Let me start by saying that I am completely exhausted. It takes all I have to keep my eyes awake and prevent dozing off while I’m driving.
I couldn’t comprehend why, an hour after putting my toddler to bed in the middle of the night, I was still awake, gazing at ceiling shadows, and lacking the desire to go to sleep.
The entire incident had been started by someone else’s statements. Parents at the elementary school where my three children go get emails once a week with a combination of administrative reminders and school-related information (don’t forget to wear spots next week!).
It’s time to send the money for the trip to the pantomime! (pictures of happy kids who have won races or constructed replicas of mediaeval homes).
The sentence that had been keeping me up at night appeared a few days prior, tucked away in the midst of all this: “We would like to urge that the girls wear a form of cycling shorts beneath their gowns to protect their modesty when playing outside.”
As soon as I noticed this conscientious objection, I felt like a degenerate with no regard for social graces or my children’s welfare, and it only became worse as time went on.
When I talked to a few friends, they agreed that teaching my daughters that wearing their underwear is inappropriate is abhorrent. Others were able to share their experiences because they had similar ones at different schools.
Children’s Reaction: Positive
I asked the headteacher a straightforward question in response to the kids’ enthusiastic response: What does it mean to teach modesty to kids between the ages of four and ten?
I was interested in where this mysterious persona came from. She continued, “In the topic of underwear,” youngsters engaging in typical school activities like sitting on the floor or playing outside were “an issue,” and once again, all the ladies had to practise this strange behaviour known as “maintaining their modesty.” She gave a kind but evasive response.
I was outraged.
I felt tricked, disregarded, and undervalued, and that anger took over and woke me up at three in the morning with a vengeance.
In order to accomplish that, I wrote another another email in the early morning. Without a doubt, I was friendly.
I spoke frankly about how satisfied I was with the school and virtually everything else about it, and how I was only asking for an explanation because I couldn’t come up with a fair answer to some of my queries. As a lady, you have to learn to be kind to people even if you want to punch them.
I can Inform my Kids about it.
I encouraged them to start by making the audacious claim that the school does not want other students to see the contents of female students’ underwear. Even if “modesty” is absolutely necessary, at least I can explain it to my kids in words they can comprehend.
I first needed a justification. What’s up with the underpants on my gals, please? What if you’re uncomfortable with a certain aspect of the colour or cut?
If it would help, I would happily throw away my youngest daughter’s favourite pair of garish yellow Dora the Explorer underwear. It’s conceivable that’s why as there is only one layer of fabric between their bottoms and the outside world.
Young girls’ genitalia might require double-bagging, just like meat at the grocery store meat counter. In light of the fact that every passing observer is unprotected from seeing their single-bagged vulvas, might I then suggest something to them for their school swimming classes?
I’m not sure what to make of the idea of prepubescent toddlers wearing underwear while dressed; it seems like a horrible idea to me.
Minor warming and a higher incidence of uTIs could be deliberate tactics to heighten their self-consciousness about being female. All of this is, after all, vital preparation for womanhood.
I Questioned the Principal.
A few years ago, I questioned the headteacher’s claim that this was done to spare the other kids shame and discomfort because I thought the majority of the four to eleven-year-olds in the school were either uninterested in displays of underwear or found them funny, as most young kids do.
Older kids may be more conscious of the relationship between their own bodies and others’ bodies and sexual behaviour because puberty is a novel notion to them.
I’d like teachers to have a conversation with the older students about this and encourage them to express any fresh emotions or ideas they may be thinking.
Blaming young girls for gaining sexual awareness at an early age is both wrong and ridiculous, as if stopping them from doing handstands might address all the issues related to this.
The email hit me hard when I first read it because it seemed to sum up many of the things that, despite society’s best efforts, I have been striving so hard to prevent my children from learning.
Don’t put all of your effort into everything you do, whether it’s politics, work, or sports; instead, spend some of it thinking about how other people will see you.
Wear skirts, but keep your underwear covered; don’t overdo your makeup, but avoid seeming slutty; enjoy yourself, but don’t be conceited. To conceal, mask, and contain the reality that your body is a problem for you and people around you, a lot of work needs to be done.