It was a typical Saturday night in mum-of-four Lauren Campbell’s home. Her fifteen-year-old daughter, Ashlee, was preparing for a night out, and her mother took a photo of her dressed up in a new top.
Lauren told Mamamia that Ashlee had used her own money from her part-time job to pay for the top, and she ‘d been with her teen when she bought it. And so, on the top’s first outing, a happy, smiling and confident daughter posed in the fruit of her labours, and a proud mum snapped a photo and shared it to her Facebook page.
Ashlee then went out to dinner and a movie with her girlfriends, and Lauren checked the comments on her page. They were not at all what she was expecting. Many commenters, it seemed, had an issue with the new top – and let Lauren know it.
“They were amazed that I had let Ashlee go out in a mesh top, ” Lauren explained. “I was gutted, because it was meant to be a proud mum moment, but there were so many negative comments, especially from women who were my own friends.”
The comments ranged from “why would you let her wear that”, to “you’ll be a grandma”.
Confused by the backlash, Lauren shared the photo in Mamamia's parenting group The Motherish, where she asked the group if they could see anything wrong with the outfit.
"This pic caused a sh*t storm on my FB," Lauren wrote.
"Don't we want to empower girls to own their stuff? That's how I'm raising my girl and she is one of the most level headed, smart, kind and I think beautiful young ladies."
Lauren said that she has always taught her daughter to, "Dress however you want. It's all about feeling good."
Which is why the negative comments about her parenting hurt Lauren even more.
"We were honestly gobsmacked. A post about a mum proud of how happy and nice she looked and the tables turned on us for “allowing “ her to go out dressed like that!"
Members of The Motherish group supported Lauren's decision to give her daughter autonomy over her attire.
"I'm more worried she will be cold," one member joked.
"I wore something similar as a teenager," said another.
"She is far more covered than I was at that age," one mum wrote.
Another member also made the point that the outfit reflects the fashion of today.
"It’s exactly what my three teenage girls would wear to a party or festival at the moment. It’s the fashion! She let you take her photo. She must feel beautiful! Such an achievement! Well done Mum!"
There was some discussion about whether anything less than head-to-toe coverage would 'attract the wrong sort of attention in public', but there was also a general acknowledgement that such an attitude was born of a different era. As Mamamia's own Head of Content Holly Wainwright said, "Your girl looks ace. And I agree with the commenter who remembers when we all went out in Wonderbras (well, actually, I was never quite confident enough for that, but lots of my mates did!). Youth."
But the real test of how outrageous this outfit was, is the reaction from the public: which was minimal. Lauren said that not only was Ashlee unperturbed after learning there had been online backlash to her outfit, she also reported that she had the perfect response to an older man who had commented that night, "You're **** hot."
Ashlee dismissively replied to him: "Cool story, bro."
Which, of course, is the perfect answer to all unsolicited opinions.
Surely we've evolved beyond "that outfit is asking for trouble"? What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.