blogging, motherhood, Parenting

The “Children In Bikinis” Debate!

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?

If you can't trust your own 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.


 

Advertisements

44 thoughts on “The “Children In Bikinis” Debate!”

  1. I am in total agreement with you. There are some horrible people out there in the world and I will do everything I can to protect my kids from them. Plus, I think that bikinis are too similar to a bra & pants combo and I think that letting a little girl wear them is oversexualising them. A swimming costume works just as well and is much more modest. Having said that, I remember trying to bargain with my mum to let me have a bikini when I was little, and she never let me. Eventually, though, I just got the message and stopped asking. I’m hoping I can be as strong when my kids start nagging…! #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to admit I never ever thought about it in this way. I was brought up wearing only bottoms to the beach until I was maybe 10 and that’s probably when I got my first swimsuit for the beach – i already had one for swimming lessons. I suppose it was a different time then. My daughter wears a swimsuit for the beach because i think they are cute but not to cover her up. For me it’s not a big deal if I’m honest. Great posts and really thought provoking. Thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wouldn’t wear a bikini since having 3 kids! My daughter inherits clothes from her cousins so has no choice on what she gets. I can’t imagine she even knows what a bikini is (aged 5) #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m on the fence with this. Bikinis for young kids makes me feel uncomfortable but it shouldn’t. The sad thing is kids don’t see the bikini as a sexualised issue they just want to wear what older relatives / friends / role models etc are wearing. Are we making it an issue or is it an issue? My daughter is 5 and I’m sure come next summer she’ll be asking! x
    #Stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We were 4 girls and 1 boy growing up who all had freedom with what we wore when swimming, as long as it wasn’t see through or had holes in it, and as long as we were covered in sunblock – we were good to go. Until primary school – age 5/6, we didn’t even need to wear bikini tops. It never once occurred to me that anyone would look at my body in a perverted way, or that it was inappropriate. We just assumed that when you start big school you had to wear both parts of the bikini! When Z was little, we had the same rules for her. The top was optional until grade 1. However, with the increase in cell phones and small cameras, we soon realized that opportunities for sickos were more plentiful and it would be much easier to snap pics of her without us knowing. So when she was about 4 and we realized this, we decided that when in public she always had to wear both top and bottoms. End of story. She never questioned us or argued it, just accepted it as the rule. Only babies go without their tops! We also had to remind ourselves not to ever post pics of her playing at home without her top online, which is something we initially hadn’t considered. When throwing body positivity and shame into it with girls in pre-primary, I sometimes think we over think things. Telling a child something is simply the rule, is most often enough. No need to get into the “your body is beautiful as it is but it’s unacceptable to show it off to strangers etc etc” with a 4 or 5 year old! They don’t understand anyway, and it can easily burden them unnecessarily.

    At the end of the day, what works for one family doesn’t always work for the next. If your mom gut is telling you something – listen! And always be open to change your mind or update your rules as you go along and things change.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My response is kind of twofold. As a parent your concerns are genuine – it has nothing to do with being conservative. You are so right there are so many psychos out there that prey on our kids. We are no longer living in the era that we grew up in. So I totally get your point on that. However, our children are still so innocent and they see things from a different perspective. Your daughter doesn’t yet have that sense of being body conscious and who will be watching her. She doesn’t match wearing a bikini with being sexual. To be honest – the bikini does not create harm it’s the culture of always linking it to body shaming and women’s sexuality. We as parents need to be so careful what we project onto our children – as what we think is good and protective can have an opposite effect. Ultimately you have the right to parent your children as you see fit and to do what is best for them.#Blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t think you should feel bad at all, it actually makes me feel a little better that someone else does the same thing I do about choosing what is appropriate for kids to wear! And if it makes you feel any better, my 5 year old doesn’t even own a swimsuit, and I’m perfectly okay with it. I don’t want perves looking at her and taking pictures! My daughter also wears tights under her dresses too!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Decided to ask hubby now what he thought and he says he has no problem with the bikini. Not even something we’ve ever discussed. I think I’m team #WearWhateverYouWant after really delving into this topic today 😄 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree to an extend and I hear everything you say. My one daughter refuses a bikini and I leave her but the other one loves it. I allow her. Not that you can see the bikini because I make my kids wear swim vests when on the beach even if it is 9am in the morning. Maybe that’s why I have never thought of it because they are covered anyway. I don’t wear bikinis, honestly I don’t know why. I stopped when I started building sand castles and running after kids before a big wave hit them 😂 but I’m with you. My kids drive me nuts because there’s a million and one things other kids can do and they can’t. I won’t cave….. especially on the sleep over thing. My rule is you sleep out once you are married ❤️ Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Im completely with you on this. As a mom, we shouldn’t feel ashamed for fearing for our child. And as a muslim mom, I intend to start my daughter in hijab (head covering) when she is older, and I still have the same concerns and fears as you have about putting her in a bikini. I think its the attention that our daughters will face for what they wear, bottom line. We can’t change the world and its sickos, but we can do whats best for our child. That’s all we can do, at the end of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I didn’t have any reservations to my 5 year old wearing a bikini but her overprotective Portuguese father does so no bikini for her. It did make me think about it and I read an article once about how society are trying to make little girls too sexy too young and how that can have serious ramifications. Just those small things like asking them to make a cute pose and now my daughter has this natural pose now that just looks way too sexy for her young age it frightens me. So I’m beginning to realise that perhaps preserving their innocence is a much safer route to go and wish I never taught her how to pose. They have plenty of time to wear bikinis when they are a more sensible age and I’m glad we are not the only ones being cautious about it. I just tell her now that she is too young for bikinis

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is an absolutely brilliant post. I am a mother to a boy but at the same time I myself am a woman so I GET IT! It is sad we have to over-protect our children from this young age but in this sick world protecting them is more important than pleasing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I let my little one wear a bikini. My husband and I are both okay with it. Of course that’s usually if we’re on holiday and she’s in the pool with us. Only full one pieces or those shorts and matching top cozzies for swimming lessons. It’s a difficult one this. I’m thought of as overprotective (by though of, I mean people have disapprovingly vocalized this opinion; as if it matters to me) – My child is never not right by my side at the shop. Either my husband or I are in the play area if she wants to play at a restaurant while waiting for food. I don’t allow sleepovers, or do the unaccompanied party thing. The world is ugly, and I do what I can while I can. I think we all have to do what we can, what works for us, to keep the most precious people in our lives safe. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I may be one of few, fair enough, each to their own. I am okay with the bikini now…. it took a while for me to accept it. (I think I am still deep down against it). I am happy for her to wear a bikini now, for maybe another 2 years, then I will opt for all in ones. I hope I don’t pass on my own body shame to her because of it, but I don’t particularly want her prancing around boys in a little 2 piece…. especially in this day and age…. I am okay with the bikini because it is not offen she is in public with it. (Saying this, I think she has out grown all the bikinis or tankinis). At school she has a school costume.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Just when I thought choosing their food was hard enough. Yes, I too have our struggles and trying to find a happy ground with the clothes my daughters wear. This parenting thing is hard but at the end of the day when they get older they will have a choice and one can hope that all this worrying would be worth it. I bought my little one a tennis skirt from PnP the other day it is a skort and I struggle a bit. Finding the happy medium I do not believe has any happiness. I respect that you stick to what suits you and your family, and I do believe you do not judge. I have really enjoyed everyone’s insight into this and your replies C. I’m dreading when my girls want to dress like Miley Cyrus…. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post, and then I read all the comments too, everyone has valid reasons for their opinions, I have sons but I can tell you that when they participate in swimming at school the girls are not allowed to wear anything that bares midriff so no bikinis. Unfortunately if there are sickos at the beach or wherever they will check out kids whether they’re in a one piece or two piece swim suit. I don’t think it would make any difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. OMG….I hear you on the perves and sickos…and it’s NOT just the kids being targeted. I don’t have girls but I can totally relate as I have nieces and I want to cover them up when we are out… whilst it seems my brother and his wife feel it’s ok for the kids to be dressed like that…

    I don’t share the identity of my kids or my husband neither do I used face pictures as I want to protect their identity. The interwebs is a scary place and I don’t want to subject my family to unnecessary crap.
    I agree with your conservative views! As a parent we just want to protect our kids. I know there is a fine line but I’d rather be a little over protective than to nonchalant about it. Good on you for looking out for your girls!

    I love my kids fiercely and believe me I will do what I have to to protect them. They are MY responsibility NOT society’s!

    Great post

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks lovely. Like I’ve said on other comments on here and Twitter, this is my journey, my choice, my issues, my kids. I can’t fight my instincts on this. I do, however, respect and admire other people who do things differently, and I am not judging them, in fact I am admiring them.

      Like

    1. Thanks Sharon. I’m going to have a read as I definitely missed your post.
      You are definitely right about teaching them about positive body image and I really do my best in all other aspects of their dressing etc. because I want them to be proud of their bodies. It’s just this one issue, and I admit that it is MY issue. Thanks for taking the time to comment. C.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. For me it was all of the above (why I get her a full costume and not a bikini) but 2 other reasons as well. Bikinis are impractical when she is running and diving and playing and they bother her. The other reason: THE SUN! I try to cover as much of my childs’ skin when she is outside and bath the rest in sunscreen to protect her from the harsh sun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The sun is a big concern too but I always make sure they are fully blocked. My youngest has gorgeous olive skin but my eldest has fair skin with a large dose of beautiful freckles on her face (just like her mama) – but regardless of that they get the same sun-screen treatment. I just haven’t cracked the hats thing yet – they hate them.

      Like

  19. Dying…just lost my reply 😦

    Let me try to regather my thoughts…..

    It makes me sad that we need to justify our choices…like you’re even trying to say, but it’s actually a very conservative bikini. I am pretty much the same. The difference is that a friend bought my daughter a bikini when she was 6 or 7, along with like a crop top (that may have been mesh as well). I was mortified. She begged to wear the top….and it’s so sad to say…my child you can’t wear what you like because perverts are out there!

    I allowed her to wear the crop top to bed. lol. The bikini at home…but I think I may have allowed her to the beach once in a 2 piece (but long crop top sort of bikini top – #Justification lol).

    I have so many pics when I was 5 or 6…posing in my bikini.So I think it’s sad one needs to overthink this so much and either way you’ll be judged. Allow it and you don’t love your kid cause you allow perverts to look at them….don’t allow it…you’re a meany mom. and and and….

    I was so impressed that Sharon just posted that pic of her kids the other day….I honestly some days just feel that I will keep my kids safe no matter what…. whoever has pics of them (that they can absolutely get anywhere or take anywhere) screw all this overthinking… It’s a real internal battle.

    My daughter is 9 now and she knows me very well. We’ll laugh together when we watch project runway and she’ll be like..You’ll never let me wear that mom, but I know that one is fine cause it’s long and covered. If she wears a top where there’s a slit in the back, she wears a tank top underneath it. She doesn’t fight me….so we’re in a good place. I try to get her a top that maybe has a slight slit just at lower back, but that doesn’t show anything… I don’t want her to be the Amish kid at school when other kids are wearing short shorts and crop tops for civvies….I don’t want her to resent me, so I try to find a happy medium..something we’re both comfortable with.

    Gee whizz…with this reply I could have done my own blog post! LOL. SORRY!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love it. Thank you.
      I saw Sharon’s pic too and I was actually jealous. Jealous for my children of the freedom her’s are enjoying that I can’t allow mine to have.
      You are right about not being able to control who has pics of our kids, but I feel I have to limit that as much as possible because of MY fears.
      As for ‘justification’ again, you are right. Why do we? I don’t know, but I know we all do whether we admit it out loud, or on paper or not.
      Thanks for the comments. X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The fear is very real… My daughter doesn’t even walk to a different aisle in the Spar without me. She goes nuts actually if I turn my back to start walking to the cheese and maybe I sent her for milk. So I don’t know how healthy our fears are….when we’re also instilling the fear into our kids. It’s something I’ve wanted to do a blog post on actually…the fear I have….making my kids fearful of life as well. Where does one draw the line.

        Liked by 2 people

  20. I’m not sure why you are worried really? When my daughter was 6 she often just wore bikini pants when playing on the beach. Her brother didn’t wear a top so why should she? Reading your post made me doubt my choice for a second but then I remembered she was 6! She was a young child who just wanted not to wear her top and where’s the harm in that? If we think of modesty in a little child surely we are sexualising them? I understand your comments totally about protecting them but equally by making this a thing you may be making her worry about her body. Having said all of that, I come from a Dutch family and we often let children play naked on the beach (although I wouldn’t do that now!) great post btw

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s