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How to Raise One-Piece Daughters in a Bikini World

How to Raise One-Piece Daughters in a Bikini World

(It all starts with you, Mom and Dad.)
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I was sitting on the beach in Sarasota, Florida, with my best friend, her sister, and my daughter when two men carrying surfboards strolled by.

They were in their late 30s or early 40s, seemed respectable, or as respectable as one can appear in a wet suit.

And then—in the midst of eating our picnic lunch—we overheard the blond man comment to his friend: "I love coming out here and seeing all these underage chicks in bikinis."

I looked over at my own little girl—two years old, with a fountain ponytail—mixing blue Play-Doh into the sand. She was wearing a one-piece bathing suit beneath her cover-up and sweater.

And yet I imagined her out there on the beach 14 years from now.

I imagined some lecherous surfer eyeballing my daughter, and it was everything I could do not to chase after that blond-haired man, jerk the surfboard away from him, and use it to bonk him over the head.

However, despite my anger toward that man, I was also angry at the parents of those underage girls.

It was so cold on that beach I was wearing a light sweater and rain jacket over my cotton dress.

And I could easily see the underage girls that man had been referring to—parading down the packed strip of sand in sparkly bikini tops—and I wondered why they weren't being protected the way they deserved.

Two weeks after I returned from the beach, the ultrasound revealed that my husband and I were expecting another little girl this September.

Staring at the screen, I thought again about what that surfer had said and the flippant tone in which he'd said it, and I wondered how I could protect my daughters the way they also deserve.

I have the responsibility of raising my daughters to become women who do not feel their value lies merely in physical beauty.

I have the responsibility of raising my daughters to become women who do not feel their value lies merely in physical beauty.

I want my daughters to feel beautiful; I want them to embrace their femininity, but I also do not want some 35-year-old surfer to be ogling this beauty that should only belong to them and to their future husbands.

I cannot tell you how ironic it feels to be typing this.

I attended a strict private school from the time I was in K-5 until 12th grade, and for the majority of those 13 years, I rebelled against the dress code.

My skirts came just a little above the knee when the hem was supposed to end in the middle. I wore heels that were three inches instead of the regulatory two.

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ratings & comments

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Displaying 1–3 of 23 comments

Tuba

August 15, 2014  2:04am

Thank you for the beautiful articles. God bless you.I am a Muslim woman, who wears hijab. I started wearing it at 12 by my own choice. I feel so blessed but I am worried about future. It is so interesting that when we set rules for school, studying, careers even though they are tough rules, nobody says anything. But whenever we set a rule like modesty from our religion, we are looked at as being extreme. I think TV is very bad and it introduces everything. I pray as Muslims, Christians, Jews instead of fighting we should support each other, help each other. We all have the same worry, serving God. We all believe that this world is only a test and it will go by so quickly. I feel like all the parents nowadays worry about their children's careers and financial status. As parents my biggest responsibility is to keep my children away from hellfire. I am sure if we trust God he will show us the right/kind way to do it. Still some of us might get tested by their kids so God give us patience.

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Gabriella

June 11, 2014  5:46pm

I'm like super anti-religion and pro woman rights but a 2 piece is like going out in your underwear?!? It's not legalistic to be more modest it's actually thinking a bit ;) And where was it implied these little girls are evil temptresses? more like victims to poor parenting and lack of protection.

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Kathy

June 07, 2014  4:49pm

I subbed the last day of the school year at the middle school (7th & 8th grades). The school had done a pretty good job of maintaining dress code compliance all year (Of course the "winter that wouldn't end" helped). But on the last day of school the girls must have felt they would be safe from a detention...and oh, my. Half the girls, ages 12 - 14, in my classes were wearing shorts with 1 inch inseams that revealed their cheeks, spaghetti-strap or strapless tops or backless mini-dresses. And just about every knot of 12 - 14-year-old boys were commenting on the "eye candy." Of course when the moms who come to pick up their girls from school are dressed the same way...

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