In depressing (and perhaps unsurprising) news for women everywhere, two-year-olds’ bodies are now being policed.
No, just because they’re toddlers doesn’t mean they’re immune from the male gaze, patriarchal double standards and body shaming!
This sad fact was recently evidenced by influencer and Megababe founder Katie Sturino in her latest Instagram post.
She shared a story of her friend’s daughter who was told to ‘cover up’ by lifeguards at their local pool.
Despite plenty of boys running around and swimming shirtless, the woman’s toddler, two, was told to put a shirt on at a recent swimming lesson.
She explains, “I was just catching up with my friend and she said that her two-year-old daughter was at swim lessons yesterday and all the little boys around her were shirtless. Baby boys were shirtless in nappies and she was in a swimsuit bottom and didn’t have her rashie on yet and the lifeguard came over — two different lifeguards came over at two different times and said, ‘Ma’am, you need to put a shirt on your daughter. There’s no nudity allowed at the pool.’”
Katie said hearing this, “made her f**king head pop off.”
She continues, “I was like, This is it. This is when they start policing our bodies.
“They start to say, ‘You gotta cover up. There’s something wrong with you. You’ve gotta cover-up, okay? This is not appropriate. Your body is not appropriate. You’re two-years-old. You’re a two-year-old little baby.’
“These rules are put on women from the start,” she adds, before asking her followers for their thoughts on the incident and whether “toddler girls should have to cover up.”
She also emphasized her disgust at the double standards in the caption, writing: “Different rules for boys and girls’ bodies start young and are reinforced constantly along the way.”
Katie is a digital influencer who promotes body autonomy and acceptance for all bodies, so it makes sense that all of her followers were equally outraged by the situation.
One of the top comments said: “Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew calling a baby’s body ‘nudity’ gives all the wrong messages. That is some #ShinyHappyPeople #duggarfamily #purityculture #rapeculture nonsense.”
“What,” wrote someone else. “As a pediatrician and expert in the bodies of children, there is no biological difference between a toddler girl’s chest and a toddler boy’s chest. That is absolutely insane.”
“This is an America problem. Anywhere else kids would run around free and naked and it would not be sexualized,” someone else pointed out.
A former lifeguard also weighed in, agreeing, “I lifeguarded for 10 years and never once was it my place to tell a child what to wear. It’s much more acceptable in other countries for children to be shirtless. America is so effing rigid and obsessed with sex at the same time.”
“Telling a two-year-old to cover up is CREEPY. Yikes,” said another.
Then this person concluded: “This story is disturbing and is all kinds of messed up. It’s also a harrowing reminder that under a patriarchy, it doesn’t matter what age a female is… her body will always be sexualized, which means it will always be at risk of danger.”
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