Culture against anti-UV bathing suits - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We put DD in an anti-UV suit when we go to the beach. In North America, it seemed normal. In France, it was becoming more commonplace. But here in Italy, we are literally assaulted by other parents on the beach stating or implying that we are making our daughter suffer by forcing her to wear this get up (keep in mind that it is not uncommon here to see little 3-year old girls in a THONG - ICK!). DD is not yet three and does not mind wearing the anti-UV suit at all (so far). In fact, she likes to put it on even when she is not at the beach. But other parents claim that she must be too hot in it, that we are depriving her of vitamin D, and that she will be ostracized by her peers.

I'm just wondering (a) what to do this summer if all of a sudden DD decides she wants to be naked like the other kids (maybe take off the UV suit and just keep slabbing lots of cream on her?) and (b) how to respond to other parents.

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#2 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 07:41 AM
 
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What are your concerns? Do you believe sun exposure leads to skin cancer? Do you think too much sunscreen leads to cancer? Do your concerns about uv exposure outweigh your concerns about "modesty" Do you think it will be hard for her to adjust to a more confined culture if you let her run around naked?

As for me... I would let DS run around naked if we were at a nudist beach, I would let him run around naked if most of the kids around were naked, I wouldn't let him run around naked if only a minority of kids were, because to me it screams that the adults around him will not accept it and that could cause staring and pointing I don't want to expose him to. It should be about stress free fun!

Three yo's in thongs are not ick unless the person looking at the views them as inappropriate... thongs are just suits... Take how you viewed those three yo's and that is prob how those adults saw your child ... I wouldn't respond to the other parents in any other way than to say, " how interesting that our children wear such diff. outfits... I am certain that she is cool enough, but I will keep an eye on her to be sure"
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#3 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 07:44 AM
 
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What are your concerns? Do you believe sun exposure leads to skin cancer? Do you think too much sunscreen leads to cancer? Do your concerns about uv exposure outweigh your concerns about "modesty" Do you think it will be hard for her to adjust to a more confined culture if you let her run around naked?

As for me... I would let DS run around naked if we were at a nudist beach, I would let him run around naked if most of the kids around were naked, I wouldn't let him run around naked if only a minority of kids were, because to me it screams that the adults around him will not accept it and that could cause staring and pointing I don't want to expose him to. It should be about stress free fun!

Three yo's in thongs are not ick unless the person looking at the views them as inappropriate... thongs are just suits... Take how you viewed those three yo's and that is prob how those adults saw your child ... I wouldn't respond to the other parents in any other way than to say, " how interesting that our children wear such diff. outfits... I am certain that she is cool enough, but I will keep an eye on her to be sure"
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#4 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Three yo's in thongs are not ick unless the person looking at the views them as inappropriate... thongs are just suits...
Well, maybe if we were in a tribal society, this wouldn't be true but where we live (and last time I checked, in most of the western world), thongs are sexual. Putting a thong on a 3-year old girl is sexualizing the girl. I would rather let my DD run around naked.

But getting back to the subject again, I put DD in the anti-UV suit simply because I don't want her skin to burn and I don't want to have to worry about smearing cream on her skin all the time. It is as simple as that. If we were in the states or Canada, I would not think twice about it. Here, I also have to consider the fact that I don't want her to feel ostracized by other kids and adults because she is not running around with just a bikini bottom on.

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#5 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 09:36 AM
 
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Let her make the choice of what to wear. If she's happy in the UV suit, continue with it until the day she says, "No, thanks." Then, start with the sun block.
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#6 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Let her make the choice of what to wear. If she's happy in the UV suit, continue with it until the day she says, "No, thanks." Then, start with the sun block.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking,too.

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#7 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 11:15 AM
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My vote is, a cold stare for the busybodies, followed by criticisms of all they are doing wrong with their children :
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#8 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 11:18 AM
 
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Well I assume dark skinned people might not need to wear suits like that, but I know my kids and myself might since we are fair skinned.

I agree that thongs on 3 year olds are gross. What do they need to worry about panty lines for? Thong bathing suits are just strange to me.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#9 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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Well I assume dark skinned people might not need to wear suits like that, but I know my kids and myself might since we are fair skinned.
.
We actually bought one specifically for DD since she is darker skin toned because its so hard to tell when she is getting burned. You can't see her skin get the pink stage so one minute she's fine and the next she can be burnt. I would let them know you appreciate their concern and let them know you'll keep an eye on her.
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#10 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 11:39 AM
 
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Well, maybe if we were in a tribal society, this wouldn't be true but where we live (and last time I checked, in most of the western world), thongs are sexual. Putting a thong on a 3-year old girl is sexualizing the girl. I would rather let my DD run around naked.
ITA
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#11 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 02:57 PM
 
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ITA
Ditto
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#12 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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Dd is almost 6 and loves her UV suit. Her current one is hot pink and has a ruffle, and she loves it!

She wears them to indoor pools too, although once she was sad when some other little girls told her she looked funny. I said we could get a different suit for indoors if she liked, but since then she's been fine with it.

Personally, if I were you and your daughter asked to go naked when it was hot and sunny, I'd at least encourage her to stick with the suit. I think that it is a healthier way to protect her skin than by way of chemical sun blocks, although the occasional dose of naked time is ok. The 'thong' thing I wouldn't even consider ok'ing. I agree that in western culture, today, putting a three year old in a thong is sexualizing her, and I wouldn't be keen on that.

So far as how to respond to other parents goes, I'd just say "Thanks for your concern, but this works very well for us," with a bright smile that, one hopes, shuts things down.

My in-laws are in-Italy Italians, and I do get the impression that they think a lot of stuff we do is completely kooky: it seems fairly conformist there in terms of child-rearing, at least to my untrained eye, so you may be getting a big dose of different=bad.
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#13 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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<snip>....you may be getting a big dose of different=bad.
That's something important. If you're living in a new culture, it's important to be aware of the social morays there. When I travel, I stick to the old addage "When in Rome... do as the Romans"... unless the Romans are still over-sexualizing children!


Seriously tho, different doesn't always=bad. Look for a balance between your west-hem-point-of-view and culture shock. I liked the idea of telling your dd the options (maybe injecting the reasons behind those options... ie: "This cute suit protects your skin from the sun best, and this cute suit is less protective... if you choose the less protective one, we'll be putting a ton of sun-lotion on, and covering up after a bit, ok?") and let her decide.

In Hawaii we slathered on spf 50 every morning before we went out, and about every hour after that, had dd (2.5, and half Cambodian) in her choice of three suits with varying degrees of coverage from bikini to UV, and no sunburns. Good times.
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#14 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 08:28 PM
 
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Tell them she's happy! All our kids wear UV suits. They're so cute (we've found ones with flowers and polka-dots and Hawaiian patterns). They're not hot--I wear the shirts for adults.

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_6117263

"New evidence suggests overall sun exposure, not just burns, in childhood is a big factor for those who later develop deadly skin cancer."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/19/he...th&oref=slogin

"Dermatologists consider “covering up” to be the first line of defense against skin-damaging ultraviolet radiation.

. . . for as long as parents can get away with it, clothing is the ideal sunblock.

Wise parents will start putting hats on their children as soon as they are born and never stop. That greatly reduces battles about wearing a hat when they’re older. A baseball-style cap is not enough. The hat should have a full wide brim or desert-type flap that shields the face, ears and back of the neck.

Dark-colored clothing (again, not ideal for a hot summer day) is a better sunscreen than something light-colored. A white T-shirt, which some children wear in the water, has an sun protection factor, or S.P.F., of only about two when wet.

Instead of buying your child a costly toy this summer, consider investing in clothing specially designed with a built-in S.P.F. of 30 that offers 97 percent ultraviolet protection."

I'm all for nakedness--my toddler is nude 80% of his inside time. But, it's my responsibility to protect my fair, freckled kids of Irish descent from skin cancers. We spend our summers at the beach. They know that we go out early, leave in the middle of the day, and return in the evening. They skinny dip after dinner .

Tankinis and such are for indoor pools.
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#15 of 54 Old 06-19-2007, 08:38 PM
 
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Ok, I read the comments again and noticed that people may be trying to protect against burns, but may not be aware that overall sun exposure counts. It's the amount of UV, whether the skin gets red or not, that causes the damage. UVA rays don't even cause sunburn, but they do cause cancer.

http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_6117331
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#16 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 12:07 AM
 
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Well, maybe if we were in a tribal society, this wouldn't be true but where we live (and last time I checked, in most of the western world), thongs are sexual. Putting a thong on a 3-year old girl is sexualizing the girl. I would rather let my DD run around naked.
Are you really saying you think those parents are sexualizing their children? You say it is not uncommon to see three year olds running around in thongs in the op... are you sure it isn't just your culture differences that make you see it as sexual? Having spent a great deal of time in Europe I will say that a lot of American prejudices about nudity and sex do not carry over... I wouldn't keep pushing the issue but it bothers me that I see someone sexualizing young kids when they shouldn't be, IMO here it is you with your perceptions not the parents who are simply dressing their kids in what they see as normal swimming suits. I can't make you change your opinion, but I hope you will try to look at it from all perspectives... do you really think ALL those parents are sexualizing their kids... isn't it possible it is just your perception?
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#17 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 02:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you really saying you think those parents are sexualizing their children? You say it is not uncommon to see three year olds running around in thongs in the op... are you sure it isn't just your culture differences that make you see it as sexual? Having spent a great deal of time in Europe I will say that a lot of American prejudices about nudity and sex do not carry over... I wouldn't keep pushing the issue but it bothers me that I see someone sexualizing young kids when they shouldn't be, IMO here it is you with your perceptions not the parents who are simply dressing their kids in what they see as normal swimming suits. I can't make you change your opinion, but I hope you will try to look at it from all perspectives... do you really think ALL those parents are sexualizing their kids... isn't it possible it is just your perception?
A thong is as sexual in Italy as it is in the UK, France or the US. As for the intentions of the parents, I assume they just think that their 3-year old looks "cute" in it, just as many parents everywhere think that their baby or small girl looks cute in a bikini - also sexual and quite ridiculous for a female of that age if you consider that the purpose of the bikini is to cover adult/pubescent female breasts.

And the norm on continental Europe for small children bathing is either naked or with just the bottom. A thong is not the norm. I have only seen that here in Italy this year and last year.

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#18 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 03:39 AM
 
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I'd like to get them for my dd. She's very fair. The hassles over the "smelly" sunblock get really old, and having to apply and reapply. It's not fun for her or for me. Nor is treating the sunburns that slip through the cracks in a sunny summertime filled with outdoor activities at camp.

OP, I do think you should hang in there with the UV suit. You're on the vanguard, and you're protecting your child's skin, and very possibly his future health.

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#19 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 06:16 AM
 
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cmlp, I guess we just have totally differing views. I don't think of a bikini as sexual, like the thong it may have started that way but to me it is just another bathing suit. If I had a girl I'd probably scandalize ya', just know if you ever see me out with a little girl in a bikini it isn't MEANT to be sexual! ETA: I know lot's of people who wear thongs because they swear they are more comfy than reg. undies.... I just assumed that people felt the same about their suits.
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#20 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 07:20 AM
 
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just as many parents everywhere think that their baby or small girl looks cute in a bikini - also sexual and quite ridiculous for a female of that age if you consider that the purpose of the bikini is to cover adult/pubescent female breasts.
A little OT, but my 2 year old wears a bikini. The pants are like shorts, and the top is a big rectangle across her chest (not a "cleavage-cut").

I LOVE seeing her in that suit. Why? Her little toddler tummy sticks out like a Buddha belly. SO CUTE!
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#21 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A little OT, but my 2 year old wears a bikini. The pants are like shorts, and the top is a big rectangle across her chest (not a "cleavage-cut").

I LOVE seeing her in that suit. Why? Her little toddler tummy sticks out like a Buddha belly. SO CUTE!
I am sure she does look cute in it. Sounds more like a simple 2-piece than a bikini. In any event, for me, there is no point in covering a todder's chest for bathing, unless you are doing it to protect your child from the sun's rays.

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#22 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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is a UV swim suit one of those things that covers the whole body like a wet suit. A little girl who goes to the pool we go to wears one of them. I sort of assumed it was something Muslim but then i saw the mother and she was not covered.
Odd looking outfits to see on a child, I must say. And I can see why people who were not used to them would think it was unfair on the child. But I guess it's all about cultural norms (and I guess there was judgement going on both ways in the OP so it all evens out )

nothing more to say I guess :
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#23 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 08:01 PM
 
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is a UV swim suit one of those things that covers the whole body like a wet suit. A little girl who goes to the pool we go to wears one of them. I sort of assumed it was something Muslim but then i saw the mother and she was not covered.
Odd looking outfits to see on a child, I must say. And I can see why people who were not used to them would think it was unfair on the child. But I guess it's all about cultural norms (and I guess there was judgement going on both ways in the OP so it all evens out )
a uv swimsuit.... http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Protecti...380067&sr=8-10
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#24 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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These are the norm in our neck of the woods these days, by the way.
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#25 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 08:12 PM
 
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Here in AZ, they are quite normal, but we have the second-highest skin cancer rate in the world after Australia so people here tend to be much more proactive about sun protection. We also routinely wear hats and sunglasses and long-sleeved sun protection even in the hottest days of summer. My kid hates sunscreen so the coverup clothes is his alternative.
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#26 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 08:19 PM
 
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Are you really saying you think those parents are sexualizing their children? You say it is not uncommon to see three year olds running around in thongs in the op... are you sure it isn't just your culture differences that make you see it as sexual? Having spent a great deal of time in Europe I will say that a lot of American prejudices about nudity and sex do not carry over... I wouldn't keep pushing the issue but it bothers me that I see someone sexualizing young kids when they shouldn't be, IMO here it is you with your perceptions not the parents who are simply dressing their kids in what they see as normal swimming suits. I can't make you change your opinion, but I hope you will try to look at it from all perspectives... do you really think ALL those parents are sexualizing their kids... isn't it possible it is just your perception?
i kind of agree with you...americans are prudes.
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#27 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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I think that, if all the 3yos are running around in just bikini bottoms, and some of those bikini bottoms are thongs, and maybe some of the kids are completely naked, then that's simply "normal" for that culture and there's nothing sexual about it whatsoever.

However, there's also nothing wrong with covering up more if she's comfortable doing so. I would explain to the child that she can choose the UV suit and not have to worry about sunscreen so much, or the bikini bottom and "not look different" and have to be repeatedly slathered up with sunblock.

Then, if she chooses the UV suit, you can tell all those busybodies "she likes wearing that suit."

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#28 of 54 Old 06-20-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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I have been making my dd wear broad-brimmed hats, and short sleeves rather than sleeveless in the sun all of her life, and she has given me increasing amounts of "I-don't-wanna" drama about it each summer morning before camp. But "tough." I make her do it; I nag her teachers and summertime camp staff about it, and that's about three nag sessions per week, with all the changing staff members alone.

I am protecting her health and saving her beautiful skin, and finally, this year, I am seeing one or two other children in her camp whose parents have the foresight to make their children wear hats, too. We must make our kids do it, we just have to. Skin cancer is AWFUL.

I've got a sister in law whose YOUNG mother had a big part of her LIP and CHEEK removed a few years ago due to skin cancer. Not just surface skin; DEEP. She's mutilated. Plastic surgery can't fix that. My dad, not a sun worshipper AT ALL, but a schoolteacher who worked on cars in the sun, worked on our land in the sun, etc., has had a few cancerous spots removed from the top of his ears and his forehead or arms, he didn't show us the scars. I had a precancerous mole removed from my cleavage area. That's an easy area to miss putting sunscreen on, or suntan lotion in my day... it offered a teensy amt of protection. My cleavage got sunburned bad a couple of times by itself, since I didn't lotion it. I guess I didn't want to be seen shoving my hand under my bikini top to get the lotion underlapped as a prudish teenager in the 70s.

To weigh in on thongs on youngsters... I'm afraid that I have to agree that I think they are likely to be seen as sexual by observers, and I don't care to have my dd observed and seen as sexually enticing. Ask any man in the world if this is so, and I betcha he'll answer yes if he does not feel he is being prosecuted for it, or asked in regards to any one particular child, but just GENERALLY.

One of my exes was born and raised in Europe, topless beaches, etc., and he told me that it's a "state secret" that men in Europe are unfazed by topless and thonged women. They are totally enthralled, just like men and boys here. Are you kidding? If a 3 year-old had boobs, would men leer? YES, they would! They'd leer at a MAN with boobs (and do!).

Well, cute little 3 yo babies have darling little round butts, and that's why we moms just adore them and find them irresistibly cute, these little butts we've diapered and bathed and lifted them up to our arms with... these are precious little parts of our babies! And if it's showcased with a thong and a bikini top, or topless, well, that's a neon sign to many. Some men on the beach are going to leer uncontrollably, and do you want your little girl to happen to notice a man leering at her? I don't. Also, many prudish grannies and moms and people you'd like to dismiss as alarmist may also stare with critical eyes at your baby, and with hostility to you the parents; and even insecure young girls in junior high and high school, who's bf's have wandering eyes may freak out with jealousy of your seven year old beautiful dd in her fashion thong bikini. I don't want to make my dd have to deal with the fallout of my insistence that her thonged behind is natural and pure and not sexual. Her butt is covered and her top is covered, and this year, she has to wear a tshirt over her bathing suit top ANYWAY, for shoulder protection from the sun.

BTW, don't brush my post off as the remarks of a 70s girl too prudish to put lotion in her cleavage. The 80s came and I lived it full-on, and kept it up right through the nineties, too. I'm no prude now. I also grew up with six brothers, whose conversations and remarks I frequently heard... even "nice" men can be total pigs about female butts and boobs no matter how young they are (usually until they have daughters and suddenly, they're loading the shotgun).

The "hot" models are often pre-pubescent in body even if chronologically they are 25, also. Just saying...

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#29 of 54 Old 06-21-2007, 12:09 AM
 
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... sigh... my dh found that post very offensive.... enough said.
CallMeKelly is offline  
#30 of 54 Old 06-21-2007, 06:28 AM
 
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Tell your husband, I am not saying "ALL men" or all anyone else I talked about. I'm saying some. And you don't know who you're out at the beach with, or the municipal pool, or the 4th of July pool party family barbecue. And if they have a camera and are taking photos of your girl's thonged bum to upload onto some kiddie porn side. (Reading the papers lately?)

Many, many men; many fathers and boyfriends and young men and grandfathers and strangers on the beach are shining examples of men who see little girls as the little children they are, and who are healthily, well-adjusted human beings who are wonderful, loving, natural and nurturing beings.

All of the spectrum of people is on this planet with us together... and we are getting more and more edgy with skin exposure (bad timing with the hole in the ozone layer channeling in uv rays). Soon, there'll be peek-a-boo crotchless jeans for women, to go with the demi-cup bra tops, and chaps jeans for men, in both office and casual lines. Pretty soon, we're ALL going to be seeing way more skin and body parts exposed than we will want. Until then, I'm going to hang on tight to some tight-a$$ed prudishness and keep my butt and my dd's butt covered. And I'm going to get some very dark glasses, or blinders or something so I don't have to see it when the unsightly in the spectrum strips in public (That includes me, but, I won't be looking at myself, so it will be others' problem.)


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