"Mummy, Please Can I Have Bra?"

“Mummy, please can I have a bra?”. Not what I was expecting my eldest to be asking for in the hottest week of the year. Most people are doing their best to wear as little as possible, but my 6 year old wants to wear more clothes. I can’t be alone in thinking it’s absolute madness than a 6 year old wants a bra (or crop top). And why does she want one? It appears the answer is peer pressure.

In M’s class of 30 with around 18 girls she says 6 of them are now wearing crop tops to school. The request to have one is possibly the first request she has made to have an identical item of clothing to her peers, it’s definitely the first one I haven’t been able to talk her out off. I remember wearing crop tops myself at school for a few years before I developed boobs, but surely I didn’t wear them on baking hot days? And I’m confident I didn’t wear them when I was in only year 1.

I think it’s ridiculous. A quick Google showed me that a crop top from good ole M&S costs around £8. That’s £8 for one item of underwear for a 6 year old! I struggle with that. They sell them sized from age 6 upwards so there must be a demand, but why do people think a 6 year old needs them? 

I understand that young girls want to grow up; they think being an adult is cool and fun. Make up, money and driving all seem really exciting, but they aren’t interested in the tidying, cleaning, work or other commitments which come with adulthood. And if it was just the wish to copy older children and their parents I would understand, but clearly it’s not.

I asked my daughter why the girls in her class were wearing crop tops:
M “So they don’t show their boobies”
Me “They don’t have boobies, they have nipples. Boys have nipples too and they don’t hide them do they? Why don’t the boys wear crop tops?”
M “Because they think they look stupid”.

Apparently that’s not to put her off though.

Me “Why do you want a crop top?”
M “So everyone doesn’t see my boobies”
Me “Why are you worried about them seeing you without a top on?”
M “Sometimes they laugh”
Me “At what?”
M “My nipples”
Me “Why?”
M “I don’t know”.

The girls in her class are 5 and 6 years old. My daughter has totally normal looking nipples. Puberty for girls, often starting with breast development, starts sometime between the age of 8 and 13. So even if you think it is necessary to hide breasts away these girls won’t have anything to hide for between 2 and 7 years. 

Why do we teach our girls they need to hide their bodies? Why are we so embarrassed and by nudity? I understand the fear parents have about paedophilia, but it is only the other children in their class and teachers that will see them getting changed yet parents are teaching their children the need to hide their bodies at school.

There has been a lot of talk recently about body confidence in adults and how to get bikini ready all we need is a body and a bikini, but what hope do we really have if 5 and 6 year olds are being told they must hide their body? 

I have blogged before about how at the gym I hide away in a booth to get changed and that I’m not confident to be naked, unlike most of the members of my gym it would seem, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being naked. I think anyone who has the confidence to reveal all should do where ever they want. I’m not talking about people who are exhibitionists and are doing it to get a reaction in others, flashers etc, I mean the people who just genuinely have no issue with being seen naked. 

The more naked people we see, particularly as we are growing up, the more children will realise that everyone’s body is different and that we are all ok. If we make them think nudity is wrong and the only naked or half naked people they see are air brushed models in magazines we are just going to create more problems with body issues.

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