Andrea Greb
June 24, 2014 12:09 pm

It seems that not a week goes by without some news story about school dress codes and whether or not they’re fair, but it’s a little rarer when an actual teenager weighs in on what should be considered appropriate dress for teenage girls. Bindi Irwin, the 15-year-old daughter of the late Steve Irwin, has voiced her opinion on the matter, saying “I’m a big advocate for young girls dressing their age.”

In an interview with Australia’s News Limited, Irwin shared what’s proven to be a somewhat controversial stance. “I mean, for me, I look around at a lot of young girls that are my age and they’re always trying to dress older,” she said. “Whether it’s wearing revealing clothes or hardly wearing any clothes at all. I feel really bad for them. It kind of has the opposite effect in some ways. It kind of does the opposite where it makes you look younger and like you’re trying too hard.”

Not everyone gets where Irwin is coming from. Australian actress Caitlin Stasey sparked a debate on social media, criticizing Irwin for “shaming” girls her age. She added, “Do we really think one person should be dictating how all others should dress or how to express themselves?”

While I believe in everyone’s right to choose the length of their own hemline, I also don’t think it’s necessary for teenage girls (or anyone, for that matter) to dress ‘sexy’ in the name of impressing boys or conforming to social pressures. It would be nice if we stopped selling clothing marketed to people who are technically still children with sexy ad campaigns. There’s so much pressure on teenage girls to look a certain way, it’s nice to hear a teenage girl speaking out in favor of not giving into the norm.

While I think it’s incredibly important that girls know they don’t need to show skin to fit in, I don’t think anyone should be shamed for their clothing choices, whether it’s by their teachers or by a peer.

If someone feels her best in jeans and a t-shirt, that’s great.  If someone feels better in shorts and a tube top because it’s summer and it’s hot and she likes wearing them, I don’t think that’s a problem either. The most important thing is to wear what makes you happy and comfortable. There are plenty of opinions out there about what teenage girls should be wearing—but the most important voice they listen to is their own.

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