The warming temperatures and lure of sprinklers and pools had us out shopping for swimsuits earlier this month. Finding swimsuits for boys isn’t very difficult, even if like me, you prefer not to buy anything with commercial characters or branded names on it. While colors and designs differ, they are all basically the same and the selection is decent wherever you go. Girls’ swimsuits are an entirely different story.
As my older daughter grows, we find fewer of the character themed swimsuits but find the search for a suitable swimsuit is even more difficult. Instead of dealing with princesses who wait around to be rescued by their prince, definitely not something I want to impress upon my daughters, swimsuits seem to be centered around sexuality. Sexual swimsuits for little girls? Sad, but true. We checked out no less than six stores, and every swimsuit inside each store, before we found an accpetable one.
Skimpy bikinis are one thing for college coeds. While we my cringe at the sexualization of women and the societal pressure to have a perfect body, at least there is a biological purpose for showing off one’s body: to attract a member of the opposite species in order to procreate and protect the continuation of our species. Alternatively, it could be said that flaunting one’s body is to attract a suitable partner (regardless of gender) in order to have a rewarding realtionship and/or sexual encounter. Both are valid, if a little far-reaching, in order to explain a bathing suit.
However, my 5 year old has no need to attract a partner. I wouldn’t want anyone attracted to my daughter in a bikini anywhere near her. However, that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from making skimpy bikinis so little girls can emulate older girls and women. In fact, it’s getting quite hard to find a little girl swimsuit anymore. After numerous stores, I was about to cave and suggest a two piece that at least met in the midrif. My daughter’s sense of style and innocence wouldn’t allow it. I have to smile just a bit at that.
We forged on to yet another store where, after thumbing through countless siwmsuits, we found this year’s swimsuit: a rainbow striped one piece with ruffled straps. It was worth it, as I watch my daughter delightedly, and age-approriately, race through the sprinklers on hot summer days.