Day 135- The way teenage girls used to dress

I’ve mentioned before that I like reading The Simple Dollar. It’s a blog about personal finance and frugality, but there are also posts about other things as well. This week in his Ten Pieces of Inspiration, he put up the following picture

This was taken in Minneapolis circa 1946.

I tell you, I can’t stop looking at this picture. Two teenage girls. And yes! They’re in dresses. Because all women and girls used to wear dresses all the time.

Times have certainly changed haven’t they?

I have to admit I find the comparison between this photo and how modern teenage girls are depicted in media and encouraged to dress to be so jarring. And it isn’t just teens today, we’ve been going in this direction for a long time. I just cannot believe how different our society has become. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect my daughters to dress just like the girls in the above photo. I’m ok with fashion changes. But the level of deterioration in overall wholesome femininity just seems staggering to me.

I know that I recognized the deterioration in myself, when I realized that I felt completely uncomfortable in feminine dress, and this is a big reason why I started this blog. I knew that somewhere along the way something was stamped out of me, and I wanted it back. There is a way to be feminine and lovely without exploiting one’s sexuality. (And BTW, it doesn’t always have to be in a skirt. But there are lots and lots of women out there who never ever wear skirts or dresses and that makes no sense.)

If you are a gal who never ever wears a skirt or dress, I really think you should ask yourself why and try it. And not for a wedding or baptism, but for something simple. What is it about looking distinctly “girl” or “woman” that makes you so uncomfortable?

In addition to this, I think it is important that none of us become apathetic about the exploitation of girls and women. It’s ubiquitous at this point, and I have a real urgency to make sure my daughters and son know the TRUTH. That a female’s worth is not defined as a series of “good looking” body parts.

What do you think?

Have a wonderful day!



Filed under A Year in Skirts

12 responses to “Day 135- The way teenage girls used to dress

  1. Shannon

    Oh, you KNOW what I think! Haahaaa. Agreed, agreed, agreed!

    I’m all about doing what I can to begin to PUSH BACK and work to REVERSE the exploitation/objectification of women and sexualization of girls that has become rampant in our society.

    Education, speaking up, sharing the information … all weapons in the fight. We simply MUST demand more for our daughters (and,ultimately, our sons)!!!

    Okay, if I don’t stop there, you know I never will. 🙂

  2. Jessica

    My mother-in-law gave me a casual knee-length skirt for Christmas, and after reading your blog I’ve decided to incorporate skirts into my life!

    I work in a research lab where jeans are mandatory but I’m trying to wear them on weekends just hanging out.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. There is a group I follow on Facebook that sells little post-it notes that you can use to cover ads and things that objectify women that echoes the sentiments in your post. It’s called “Beauty Redefined” and their website is if you want to see the post-its.

    This line:

    If you are a gal who never ever wears a skirt or dress, I really think you should ask yourself why

    sums it all up for me – ask yourself “why”. Good question and one that I’m still answering but that I’m fighting against by trying to “dress up” a little whenever I go out. I am also working to reserve basic jeans-and-tee-shirts for those Mom days when I’m just doing for the kids (and want that to be evident) or doing heavy-duty cleaning at home!

    • Shannon

      LOVE the work of Beauty Redefined!

    • I LOVE Beauty Redefined and read all of their articles. I was on their site last week looking at those sticky-notes too! You’ve reminded me that I should probably go back and buy them since they were on sale. I would love to read your thought process as you incorporate more skirts and nicer clothing into your daily wardrobe.

  4. dwayne

    I read in the book “Dressing with Dignity” pants for females debuted on Paris runways in 1920(the year Blessed John Paul II was born). The next year, Pope Benedict XV deplored how people could follow trends if displeasing to Our Lord(though it was at least two decades before pants were even moderately embraced by females). As far back as 2003, I read pants on females were, at one point, used as a………sex attraction!

  5. Just wanted to pop back by to tell you that I put a- link to your blog on my post today. Eventually I’ll remember how to put you on my sidebar so you’re there all the time 🙂

    • Thanks! I wish this blog format allowed me to do that. I picked this one because I liked how a person can see three days at once, but I can’t do sidebars and other features….

  6. Dwayne

    Shannon, as much as the pro-pants crowd likes to say otherwise, pants actually do MORE to objectify women than skirts and dresses ever could. In fact, “Dressing with Dignity” author Colleen Hammond, not long after the birth of her first child, read a study done in the 1970’s on male reaction to females wearing pants. The results proved that male eyes are likelier to go where they shouldn’t if a female wears pants than if she wear a skirt or dress. Jessica, it is so good that you are incorporating skirts and dresses in your life that if you ever get the urge to wear jeans, a jean skirt/jean dress will be a perfect substitute.

    • I can understand your thoughts on this, but pants have been so accepted by the culture at this point. It really isn’t my goal with this blog to promote skirts as the only acceptable option. I know there are women out there who feel convicted to wear skirts 100% of the time probably because of the many good points you’ve mentioned.

    • Jessica

      Pants and closed-toe shoes are a necessity for daily work. Also, I quickly found out that skirts are COLD! I think I might need leggings in the winter, even in California.

      I’m not quite sure I understand the idea that pants are more sexy than skirts, unless we’re talking about the “leggings-as-pants” fad that I’m hoping will fade soon. I always thought skirts were more provocative because of “easy access” if you know what I mean. Sorry if that’s inappropriate, and maybe that’s just with mini skirts?

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