Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

YMCA pool to mom: Baby girls need to wear swim tops. But, why?

I found this post by Dr. Rebecca Hains on the sexualization of little girls through policing their clothing thought provoking.

From a psychological perspective, this is a big problem. Through this kind of behavior as adults, we’re teaching little girls that their bodies are sexual objects. And, think out this objectively for a moment, there is absolutely no difference between a girl’s chest and a boy’s at this point. So why could it possibly matter if the little girl wore or didn’t wear a top? Because culturally, we believe a female body is a sexual object for the pleasure of others.

We have got to stop this nonsense. It’s teaching our girls very harmful messages about where there social power comes from, and about what makes them valuable as a human being.

Dr. Rebecca Hains

Infant girl and boy at the pool

Angela writes that while visiting her local YMCA yesterday on one of the hottest days of the year, staff in the pool area informed her that her one-year-old daughter needed to wear a swim top. “It was fine for the baby boys not to wear a top,” Angela notes incredulously. “So as long as it’s a blue swim suit, then it’s okay?”

In my opinion, such a policy is problematic. First of all, it sexualizes infant girls. At such an early age, the only physiological way to tell a boy from a girl is from their genitalia. Their chests are undeveloped. Why would any reasonable adult think baby girls’ chests need to be covered?

Secondly, such a policy can only be enforced by relying upon stereotypical expectations regarding a child’s attire. As the campaign Let Clothes Be Clothes continuously reminds us, there is no such thing as “boys’ clothes” or “girls’ clothes”—just clothing…

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This entry was posted on July 21, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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