And who is so barbarous as not to understand that the foot of a man is nobler than his shoe, and his skin nobler than that of the sheep with which he is clothed. -Michelangelo
One mom, whose child interestingly enough is male, objected. She challenged the school principal with this statement: “Setting one standard for half of the student body only promotes the idea that girls bodies are naturally shameful.” The mom won. The t-shirt was made optional, but when the pool party took place on Monday the son reported that no one wore a t-shirt. Oh, and just for the record, no one died, no one spontaneously burst into flames, no one was raped, and girls still have cooties. Children had fun once the silly adult rules were removed.
Body shaming is increasingly getting a lot of press attention thanks to a number of women, primarily, who have decided they’re just not going to tolerate the centuries-old double standard. They are no longer willing to accept society’s inference that it is acceptable for men to be overweight, but not women; that it is fine for men to go out in public looking disheveled and dirty, but not women; that men can wander around freely without their shirts, but not women. Such long-standing rules, and in many cases actual laws, have the ultimate effect of telling women that their bodies are somehow inferior to men’s. While that attitude might have been acceptable in a society where women were relegated to kitchen work and child-bearing, we’ve moved a bit beyond that.
Women around the world are beginning to stand up, and I am of the belief that any man who does not support them is a fool and a misogynist. The Free The Nipple campaign, which has gone global in the past year, specifically works to overturn laws and change public perception regarding women being topless in public. On a larger scale, however, the more significant message is that shaming women’s bodies, any part of her body, in any way, at any age, under any circumstances is wrong!
I applaud Jennifer Smith, the Indianapolis mom who had the courage to challenge a body-shaming rule and stand up for the rights of little girls. What we need now are more women, and men, taking a stand for what you already know is right. Body shaming is insensitive, unnecessary, and cruel. We need to look at our actions, our policies, and even our manner of speaking and weed out all the little ways in which we tell women that their bodies are in any way inferior. Let no inference stand. The female body is a wonderful thing, every last one of them.