Two bits that have been flying around on Facebook recently call into question the appropriateness of wearing bikinis.
2: Video on the "Evolution of the Bikini" (Don't miss the point where she explains what happens to men's brains when they see pictures of scantily-clad women. I could just die sometimes thinking about what our men have to deal with.)
That these posts are being shared and reshared all in the midst of social media streams chock full of young ladies and grown women posting pictures of themselves wearing said bikinis-an annual summer occurrence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram-well, it's an irony that simply cannot be lost.
Personally, this does and it doesn't affect me. I, for one, am nicely freed from any decision regarding the skimpiness of my bathing suit (I mean, other than does that come in ankle-length and is it blanket-sized? And black, for the love.).
For my three daughters, though, this matters a great deal. Wearing a one-piece is something that The Captain and I chose for them long ago. It's not a legalistic thing, and by no means would we ever condemn others for choosing to parent differently. It's sort of like the Santa Claus issue.
For us, it's simply a choice of instilling a sense of modesty and appreciation for the empowerment that comes with how a girl chooses what she wears. The chick in the video says that way better than I ever could. At six years old, we're already hearing it from Sassafras who has asked a few times now to wear "one of those little bitty bathing suits with my belly showing." (Thank you, mainstream culture and marketing.)
As with the Santa thing, what we DON'T want to do as we teach our girls to carefully choose their clothing, is to unintentionally arm them with some sort of pride that they are better than others because they are "so modest." That would be an absolute epic parenting fail, the antithesis of our goal. We aren't aiming to be superior, just to be intentional.
How do we do that? I'd truly love to hear your suggestions.
We try redirecting focus on our family and away from the choices others make. We try choosing positive language ("we do this" as opposed to "we don't do that"). We try to maintain consistency, so that in 10 years our girls will know this is has always been important rather than shocking them with it when they hit puberty. We aim to teach respect for their bodies, not shame.
All you friends of ours with boys, know that we're doing our part. You're probably relieved you don't have to deal with this issue right now (as the complexity of your swim options involves shorts or...shorts), but one day your little men will have to deal with issues our girls won't. We're doing the best we know how to make sure our little ladies understand how to respect that and to help those sons of yours to not have to sift through so many visual temptations. One day.
Besides, keeping up with just one piece of fabric is enough around here. My laundry pile can't handle three girls times two pieces for each swimsuit. Okay, my laundry pile AND my sanity.