When it comes to the matter of what clothes are appropriate for children (particularly girls) to wear, people tend to have strong opinions. As kids get older and start expressing their own preferences, parents will have different limits on what they’ll approve.
One father on TikTok drew the line at his daughter’s outfit and people thought his reaction was hilarious.
A dad went viral after he refused to allow his daughter to leave the house wearing a crop top.
In the video posted by Will and Amy Casey, Mr. Casey immediately vetoed his daughter’s outfit upon seeing it. As soon as he saw her, he told her to get back in the house and put on a different top.
When she asked what was wrong with her shirt, he replied “Girl, your stuff’s hanging out. You gotta go in there and change, that ain’t happening.” He calmly dismissed any protests, and simply repeated that she needed to wear something else.
“The boys are gonna be looking at your stuff. You need to change,” he stated.
Viewers praised the father's reaction.
Most people either found it amusing or praised him for caring about what his daughter wore. The number one comment was “Awesome dad, most parents don’t care but this guy needs father of year award.” Others commended his parenting and told him that he was doing a great job.
Despite the majority of comments being positive, a few people had other opinions.
Mrs. Casey posted a follow-up video revealing that the initial TikTok had been a prank — their daughter had no intention of actually wearing the offensive shirt outside the house. In her follow-up video, she responded to some critical comments she had received.
“I’ve had multiple comments with people saying, ‘Oh yeah, right, let’s blame her. How about we start teaching our boys to be respectful?’ You know, that’s a really great idea. Too bad I don’t control every man in the world, huh?”
She also found several comments that were directed towards her daughter insisting that she was not her property and “girls should get to wear whatever they want to.” To which Mrs. Casey responded, “You’re absolutely right. But that’s not the world we live in today, baby. We live in a world of sex trafficking, child abductions… I’m protecting my kids.”
Ultimately, the original video seemed harmless and fun. Mr. Casey and his daughter weren’t fighting, he wasn’t yelling at her or threatening her, and it seemed like she knew her dad had her best interests at heart. However, some responses to the video showcased the ugly side of policing what girls wear in the name of modesty.
Teaching girls that they need to dress a certain way in order to be respected implies that girls who don’t are less deserving of respect.
Some comments on the Caseys’ video included ones like “That's right Dad, that's stuff’s for them Hussies as granny calls ‘em,” and “Good for you daddy. Teach that child how to be classy and earn respect from a man instead of being trashy like some girls are these days.”
Parents could talk to their kids about how other people might perceive them based on the way they dress, but assigning value to clothing is dangerous and veers into victim-blaming territory. Insinuating that someone is more likely to be assaulted based on what they’re wearing shifts the blame onto them, and teaches them that if they ever are attacked, they should have done something differently to prevent it from happening.
Presenting modest clothing as a way of protecting girls from creepy guys also teaches girls that their bodies are shameful and inherently sexual. This kind of harmful thinking leads to misogynistic dress codes that punish girls for existing in the clothes they’re comfortable in while telling them that their very presence is distracting and even “tempting” to their male peers.
As for the idea of modest clothing protecting girls from sexual violence, the sad truth is that the majority of sexual assaults happen in the victim's home and women are more likely to be perpetrated by somebody they already know as opposed to victims being snatched off the street by strangers.
In public, predatory men will be disgusting regardless of what their target is wearing, and girls shouldn’t feel like they’re ever at fault for being harassed. “My daughter is 8. Dresses appropriately and I still catch Grown Men looking at her! And not a little glance,” one comment on the Caseys' video read.
Ideally, clothing should be about comfort above all else. Every parent will have their own opinion on what their child should be allowed to wear in different contexts, and while this may sometimes lead to disagreements, that will usually just be the business of the family.
Hopefully, though, parents can also teach their kids not to judge others based on their appearances, and to respect people regardless of how they choose to dress.
Jessica Bracken is a writer living in Davis, California. She covers entertainment and news for YourTango.
This article originally appeared on YourTango