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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Why I Dread Swimsuit Season As a Mom of Girls

I dread swimsuit season; usually because it results in me begging my 9-year-old to help me push and pull and shove my body parts so I can manage to maneuver out of an ill fitting suit in an all too small dressing room.

However, I have a new issue with summer swimsuit season -- judgy adults, especially those who feel entitled to comment on the swimsuits of kids.

Yes, those grown-ups do exist.

I've sat near them at pools and eavesdropped as they voiced their displeasure about the suits worn by pre-teen girls. "I'd never let my daughter out of the house in something like that," they say with an eye roll, before they go back to slathering sunscreen on their brood of boys.

The other day, I even had an acquaintance tell me, "I'm glad your daughters have modest swimsuits. Your job as a parent is to protect their modesty." Granted, they were in one pieces at the time, but have I been transported back to the 1800's?! (Side note, I let my girls wear two pieces too.)

And, I've received my fair share of criticism for allowing my daughters to wear two pieces too. My youngest, C, wants nothing to do with wearing a swimsuit this season.  She says they are too tight -- no matter the size.  So, before I hear another well-meaning or ill-intentioned mom, say"I would never let my daughter wear a two piece suit," please know that everyone is just lucky my kid is wearing one at all.

But the condescending comments of these adults don't just stop with swimwear.

I've read their comments on Facebook posts in which they -- along with an army of their grown friends -- pick apart a 10-year-old's dress as being too tight or her shorts as being too short. "What is that little girl wearing?" they inquire. "Where is her mother?" they question. "Girls today dress tooo sexually," they state as they look down their noses.

I've seen news article after news article about girls being reprimanded and sent home from school because their clothing was "distracting" to the male students. To this day, I have never seen one of these young ladies in an outfit that showed a body part more than her shoulders and legs. And yet, I've read the comments on these articles from adults who criticize and judge and offer such phrases as, "she's asking for it."


Attitudes and comments such as these make me fearful. Why do we feel it is okay to tear down our daughters? Why do we go out of our way to make them feel uncomfortable and to second guess their bodies? Why do we teach them that their bodies are the cause for the poor decisions of others?

I worry for young girls everywhere and for my own.

I worry that one day, my daughters will be outside happily splashing in the sprinklers or swinging carefree on the monkey bars or riding their bikes as their innocent laughter fills the air or sitting in a classroom ready to learn, and some judgy person will feel the need to comment on their bodies. I worry this judgy person will offer unsolicited remarks -- "Your dress is too short. That shirt is too tight. You're asking for it. Where is your mom?" And, since I agree that my job is to protect my daughters, I hope I am there that day to screw that judgy person's head on straight.

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