women and girls should keep their opinions to themselves and only speak when spoken to?  No.

However, people seem to be telling Bindi Irwin that she should shut up.  She’s being told that her young opinion does not matter, or is even bad.  Imagine in this day and age, a 15-year-old girl is told to keep her opinions to herself.

In my (much older) opinion, I think this might just be a little worse than a girl suggesting that other girls her age cover their asses.

When I was Bindi’s age, I spent far too much time in my room reading beauty and style magazines aimed at teenage girls.  These periodicals were filled with articles about how to make my eyes up to look dangerously sexy.  How to wear a bra to everyone else’s pleasure.   How to walk in high heels.  How to appear confident and coy at the same time.  How to say things to please my boyfriend.
I’m thinking these magazines still exist today.  I’m sure the editors are still at work getting young girls to dress and act in a way that Bindi Irwin might not like.  Bindi and Bindi-like girls don’t have to take that advice nor do non-Bindi-like girls need to take Bindi’s advice.

I do think that women and girls should dress how they want.  It might not always work for them, however.  Job interview?  Dress how you want.  You might not get that job, though.  A young man showing eight inches of underwear probably won’t get that job either.

I also think that young women should be able to express themselves through actions and words and not just their clothing.  Bindi Irwin has done that.  She’s not throwing stones at homosexuals or women whose ankles are exposed.  She’s not donning a white sheet and burning crosses.  She’s not advocating revoking women’s right to vote.  She had an opinion.  She voiced it.  If you disagree, fine.  Wear what you want and don’t have Bindi for a friend.  I’m sure she would give this advice to a friend and would listen to a friend who had fashion advice for her.  She doesn’t have to act on it and neither do you.

It is far more important to help a young girl express her opinions in this world than to shut her down because once a girl has been silenced, it is unlikely she will share her opinion again.  This future silenced opinion could be far more vital than fashion advice.