Another day, another story about the sexualization of little girls…
You’re never too young to be body-shamed – if you’re a girl.
An impromptu family visit to a wading pool in a public park in Guelph, Ontario left an 8 year-old girl embarrassed and her parents angry when staff told her that, unlike her brothers, she could not be in the wading pool without a top.
1. Use proper anatomical terminology for body parts: Penis, testes, vulva, vagina (Quick anatomy lesson: “Vulva” refers to whole area commonly referred to as a girl’s “private parts.” “Vagina” refers to the specific opening within the vulva. Of the two, “vulva” is generally the more useful and appropriate, unless you’re talking about where babies come from.) Using the proper words from the very beginning will allow you to become comfortable using them and hearing them.
Talking to Kids about Sex part 1: babies and toddlers
The fabulous Stephanie Giese of Binkies and Briefcases wrote a viral post about her disbelief at the sizing and coverage in Target’s clothing options for young girls. She had been noticing what seemed to be a distinct reluctance to include…y’know…fabric…in items like shorts for girls as young as 5. Her post received a mostly positive response, but also a fair bit of backlash (One standout was a commenter who posited that she should put her “fat-ass kid” on a diet if she wanted clothes to fit her better. Way to keep it classy, interweb.).
Quite impressively, Target reacted almost immediately, reaching out to her, doing their own research, and promising an overhaul of their sizing practices including feedback from “real” moms like her, which is awesome – we should be able to find clothing for our children that fit with our own tastes and values without having to pull out our sewing machines and make or modify them ourselves.
But…(you know me…there’s got to be a but)…I don’t agree with the reasoning that we need more modest clothing options to avoid sexualizing our young daughters. Children are not sexual. Exposed skin is not sexual. Children with exposed skin are not sexual.