Saturday, February 11, 2012

babies in bikinis = toddlers in tiaras

baby in a rashguard swim suit by the side of a swimming pool, not a bikini

Is anyone else weirded out by babies in bikinis? I wouldn't consider myself a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but why does a baby need to be a two-piece bathing suit? It seems wrong to me.

DD has always warn a rashguard suit and a swim diaper (cloth, of course!). Babies' skin is delicate and I wanted to protect her from the sun. Even when we did indoor swim at the Y, I cdid not undersand why EVERYONE ELSE had their daughter in a skimpy swim suit. I guess I am missing the adorable factor here.

Women's bathing suits are cut in a way to flatter or enhance the natural curve of a grown woman's body. Why does a baby need triangle-shaped fabric over her nipples? She has no breasts to show off. She is still on her mother's breast! Or a one-piece suit with holes cut out on the sides - does she have hips to flaunt? Uh, no, she just has rolls. She's a baby.

I do understand that sometimes it is fun to dress little kids up in ways that normally adults do; like a 3-piece suit or a holiday dress for a special occasion, or people who style their kids' hair into mohawk (you know a 2-year-old did not ask for that!). I get it. It can be fun! But I feel like this falls in a different camp.
Maybe it's because I am a teacher, and I see very clearly where the oversexualization of young girls has taken us. Mothers of fourth graders let their daughters put on jewelery, lipstick, and fake nails. By sixth grade, they have dyed their hair, worn little high heels, and the most ridiculously short shorts I have ever seen. What is the point? Trust me when I telll you that our young girls are seeing themselves as women much younger than we would want them to. Take a look at teen pregnancy rates. They are not on the decline and neither are STDs. Go ahead, I'll wait...

I'm not making the claim that putting your baby in a two-piece swimsuit will automatically lead to your daughter becoming a slut. My point is that we can't ignore the possibility that this is effecting how girls see themselves and, for that matter, how our boys see them. They are not sexual beings and should not be displayed as if they are.

I can't help it. I don't think there is anything cute about a baby in a bikini-type swimsuit. They need protection from the sun. They need to be taught that swimming does not have to equate sexiness...at least, not until they are mature and responsible enough to make healthy sexual decisions.

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