We don’t have access to this one particular photo that Us Weekly’s “experts” are weighing in on, but you can see it on Us Weekly’s site. It’s a photo from this past weekend of Angelina, Zahara and Shiloh enjoying a little girls’ day out in Los Angeles. Shiloh is dressed in a little bowler hat, jeans, sneakers, shirt, cardigan and apparently, a tie? But I can’t see the tie. Whatever. Anyway, Us Weekly convened a panel of experts to determine whether or not Shiloh’s tomboy style is actually devastatingly horrible. Oh, yes. These are just some of the words used: defy societal norms, ostracized, anxiety, poor academic performance and repressing. All because Shiloh dresses like a little tomboy and not a living doll with perfect princess dresses.
Are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sending the wrong message to their 3-year-old daughter Shiloh by often dressing her up like a little boy?
Yes and no, therapists tell UsMagazine.com.
“Shiloh at three years old may very well be expressing her preference for certain clothing and playing a role in what she wears. This is quite healthy as she is learning to make choices and think independently,” Manhattan psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, who pens a column in Metro newspaper called “No More Drama,” tells Us of the girl, who was photographed last weekend in a tie and bowler hat. (Big sis Zahara, 5, donned patent leather boots with heels during the same outing.)
“If though, Brad and Angelina are dressing Shiloh in boys clothing to make a social or fashion statement, I suggest they stop,” Alpert continues. “It’s never a good idea for parents to defy societal or cultural norms at the expense of their child to make such statements — it comes with a cost.” (Pitt and Jolie have used their relationship to take a stand against inequality, saying they won’t wed until gay marriage is legalized.)
The cost, Alpert explains, could include Shiloh getting, “picked on or ostracized by her peers, potentially leading to social problems, anxiety, and poor academic performance” when she enters school.
Carol Tuttle, a psychotherapist and the author of “Dressing Your Truth-Real Beauty for Real Women,” says Shiloh’s style is “similar to a look Avril Lavigne made popular, and we still felt Avril’s feminine nature coming through.”
But, “if Angelina is choosing her daughter’s clothes… she could be repressing her daughter’s true nature,” continues Tuttle to UsMagazine.com.
“As parents, when we raise a child more true to our tendencies, personality traits, and nature rather than our children’s nature, we perpetuate the potential for a child to rebel in their teen years in an effort to be true to themselves,” Tuttle says.
That said, “Picking out their own clothes is a very healthy activity for a little 3-year-old girl,” Tuttle adds.
[From Us Weekly]
Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about with this, since I’m not a mother and I have never known what it’s like to raise a little girl. But I was once a kid with style issues, so I feel pretty confident saying this: leave Shiloh alone, for God’s sake. She’s a little girl! She looks like she dresses herself, and the combinations she comes up with must endlessly amuse her parents. Right now, she is probably going through a little tomboy phase, like I went through, and like many girls go through. And sometimes that tomboy phase lasts a lifetime and those girls grow up to be stellar athletes or pantsuit-wearing kick-ass businesswomen, or even, (gasp!) pant-wearing lesbians. After I went through my tomboy phase, I insisted on wearing dresses for like two years. And I turned out fine. Sort of. But whatever problems I had don’t have anything to do with a tomboy style phase!
UPDATE: As some of you have pointed out, shortly after Us Weekly put this article online, they changed the headline and the text to make it reflect a more “she’s just a kid, leave her alone” vibe. My guess is that a similar article probably appears in the current issue of Us Weekly, though, and I’m glad we caught it in the original “repressed” state.
Shiloh, throughout the years: with her family in NY on January 6, 2010 & with her dad on December 28, 2009 (credit: INF); with her dad on May 19, 2008; with her mom on August 8, 2009 (credit: Fame and Pacific Coast News).