There are many things little girls learn that boys don’t. The obvious things like anatomical differences that children have to understand simply out of necessity became apparent to me when my baby girl age two and a half insisted that she stand whilst peeing just like her daddy and big brother. The idea of sitting on the toilet seat like mommy just baffled this little pink princess’s imagination. Her older brother never missed a chance to refresh her memory that she was not a boy but only a girl (stinky as well) thus doomed to a life of sitting on the pot instead of standing over it like a boy. Of course peeing positions are just some of the many things children learn separated them from each other. Race class and religion soon come into play and in our modern world thankfully sexuality is also being talked about more openly with children. I would hope so anyway. But one of many things little girls are taught that their brothers aren’t is how not to grow up to be sluts.
Our conditioning of girls starts young. Arguably as young as infancy. Baby girls swimsuits are a shining example of just how young we teach girls to cover up their bodies. Baby girls swimsuits come with tops to cover their chests for what reason I have no clue besides the obvious need for American society not to be exposed to the anatomy of an asexual infant. This need for girls to coverup extends into puberty. Go to any American beach and/or pool and you’ll notice this contemptible standard practiced in real time. And while you’re at it notice if the boys are following suit. Of course not. Believing a little girl shouldn’t wear a bikini as it sexualizes her at a young age lacks sound reasoning . Bikini’s don’t sexualize little girls but grown adults do. In practical terms bikini’s by far are a better fit for girls than the one piece alternatives. Wet clothes are incredibly hard to get off and on and children are not known for their patients.
I used to be one of those sanctimonious parents that bought into the idea that we were sexualizing little girls at a younger age. But then again I didn’t need to think too hard to realize all the little boys my daughter played with never underwent the same scrutiny of their clothing as the little girls. You would think I would have realize this disparity between boys and girls clothing during my son’s early years but unfortunately I didn’t. As the mother of a tween boy I can tell you will a straight face that his choice in clothing has never resulted in a discussion about dressing too provocatively for this age. Because he’s a boy my son will more than likely not worry about drawing unwanted sexual attention to himself became of what he’s wearing. He’ll grow up not having to worry about scrutinizing his choice of attire for the slut factor. As for my daughter she won’t get away with choosing her clothes so casually as her brother.
My daughter will be raised not to factor in the whore standard but instead be encouraged to make choices about her clothing that make her feel proud of her body. It’s true she’ll have to learn that certain clothes with draw more attention but she’ll also know that it isn’t her job or responsibility to asked that others to show respect and control. After all we heterosexual women control ourselves when men wear skinning jeans or well-fitted suits or speedo’s. Why should we women and our daughters not ask for the same decency in return? In short I will raise my daughter without fear of being labelled a whore. I will encourage her to participate in “Slut Walks” and explain to her that “whore” is simply a way to shame a woman for her sexual desires and the expressions by which she chooses to display those desires. If she is labelled a “whore” or a “slut” I will teach her not to consider such terms as demeaning but instead as a sign that she’s changing the status quo for the good of all women.