So first, a couple of small disclaimers here: One being that I know different cultures have some different expectations when it comes to appropriate attire. The family that I am going to talk about here looked very much to me to be Scandinavian. I do have a couple of friends in Sweden and Finland and I know that in certain situations much less clothing is acceptable than it is here in the states. Secondly, I still haven’t figured out exactly why I am putting the bulk of the responsibility for this event on the shoulders of the dad. I can’t say exactly why I am burdening him with the ultimate duty here, and I hope that no one interprets this fact to be sexist. I simply have an ingrained notion that he, of all people, should have been inspired into action by what his daughter was wearing in public.
The situation is that my kids and I were sitting in the stands at Sea World, waiting for our favorite show to start, and just about five minutes before show time, a family of five came in the bottom of the stadium and headed up to the top in a single file line because the stands were almost full. At first, I took notice of the young girl, I will guess fourteen to sixteen years old, because her outfit was so revealing from the front. When they proceeded on past us up the stairs however, I got a glimpse of the back of her outfit and my jaw nearly hit the floor, and yes, I did point her out to my daughters and they were equally as appalled as I was. I don’t think that if her parents were paying any attention to their children at all, that there is any way in hell they could have missed the fact that she headed out to the theme parks that day with a good two inches of butt cheek hanging out of her shorts, but when dad proceeded up the steep stairs directly behind his daughter, he couldn’t have missed it unless he was as blind as a fucking bat!
Okay, now I do struggle with my feelings on this issue because I strongly believe that a woman should be able to wear whatever it is that she wants to wear without any fear of judgment or aggression from other people out in public. However, even though I idyllically believe that one day every woman will be able to feel safe and comfortable in public no matter what kind of clothing she chooses to wear, I know that we are not living in that situation today. Additionally, we are not talking about a woman in this situation, we are talking about a child, and there is a very big difference. If you asked me about the most picturesque sights I have ever seen in my life, watching the little naked children run around at the beach on the coast of France while their parents clammed would be on the top of the list. We all intelligently know that time and place have a huge impact on these sorts of things though, and all logical adults know that as children mature there is a time when their public nudity not only becomes no longer cute but highly inappropriate, and unfortunately can put them in the crosshairs of some very dangerous predators.
I know that Orlando Florida is not Mexico. I know that there are not sex-traffickers waiting outside of every hotel room in the city to abduct unsuspecting young girls when they walk outside to grab a soda from the vending machine, but considering the way that this mom and dad allowed their daughter to dress in a theme park filled with hundreds of strangers, I doubt that they would prohibit her from wearing the same ass revealing outfit in Mexico…and yes, even though trafficking is not as prevalent here in the states, it absolutely does happen, and travelers are particularly vulnerable. Again, I do not have an absolute answer here, because I am proud of the feminists out there who are challenging the stigma that states any woman who dares to wear revealing clothing in public deserves to be raped. These civil rights crusaders are vital to gaining equality for women in our society, but they are adult women and they are fighting for civil rights. They are not children whose parents are ignorant to the fact that they are placing their child in a very dangerous situation.
I know that I only caught a glimpse of this family, so I don’t have a whole lot to base this blog on aside from my personal perception. I have questioned whether it was possible that the family communicated well, and I could not muster up a possible yes in my mind. I questioned whether it was possible that the young woman had a positive body image or very much self-respect, and I still came up with a no. Parenting is never, ever, easy. I will never claim that it is. I just cannot understand how that father could even bear to allow his teenaged daughter to appear in public with her butt hanging out of her shorts. He is a man, and he knows exactly where most men’s minds go when they are presented with such an image, even when they don’t want for it to. Where in the hell was his protective instinct, and what on earth was he thinking? I guess I will just have to wonder.