There are many options when it comes to little girls’ bathing suits – one pieces, bikinis, tankinis, board shorts and so on. A professional photographer was recently banned from Facebook for posting a photo of her toddler with her bathing suit bottom showing a bit of butt cheek.
I was surprised at the number of people who agreed with the ban. It made me wonder at what age people thought girls should start covering up on top. I asked the question on Facebook and had dozens of responses in minutes. There were three camps with strong opinions.
“Girls should be completely covered up from birth!”
“We never allow our girls topless in public. We also do not allow any of our girls to wear bikinis or shorts that don’t come to mid-thigh because there are creepy perverts and we believe our girls should be raised modestly.” Concetta Hall, Florida
“I prefer for them to always have a top. I don’t see the need for them to be topless anywhere. My mom didn’t allow for any of her children to be topless either.” Yolanda Ortiz, Florida
“I don’t see it as a matter of shame, or even protection from perverts. To me it’s just about manners and good behavior.” Laura Kalnajas, Pennsylvania
“It’s okay until a certain age.”
“I hate the double standard, but I don’t think I’d want to use my own little girl to break the double standard. My baby one-year-old wore a top to the beach and I would have felt really weird if she hadn’t.” Lynn Edler, Texas
“Two-years-old is the max in public. My two-and-a-half-year-old is taking swim lessons and i have her in a swim top and swim diaper even though all she really needs is the diaper.” Kelli Denman, Iowa
“I’d say around five, but we had a neighbor call the cops because our two-year-old was playing in the sprinklers once.” Kerrie Solsberg McLoughlin
“Why should girl have to cover up when men don’t?”
“Things are much different over here in Sweden … little girls are often topless at the beach until they’re 9 or 10. I don’t think there’s any time when they ‘should’ cover up on top, unless they want to.” Beverly Tjerngren, Sweden
“Boys are allowed to go shirtless, so I do not see the point in teaching girls they have to be ashamed and cover up.” Barbara Halter Case, Missouri
“I’ve made it clear to my boys. If mama can’t go topless, ain’t NOBODY going topless. So in public everyone is covered from go.” Kim Plante, New Hampshire
Most stated worrying about child predators as the reason for requiring full coverage girls’ bathing suits from a young age, while others were simply worried about sun damage.
My situation is a little different because my daughter was already choosing to cover herself when I adopted her from foster care at age nine. However, I’d like to think I’d be okay with letting her go topless for as long as she was comfortable.