Tween magazine Discovery Girl was recently taken to task for a spread that showed young readers how to pick the best bathing suit for their curves. Parents rightfully lost their shit, with one mother writing in, "I don’t want your magazine telling my nine-year-old that she needs to feel 'confident' in her swimsuit. She has no current thoughts about NOT feeling confident in her swimsuit."
I mentally cheered on these outraged mothers. Because even though my daughter is still a couple months shy of two, I've already noticed that bathing suit manufacturers seem determined to sexualize her.
The other month, I decided to prepare for summer early and pick up a bathing suit for Em. As I browsed the racks, I saw flirty bikinis and body-flattering, ruched one-pieces. Why!? I thought. Why does my daughter need rosette detailing along the boob area? Why does she need a ruched bodice shaped to accentuate cleavage she doesn't have? Why does she need a monokini with creative cutouts or a ruffle halter bikini that is so tiny she might as well be topless? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY ARE ALL THESE BATHING SUITS SO MUCH MORE ELABORATE THAN MY MOM SUIT?
I ended up buying Em a body-flattering one-piece with side ruching. It's like my mom suit, but cuter.
Then I set about the task of finding her the stuff she'll really need this summer. Such as:
1. A bubble lawn mower and a ginormous bottle of bubbles and an assortment of bubble wands because BUBBLES!
2. A sandbox. Because just the other month, I found Em playing in the cats' litter box, using the poop scoop as if it were some vile, bizarro-world shovel. Clearly, she's more concerned with digging and scooping and pouring and getting dirty than in sittin' pretty.
3. More books. Because she always delights in more books. So I'm going to get her a book about trucks, because she's into them lately, and a book about swimming, because she was scared of the ocean waves last year, and eleventy billion other books about things she might prefer to concern herself with that are not summer fashion.
4. Band-aids and first aid cream because, if she doesn't have scraped knees, she's not doing summer right. Em seems unconcerned with her perennial boo-boos. I see them as a badge of her fearlessness.
5. A baseball cap, bug spray, and sun block. Because both of her parents are blindingly pale and prone to burning.
6. A swingset. That's right. We're finally closing on our purchase of the land behind our house so we can have a backyard for Em, perhaps affording her more opportunities for fresh air.
7. Several rompers. Because let's be real. She looks adorable in them.
I suppose I'm not completely immune to the fashion plate potential of my toddler.
Still, I delight in buying her clothes because tiny versions of anything are just automatically adorable, not because her tiny clothes accentuate or camouflage any particular part of her body.
Her completely normal curves don't need to be camouflaged.