Recently, there was an article published on CafeMom called “Note to Sanctimommies: Little Girls DO Belong in Bikinis.” Halfway through the story is a link to another story: Little Girl Lingerie is All Sorts of Wrong.
Explain to me the difference between a triangle swim top and the brief-cut bottom of a bikini and the triangle top and brief-cut bottom of little girl lingerie — aside from the difference in fabrics and the fact that people would allow their daughter to wear one of the two in public in front of leering eyes. Why is the one that is meant for wear in the house and under clothing “all sorts of wrong” while the one meant for public wear is a DO?
They’re the same amount of fabric!
I was dragged back and forth across the proverbial coals for my stance against putting my seven-year-old in a skimpy bikini. Yes. I used the word never. I went onto explain that we have rules and standards in our house, where you don’t live.
My baby doesn’t wear bikinis. She never will. Not only because of our family history of skin cancer but also because I won’t purchase my kids bikinis while living in our house. I’m not about to put the baby in a bikini and tell the bigger one that she can’t wear one. What kind of message would that send? What about parents who allow bikinis to a certain age, and once a girl begins to get curves bikinis are taken away? “Your body changed, cover it up!”
For us it’s not about control. It’s about growing up with set boundaries and finding ways to accommodate those boundaries. When I say modesty some hear “Laura Ingalls,” while others hear religious oppression.
If Addie needed a new swimsuit tomorrow she would be told, “Anything you want under $40 that covers both your ribs and bum cheeks.”
If she wanted a new dress? “Anything you want under $20 as long as it goes past your fingertips and covers your sternum. You’ll also have to wear bike shorts under it.”
“Quick question. Need advice. You guide her to wear modest clothing, but also teach that the “clothing doesn’t make the person.” How would you encourage modesty if she threw that back in your face? When she someday says that she should be allowed to go out half naked because the clothing doesn’t make the person?” –Comment from Lindsay
Excellent question Lindsay.
We are raising our girls with respect. Respect for elders, to other religions, other traditions, other cultures, and themselves. Addie knows that if she goes to a friends house she is to follow their rules. Addie’s friends know that if they come to our house they are to follow our rules, not because one is more right than the other, but because they are rules and rules need to be followed. I talk with Addie’s friends’ parents about rules. I even talk to them about where they keep their guns. She has one friend with a house rule of no closed doors. Ever. In our house she can close the door with her friends if the baby is asleep but she can never ever lock it. Clothes don’t make the person, but following what you believe in and respecting yourself does. If Addie came to me and wanted to wear something I wouldn’t necessarily agree to (like going out half naked), there would be a discussion. Is she emulating someone else? Is she trying to fit in? Can we find another solution? Is she trying to mask some sort of sadness with her physical appearance or does she just really want to try something new?
I’ve been called a young naive mom to little girls who is really trying to do her best but boy am I in for it in the teenage years. So be it. I’m setting a foundation early on. There are rules in place now so there is a standard when the teen years come. I’m certainly not going with an “Anything goes! Until you’re 13 that is” philosophy. If you’re raised to take care of yourself, chances are you’ll take care of yourself later in life. If you’re raised to be kind and polite, chances are you’ll be kind and polite later on. There will always be rebellion, but what foundation will there be to fall back on when the rebellion ends?
Addie has and will always have two parents who love her madly. Period.
As far as American Puritanism? Sure. Go with that. “People run around half clothed in Brazil, France and Spain yet no one looks down on them!” I live in Indiana. I could turn my TV on right now and see Dance Moms, Jersey Shore, a weekly drama focused on sexual assault and rape as well as several shows about teen pregnancy. I’m trying to keep my home a safe haven from all the madness that is out there in the world. A place where my girls feel safe and comfortable. Somewhere they like to be. Somewhere they’re happy to bring their friends. And you know what? I’m not doing too bad.
I know lovely girls who wear bikinis smaller than my fist and I know absolute beasts who wear surf shorts and rash guards. Clothes, especially swimsuits, don’t make the person.
I however have a stance, no bikinis. I stick to it. I don’t expect you to agree with me, but at least respect it.
Image Credit: Zappos