Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's like we're regressing instead of progressing.

Oi people.

So, first off, it's been a while, hasn't it?  Yup. I've got no excuses, only a dearth of things I feel qualified to talk about, and blogging about the day-to-day is well.. Meh.

But every so often, a story catches my eye that is so mind-blowing in it's ridiculousness that I really have to wonder about humanity.

My source of ire stems from a story of an 8-year-old girl who was at a public pool with her parents, and in her excitement of "holy shit, SWIMMING!', threw her top off and jumped in.  Because 8-year-olds, they LOVE that shit.

The pool attendants told the parents to get a top on that kid, pronto, and the parents were all "Why?? To cover our child's likely non-existent breasts?" They were pretty pissed, and in my humble opinion, rightly so.  Because frankly, if the little boys are not required to wear a top, then it's kinda discriminatory for the girls to have to wear one, is it not?

You know how people always tell you not to read the comments on news stories? It's good advice. Because people are all kinds of awful.  You know how I know this?  I read the comments.  And the comments basically boil down to a few key pro-pool and pro-parent arguments:

Pro-Pool arguments:

- Rules are Rules!
- But, pedophiles!
- Also, more rules! and more pedophiles!
- Leftists, amiright??
- Girls are developing earlier and earlier these days, and also, pedophiles.

Pro-Parent arguments:

- It's been legal to be topless in public in Ontario for literally years.
- *most* boys and girls at that age are built pretty much the same
- The pedo argument is pretty much victim-blaming at its finest
- Boobs are boobs and not a Big Freaking Deal™.
- Also, she probably didn't even HAVE boobs, because eight-year-old.

The way I see it is this;  It's pretty damn disturbing that our culture has such a fucked-up relationship with breasts that we even flip the fuck out over the suggestion of a girl who DOES NOT EVEN HAVE BREASTS BUT OMG MIGHT SOME DAY enjoying the sun without a shirt or top, as the boys do.

Rules are rules, yes. But some rules are stupid and born of outdated ideals and morals that are not relevant in this day and age.  These rules need to be changed.

There have always been pedophiles lurking about. Pedophiles and sex offenders are not a new thing and they're not going to magically go away because your kid is wearing a shirt. A shirt is not a force-field, and a pedophile is not likely to strike at a public pool because the key word is public and most child sexual abuse tends to happen behind closed doors, not at public swimming pools.

And yes, suggesting that not wearing a shirt to a public pool will lead to a child being targeted by a pedophile is victim-blaming. Sorry, but really, not at all sorry.

The thing that gets me is not only this is a particularly US/Canada-centric attitude but relatively new! Not the weird breast-squeamishness, but putting this fear of breasts on children.  I remember being a kid, a scant 30ish years ago, and I remember seeing both little boys and girls on the beach without shirts on (myself included) and nobody batted an eyelash. In fact, some found it more bizarre that people would put their little girls in bikinis and other two piece bathing suits, due to the sexualization factor - making the suggestion of breasts where there were none.

So it seems that not only is our society incapable of looking at breasts in a non-sexualized manner (see almost EVERY debate about public breast-feeding), but people will actually freak the fuck out about potential breasts.

Are we actually getting more repressed? Sometimes it seems that way.


PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN! - SOURCE
P.S. There's a really fantastic image that I saw on Tumblr a while ago that I wanted to use here, but as per usual, I fail on the image search front, and SafeSearch (or alternately, the sheer wrongness of the internet at large) foils my efforts again.

5 comments:

  1. Yes. Yes, we (by "we" I mean the general populace, not you or I) are getting more prudish. It's frankly amazing.

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  2. I don't believe this is a real story. Yes, I clicked the link to CTV, but it strikes me as either, someone called the station to make up a false complaint, or an over-worked entry-level pseudo-reporter was forced to create a story. That's my cynicism but also steeped in realism POV. The other angle is that there is a nuanced story here about parents overreacting to a minimum wage teenager with little authority choosing to exercise that non-existent authority by being uncomfortable and asking the parents to "do something about my this thing that maybe my superiors might be uncomfy about."
    In other words, not everything is a symptom of the downfall of society. Most things like this are nonsense promoted by attention-desperation-machines that aren't actually things that anyone cared about outside of maybe 4 people.
    Regardless, yes, the comment sections are terrifying. Particularly when goaded on by needlessly salacious headlines. Still, I have faith in a rational humanity that will win out over the reactionary echo-chamber of internet-dom...Said the internet-weirdo.

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  3. I spent much of the '90s in Italy, where many women go topless at the beach. Breasts are definitely sexualized there (especially in advertising) but as is the case with women in revealing bathing suits with tops, here at home, one is not societally permitted to stare.

    Prepubescent girls also go topless at the beach, but that's a completely different thing. They're just kids. Adolescents and young teens tend to cover up, in keeping with the self-consciousness of that age, then go topless again (if they choose to) when they have reached a point of body confidence.

    Another interesting thing I observed there is that toplessness — male or female — was perfectly fine on the beach, but was considered uncouth on the street, even to cross from the waterfront to get some water at a shop. But then again, this is a culture in which men won't dare to wear shorts in the big city, even in a heatwave. :)

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  4. I so agree. This is just dumb as shit. That little girl wasn't hurting anybody by being topless (hell, she wouldn't have been hurting anybody if she was 16 and hand boobs like Pamela Anderson. Boobs can't hurt you...unless your the one growing them, then it hurts like hell). And, pedophiles, really? Would I send my eight year old daughter into a pedophiles house, topless? Well, hell, of course not. But I'd be damned if I'd let them dictate what my kids should or shouldn't wear in public. I have five kids that I raised. That's tiring enough. I didn't have the energy or the will to run around making sure they had clothes on, especially at a pool or when it's 100 damn degrees outside. To tell you the truth, it was harder to get my boys to keep their clothes on than my daughter (they're all grown now and have no problem whipping out the wheelie at any given time. NO SHAME AT ALL). And once this little girl starts to actually grow boobs, she keep them hidden all on her own, cause she won't want the boys to see and make fun of her teeny weeny booby starter kit! Of course, their gonna come flopping out again when she's a teenager and there full size, but that another problem for down the road. In my humble opinion, the people that run that pool can eat a dick. If they don't know what that is, any of my four sons will be glad to show them one, cause, like I said, NO SHAME AT ALL!

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  5. stupid. the over-sexualization of breasts is fucking ridiculous as it is, but for an EIGHT YEAR OLD? give me a break. this drives me nuts.

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Engaging in discussion and/or general sucking up.. that's where it's at!

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