Grab those pearls, you may need to clutch ’em when you read what I’m about to write.
Have you come across this story? Before today, I hadn’t. If you click the headline, it’ll take you to the story. Go ahead and click. I’ll wait.
Then read this.
Did you click and read both of those? Probably not. Am I going to shame you for not reading the assigned material?
Why no shame? Plenty of reasons. If I were a reader, I probably wouldn’t have clicked and read either. And it’s possible you have a life beyond my blog (I might shame you for that I guess- KIDDING) and your time is precious and I have such a deep and abiding appreciation for the fact that anyone clicks on the stuff I write and reads it; so I really have no business assigning additional reading. And, I’m really, really, really very, very, very sick of the fucking shaming, especially of girls and women. Also, there’s no need for you to read either piece, because they are just the latest iterations of the same old shit.
For what it’s worth, I am trying to be mature and grown up and talk like an adult and quit cussing. I will be making zero strides in that endeavor today.
Anyhoo. The story: Girl wins a swim race. Referee (i.e. person in a position of power) proceeds to disqualify said swimmer. Somewhere in there the term intergluteal cleft was uttered. Judge could see “butt cheek touching butt cheek” and deemed it worthy of a DQ.
Intergluteal cleft. That’s a term I might have learned when I took anatomy and physiology in college (a class I excelled in, thank you very little, with the exception of the kidney test– Where my Max Thompson fans at???), but it had since left my gray matter. I’m going to use it, because I find it kind of comical. And frankly, I need a little comedic relief right now, because this story line may well raise my blood pressure to stroke inducing levels.
The judge who disqualified this girl has not been publicly identified. Initially, I assumed said judge to be a man. And then I read this sentence:
An official who worked at Friday’s meet at Dimond High said the referee who disqualified the girl said she could see “butt cheek touching butt cheek.”
SHE could see “butt cheek touching butt cheek.”
Y’all. I cannot. I CANNOT. A grown ass woman did this to a high school athlete. I was seething when I assumed it was a man. Now my mother trucking head is exploding.
I don’t know who officiates swim meets, but I’d like to presume it’s people who have interest in and enthusiasm for the sport. I’d like to presume it’s people who understand the time and effort put forth by student athletes. I’d like to presume it’s people who support female athletes, especially if they themselves are female. Why, oh why, have I not yet learned to quit presuming?
This photo of my daughter was taken in 2016. This ensemble was typical of her swimming attire for the entire trip. The shorts were not swim shorts of any type, they were simply athletic type shorts which she insisted on wearing over her swimsuit. And while I do understand the appeal of a swim shirt, particularly if it blocks the sun, wearing this stuff when you’re spending the day on the water is NOT comfortable. I repeatedly asked her why she felt the need to wear so many clothes while swimming. Somewhere along the line I even wrote something (I don’t think I ever published it) about being concerned that I’d somehow fat shamed or body shamed my then 11 year old daughter. Truth be told, she was probably emulating me, as I’m not terribly comfortable in my own skin, particularly when all that’s covering it is a swimsuit. My point here, is that I was wishing she felt more free and confident with her body.
I can confidently tell you this need for excessive coverage was a phase, and we have most definitely come out on the other side. And I will admit, I now sometimes miss it. I sometimes wish her swimsuits had more material, her leggings were a bit looser, her crop tops a bit longer. But I also know this is MY hangup, and I’m working hard to limit it to that; and not make it her hangup.
This exchange took place in a facebook group a year ago, and I’m sharing it for a couple of reasons.
- What Lisa said. Please, please, please can we stop it, women?
- My daughter picked out her homecoming dress while I was an ocean away. It’s beautiful. It looks fantastic on her. The price was right. And the cut is, well, a little on the low side. When pictures are posted, she’ll be judged; as will I. I don’t give a fuck, because there is nothing wrong with the dress! Had I been with her when she tried it on, I might have tried to talk her out of it, which would’ve been ridiculous on my part.
Let it be known that I am NOT posting it to shame these women. In the words of my hero Janelle Hanchett, fuck shame. These women are simply calling out what we’ve ALL been conditioned to call out. I’ve been as guilty as anyone else about judging other females’ attire. Did I mention I’m really, really, really very, very, very sick of the fucking shaming, especially of girls and women? Yes, yes I did. I know because I cut and pasted most of that sentence from an above paragraph. But we need to be aware of our behavior.
And, as a mom of a daughter, I beseech ALL (men, women, teenagers, adults, teachers, principals, referees) of us to just fucking stop it.
Let my daughter feel pretty in her dress with no shame, let swimmers compete without having to worry about whether their swimsuits are riding up their asses, shut up about the damn leggings, skirt lengths and necklines.
The story of the swimmer in had an acceptable ending. The disqualification was reversed. But as the author of the second article you probably didn’t read says, there was damage done (ok, I’m shaming you just a little bit- it’s really good- please read it):
Reversing that disqualification was the right thing to do. But it doesn’t begin to undo the damage inflicted and the unfortunate lessons learned for that swimmer and her teammates and all the girls watching this story unfold.Heidi Stevens
We don’t do this to boys. We don’t worry that their skin-tight football pants are immodest and lust-inducing. We don’t fret that their shoulders show in their basketball jerseys. We don’t see their bare chests near a pool (or at a beach or a Cubs game or an outdoor concert, for that matter) and scurry into a panic.
I was concerned when my daughter was wearing too many clothes to swim in, then I tsk tsk’d a bit when her swimwear became skimpier than I would’ve liked. She can’t win. I can’t win. But we adults can work on our attitudes and reactions. And we can learn to support young women as they figure life out, WITHOUT shaming them for our hangups.
Grownups, let’s be grownups.