In the Bindi v Caitlin Twit­ter war there’s only one win­ner

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UP FRONT -

WHO IS the bet­ter role model for our teenage girls? A young girl who has ded­i­cated her life to wildlife con­ser­va­tion, or one who bares her nip­ples on Twit­ter? I know who I’d pick. Give me Bindi Ir­win over for­mer To­mor­row When the War Be­gan and Neigh­bours ac­tor Caitlin Stasey any day.

A spat be­tween the two has de­vel­oped fol­low­ing Bindi’s sug­ges­tion that girls her age should wear less-re­veal­ing cloth­ing.

This is what the 15-year-old said this week: “I look around at a lot of young girls that are my age and they’re al­ways try­ing to dress older. Whether it’s wear­ing re­veal­ing clothes or hardly wear­ing any clothes at all, I feel re­ally bad for them.

“A lot of times I want to grab these girls and say ‘Look... in 10 years you’ll re­gret this. Just dress like who you are. Don’t try so hard. A pair of jeans and a T-shirt is just as gor­geous and even makes you look classier’.” I to­tally agree. So why the at­tack from 24-year-old Caitlin, who was so in­censed by Bindi’s com­ments that she wrote her an open let­ter on Twit­ter.

“In 10 years you’ll wish you stood be­side your shared sex rather than be proud you be­lit­tled their choices and agency,” she wrote.

These days, you can’t crit­i­cise any young women of any­thing at all with­out be­ing ac­cused of be­ing “sex­ist” or deny­ing their “choices”.

What if the choices they are mak­ing are bad ones? What then?

For me, the is­sue is not so much about girls be­ing free to wear what they want with­out the fear of be­ing sex­u­ally at­tacked, but more about not walk­ing down the street with their bums hang­ing out the bot­tom of their mi­nis.

Bindi is not try­ing to make women who wear sexy clothes feel ashamed about it, but preach­ing a mes­sage about dig­nity and self-re­spect.

These are two things that young teens to­day seem to be lack­ing.

Walk down the street and you see girls in tight leg­gings and tiny crop tops who look as if they have for­got­ten to pop their skirts on. (When are they go­ing to re­alise that leg­gings are not the same as pants?). Or you see girls in the city late at night wear­ing mi­cro­mi­nis and drunk­enly stum­bling around on huge heels.

It is nat­u­ral that young girls will al­ways try to dress older than they are, but never be­fore have they had so many adult-style clothes to choose from.

Just look at some of the tween and girls cloth­ing on of­fer, and you’ll see what I mean. Take Aussie brand Bar­dot, which is sell­ing biker jack­ets, se­quin mini skirts, and leop­ard skin tights for girls as young as three. For eight to 16-year-olds there are “trashed” denim shorts, zip­pered leather-look skirts and faux-fur vests.

So I think Bindi makes a fair point. In any case, Caitlin is hardly in a po­si­tion to judge Bindi.

When you think how much Bindi has copped over the years, los­ing her fa­ther at a young age, and then grow­ing up in the me­dia spot­light, I think she’s do­ing very well.

Apart from a slightly alarm­ing ten­dency to talk about her self in the first per­son (“Bindi Ir­win is sin­gle,” she said in one in­ter­view), she seems to be pretty ma­ture.

Un­like Bindi, who posts pic­tures of her­self on In­sta­gram read­ing a book while sit­ting in a tree, Caitlin has courted con­tro­versy re­cently by post­ing top­less pho­tos on Twit­ter.

Sure, it might be all for a good cause – as part of the #FreeTheNip­ple cam­paign pro­mot­ing breast­feed­ing – but she has then ob­jected when people have made neg­a­tive com­ments about it.

Caitlin is hardly the “bizarre sex­ual rav­ing lu­natic” some have por­trayed her as be­ing, but she can hardly blame people for judg­ing her by her own tweets.

Some of them are very sex­u­ally ex­plicit and oth­ers are a bit bizarre. For in­stance, Caitlin might think it’s hip and pro­gres­sive to tell her fol­low­ers not to see their body as a “prison” and to “be dressed, be un­dressed, it is YOUR ves­sel” – but it’s not real life, is it?

I think her at­tack on Bindi – and those who have dared crit­i­cise her – was rude and wrong.

Give me Bindi and her wise words over tits on Twit­ter any­day. Blog with Susie at Susieo­ or fol­low her on Twit­ter @susieob

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