What Do Feminist Preschoolers Wear? A Bathing Suit Installment

Many of the little girl’s clothes are hand-me-downs (score!). At the moment, for all that’s in her clothes, she far prefers “tuwuly” dresses. That’s to say, she likes dresses that twirl. Other than a steady stream of underwear, these days, since she wears a favorite dress until you wrest it from her in a nearly forcible act after four-to-five days on average, she is not a major contributor to the family laundry avalanche.

Anyway, the baby bikini she was bequeathed with one long-ago batch of suits, I conveniently moved the top out of sight. If she wore it, she wore the bottom as her suit. This year’s bathing suit collection features an intact (Speedo) bikini.

At the moment, the “bathing suit that goes here and here but not here,” is her favorite. She’d like another, too, she said, “and not with big pieces.”

Coincidentally, she made the request on the bikini’s sixty-sixth birthday.

Hello, dilemma. I can’t decide what I think. Are bikinis themselves clothing lacking in feminist credentials or shall I take a page from celebrate-the-“tuwul” dressing and let her wear what she darn well pleases? I lean toward the latter.


Note: at the very lovely picnic we attended last night, she was a bit surprised to find that picnic-at-the-park does not automatically mean the constituency is her preschool pals. Then, she slipped at the water park straight away. It was nothing some time, and a Dora the Explorer band-aid couldn’t cure.

Earlier in the week, I’d wondered to myself whether an appropriate baby gift would be this: a box of Dora band-aids (or the equivalent, Hello Kitty or Spongebob) and a twenty-dollar bill. The band-aids are self-explanatory; they fix things, and parents are fixers. The twenty I’d suggest hanging onto until the kid is a teenager. At that time, you’ll need so many of them to hand out when the baby you can’t imagine crawling routinely walks out the door for full days that somehow seem to include going out to lunch. Oh, and a cow, I often send a cow, if the new mom is nursing. The reason for this is self-explanatory.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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