The Pointlessness Of Mothers And Daughters Dressing One Another

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It never gets old! And who can resist a story titled "The Mother of All Makeovers?"


Yet another "teenager-and-mom hate the way the other dresses; funded-MAKEOVER time!" article. And can there ever really be too many? This one is in the Daily Mail, and it runs according to formula: moms hate daughters' slovenly/goth/unflattering clothes and want them to wear something pretty' teens think the moms are frumpy and/or inappropriately youthful.

In this case, everyone looked pretty decent afterwards — and, in fairness, didn't look so bad beforehand, either — but the moms were uniformly more pleased with the transformation than were their daughters. This makes sense; the mothers were more inclined to be in ruts, whereas the teenagers tend to be expressing something, however obscure. Then too, there's no one less inclined to admit she likes something than a teenager.

But by their definition, stories like this don't really address the issue: these are always the sit-com version of the age-old dilemma, where black eyeliner is more inclined to reference Ashlee Simpson than any forces of darkness and obviously everyone gets along and is accomodating enough to do it in the first place. For truly fraught relationships, this would be unthinkable. Here, we see no veiled or perceived commentary on bodies or weight; no financial dynamics; no comparisons with a mother's own youth.

And the thing is, you know this won't change anything: they'll all go back to their old clothes and back to fighting and if they keep the new stuff, will maybe — maybe — pull them out once, if begged. And really, isn't that how it should be? There are teenagers, defining their identities, and adult women, asserting their authority. The battle may come down to clothes, but that doesn't mean changing the costumes really alters anything. Stories like this always entertain, because we see ourselves — or a cleaned-up version thereof — in them. And because we know it's a fantasy. But seriously, these moms should give their daughters some credit for their choices; this could have gone down a lot worse.

You Hate What She Wears. [Daily Mail]



Am I the only woman who played dress up, in a fun let's go shopping together and occasionally share clothes way, with her mother as a teenager? I think this Daily Fail story is indeed a boring media trope, about as original and exciting as writing about a cat stuck up a tree because there's nothing else happening that day, but the one interesting thing about it is the assumption that mothers and daughters always hate the way each other dresses and find it embarrassing/annoying. That wasn't the case for me, and I'm wondering if it's actually a common thing or just a manifestation of the patriarchal tendency to assume all women hate each other.