My little girl wanted a bikini. She is six years-old. My child wanted a bikini as her swimwear. I was not ready for this. She wanted one so badly she threw an hour-long tantrum in the department store (one whole hour) until I caved and bought her one. “Bad Mom! How dare I give in to my child – right?” – probably! Then because I bought her one, my four year-old also wanted one … as usual.
To be fair to me, the children’s bikini top is long enough to meet the bottoms and it has a modesty skirt over the bottoms so it’s basically a three-piece and is definitely more modest than some one pieces – you know the ones I mean, where the sides are cut out – seriously, unless you’re being paid to model that, do real people even wear those? I’m genuinely asking? What is it’s purpose?
Moving on …
I ended up buying her two costumes. *More Gasps* One was the bikini and the other was a full modest one-piece. The rule is that she is not to wear the bikini outside the walls of our home and she isn’t allowed to wear it if we have visitors to our home either.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know I’m coming across as ultra-conservative but the fact is that I wear a bikini (when I have to wear a bathing suit). The difference is that I am old enough to make that decision, the decision about how much of my body I put on display, and I’m old enough to live with the consequences of that decision. I know that there are more than a few perverts on the beach, hiding behind their shades, ogling the women, I know that. She doesn’t.
What I am not comfortable with is my six-year old daughter displaying her body with innocent abandon! It doesn’t feel right to me. Not because she shouldn’t be proud of her body, she should, but because I want to protect her from being objectified and ogled by sickos!
In a perfect world, we are told that women should feel safe and free to wear what they want, say what they want, be what they want and do what they want without fear. In fact, there is an entire movement “Still Not Asking For It”. It’s an inspired movement, very powerful and so right. Please google it, the images are shocking but completely on point.
Unfortunately the reality is that it doesn’t matter what you wear or don’t wear, there will most likely be some pervert out there objectifying you as a woman. I think we can all agree that the days of innocent abandon are almost gone. As cute as the kids look in their bikinis, and swimming costumes, there are just too many bad people out there who do horrific things to innocent and vulnerable people, that my child wearing her cute little two-piece fills me with anxiety and fear.
As a mother, I do not want my perfect daughter to unknowingly be objectified and ogled. That’s my choice and my duty as her mother. To protect her.
I don’t want them to know about such things. I want to preserve their innocence as much as I can for as long as I can. As it is I’ve had to have the “please stay close to mommy in this shopping mall, someone might steal you from me” talk. That’s not a talk anyone wants to have with their child is it? But it is necessary.
I don’t want to have to say to her, “You can’t wear that bikini because some sicko will take a picture of you in it and perve over it forever, and probably share it with his other sicko friends on the internet and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” I really don’t. Unfortunately that’s the reality of the world we live in now.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not having a go at anyone who does things differently to me, or thinks differently to me. That’s your prerogative. Everyone does things their own way, everyone has their own line in the sand on these issues. This is just my family’s stance. This is our line.
I started writing this post a week ago, and then I decided to do a bit more research to see if I was just being ultra-conservative or maybe I had gone a bit overboard with the protectiveness. So I ran a poll on Twitter and the results did surprise me.
I genuinely thought the ‘unacceptable’ vote would be a lot higher but if you read the comments you will see that a lot of the parents who commented said that the word ‘unacceptable’ was maybe a bit harsh and they opted for the ‘unnecessary’ option instead, which I also agree with. As swimwear, why would a child need to wear a bikini even if we are to disregard the whole ‘protect your skin from the sun’ debate which is a whole other can of worms.
My daughter doesn’t like it – my stance on this. She doesn’t see why I won’t let her wear a bikini at school. She doesn’t understand why mommy won’t let her do an ‘unboxing’ video for ‘the blob’ (I despair, I really do!) to put on YouTube. They don’t understand why ‘so&so’ at school doesn’t have to wear tights under her dress like they do. They don’t understand why I won’t let them go on a random unaccompanied playdate, or sleepover. They don’t understand why I won’t let them watch certain programmes. They don’t understand why I scream at them in fear when they take five steps too far away from me.
I don’t mind if they aren’t happy with any of that. It’s okay. I can live with that. I can live with being their protector.
Maybe I am too protective, too conservative, too old-fashioned. Maybe. Maybe not.
These are my views, my opinions. I don’t judge people who allow their kids to wear bikini’s in public. I genuinely don’t. A little part of me is jealous of them as they allow their children to enjoy their innocence. In my heart I actually feel guilty by enforcing my conservativeness on to them but I can’t fight my own instinct on this.
I wish I felt less concerned.
I wish I could ‘let go’ a little.
I wish I could let them be more free.
I pray that my views are not misinterpreted by them in that they start to feel ashamed of their bodies later on in life.
All these questions and emotions over a swimming costume. But … if I’ve learnt anything in life, it’s to never fight your instinct. If you can’t trust your instincts, what can you trust?
Just to end off, as a blogger I wanted to SEO this post as much as I could, so I opened Google to start searching for terms that would suit this post and it hit me … I can’t search for “little girls in bikinis” … and I’m just going to leave that sentence right there and ask you all to consider the implication of that.
I genuinely look forward to reading everyone’s comments on this subject and ‘listening’ to your views. I don’t claim to have the ‘right’ opinion, I just needed to write this post.