Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stilettos and 10-Year-olds: A Dad Says, "Aw, Hell To the Nah!"


This past Valentine’s Day I had the pleasure of escorting two lovely ladies out on a date—and neither was my wife. Relax: They were my daughters, and I accompanied them to their elementary school’s annual Daddy-Daughter Valentine’s Day Dance. This was the second year the school put on the event and my girls and I were even more excited this year as the dance approached; I even picked out new dresses for them—hip, girly ensembles for the two. Once we got to the party, the girls and I quickly hit the dance floor, twisting and jumping to a string of Miley Cyrus-Justin Bieber-Jonas Brothers hits, with a few Michael Jackson songs thrown in so us dads wouldn’t feel too out of touch.

After we had been there for a little while, I started noticing something that I found all too disturbing—some of these little elementary school girls, none older than 11, were wearing high heels. I mean, HIGH heels. Not some cute little wedge from Stride Rite. Ten-year-old Mari, in her sensible flats, noticed it, too. (Just like she notices all the other fifth graders with cellphones—which she won’t be getting for at least another three years!). One little fifth grader was sporting stilettos that had to be five inches tall! She would be the one who was nailed to the same spot on the dance floor the whole night because she had no idea how to actually move in the shoes. And the one whose dad went down on his knees a little later to try to massage the pain out of her feet. That one, with shoes that wouldn’t look out of place on the pole down at the local booty bar. Now, I’m not trying to pass judgment on another parent’s decision-making…but what alarming state of psychosis would possess a parent to send a 10- or 11-year-old daughter out of the house in five-inch stilettos?

As I looked around the gym/dance floor, it occurred to me that what I was looking at was my competition over the next 10 years. The enemy. As my wife and I attempt to mold our girls into self-assured, confident, cool young ladies who respect their bodies and insist that everyone else do the same, these other girls represent the tide we’ll be swimming against—a peer group wholly intent on growing up way too fast, eager to dip into grown-up things way before they're grown. We all can identify the many wicked influences that push them into this precocious womanhood—the media, clothing manufacturers, music stars, Lil' Wayne, even clueless parents. I could easily see the social groups forming before my eyes—Mari and her homies were the smart girls, but over there were the fast girls, wearing inappropriate shoes, lipstick on their faces, already gathered together in mean little whispering cliques, pointing, snickering. Having successfully shepherded my son through high school, I'm quite familiar with the “negative influences” in boy world—the too-cool-for-school dudes who spent more time smoking weed and trolling for girls than doing the things that would get them somewhere. But right here in front of me were the “negative influences” of girl world that I would soon be battling.

I was unnerved.

Mari and Lila, oblivious to the dangers that lurked just beyond their doorstep, held my hands, gazed up into my face, laughed, smiled, giggled innocently. I had an urge to sweep them into my arms and run back home with them. Lock them in their rooms, slip their meals under the door. But ultimately that too might do more harm than good, going the other extreme and trying to stash them away from the world. (We all saw Carrie, right?) No, the world and those scary little girls will soon blow through our lives like gale-force winds. All I can do is equip my little girls with special powers that I hope will enable them to march through those winds, relatively unscathed. Daddy love, Daddy affection, Daddy pride, Daddy admiration. Those are the powers I can pass along.

So bring on adolescence. The Chiles family stands poised and ready for it.

(In the immortal words of the late Bernie Mac: Oh Lawd!)

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  1. Have you seen the high heel shoes for babies? If it'supposed to be cute, I'm not finding it funny.

    I agree...let the girls take their time enjoying life and being kids. They will be grown up in no time. It's pathetic that some parents are willing to give in to their child's whining about wanting to be like everyone else.

    Hat's off to you both for raising little girls who love being their age.

  2. I'm surprised I haven't seen more of this here on the west coast where everything is big and blonde. :D

  3. I'm sad, terrified and hopeful all at the same time. I have a 3 year old that I have considered locking up and away to keep her from the madness - but I now it's unrealistic too. It's heart wrenching to see these little girls but I'm am glad to know that there are other parents out there like me and my husband that will be there to equip them with something better.

  4. I never got into heels. I can see why you're worried! We're having a little girl and my husband is already talking about buying a gun.

    And yes, I too have heard of heels for babies and I think they're CRAZY!!!

    haha, great post Mr. My Brown Baby!

  5. So sad that some parents are ok with the high heels, short skirts, shorts, etc.

    What struck me was your comment about those other girls being the competition over the next 10 years. I'm trying my best to prepare for that.

    Thanks for your thoughts this morning.

  6. It's so sad eh? Our society and lack of parenting (for some not all) are raising our children for us. The TV, peer pressure and unhealthy aquaintances are raising our children. Young girls are becoming young women without even having a chance to enjoy their youth.


  7. Great post. I AM passing judgment: stilettos for 10 year-olds...uh, sick!

  8. I'm co-conductor on the judgment train with Ang! That's absurd!

    Some grown ass women can barely manage stilettos, never mind 10 and 11 year old girls! I too see the "enemies" all around, and let me tell you, the Powers you're passing on to Mari and Lila will go a LONG way! So many of our little girls are taught that getting boys' attention (er go the high heels, the make up, and all that other foolishness) is simply a part of growing up! I hope these girls' grades are good, because they're gonna need damn good income and/or insurance to cover the foot surgery they'll have to get less than ten years from now, if they keep on this path!


  9. What you observed and experienced may or may not challenge our girls. You hit the nail on the head- the family influence-especially a fantastic father figure for his girls, allows them to not only have courage to make good choices, but also to choose a great spouse.

  10. First of all it's wonderful that you took your girls to the dance, there are so many that don't have someone to do that for them. Secondly I am ahppy that you are guiding your girls in a different path than those who are growing up waaay too fast. Not to say the other girls are the future hoochies of America but people need to let kids be kids and stop parading them around as if they are "mini-mes".


  11. When I was 10, I thought getting a pair of Dr. Scholl's was a big deal. I say this time and time again, if kids(I stress the word kids) do all of this now, what is there to look forward to? I say keep doing what you're doing because your girls will blossom into the confident young ladies you are nurturing now!

  12. I guess I'm the other side of the coin. I wore stilettos to my 6th grade graduation. My parents instilled great values in me. Never felt the need to compromise for popularity. Confident enough to buck the "popular" and support those who were treated poorly by the "popular". To me, it's just heels. It doesn't say anything about who these girls are or will be.

  13. My daughter is nine and I'll never forget the day Daddy said, "Our daughter will NEVER wear anything that requires someone to read her a$$! I mean, it's not like we have a lack of men checking out women's rear ends in this country!" Gotta be careful b/c often, the clothes make the (wo)man!

  14. Talking about 10 and 11 yr. old, I am a teacher in High School, you should see the girls parading in stilettos an much revealing clothing. It look like a freak show. Female parents also are an eyesore...


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