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Mom Says Her 2-Year-Old Daughter Was Asked To 'Cover Up' By Lifeguards While They Were At The Pool

Photo: @katiesturino / Instagram
Katie Sturino @katiesturino

A woman shared the harrowing reality of women and young girls' bodies being sexualized before they even have a grasp over their own identities.

In a video shared on Instagram, Katie Sturino recalled a story she had heard from one of her friends who is the mother of a 2-year-old girl. The toddler's mom claimed that her young daughter was shamed for her body, highlighting the disturbing patriarchal double standards that women seem to be subjected to even at a young age.

She was told to 'cover up' her daughter while they were at the pool.

In Sturino's video, she relayed the story of one of her mom friends' 2-year-old daughter being dress-coded while they were at the pool. "I was just catching up with my friend and she said that her two-year-old daughter was at swim lessons yesterday and all the little boys around her were shirtless," Sturino began.

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The toddler's mom had recalled seeing all of the other little boys at her daughter's swim lesson wearing their swim trunks with no shirts, while her daughter had been in swim bottoms without a shirt since she hadn't gotten around to putting it on the little girl yet.

Before she could get the chance, the mom was approached by two lifeguards.

"The lifeguard came over — two different lifeguards came over at two different times and said, ‘Ma’am, you need to put a shirt on your daughter. There’s no nudity allowed at the pool,'" Sturino continued, adding that when she heard what the lifeguards had said to her friend's daughter, she became instantly livid.

“I was like, This is it. This is when they start policing our bodies," she pointed out. "They start to say, ‘You gotta cover up. There’s something wrong with you. You’ve got to cover up, okay? This is not appropriate. Your body is not appropriate. You’re two years old. You’re a two-year-old little baby.' These rules are put on women from the start."

Sturino urged viewers to leave their thoughts on the situation in the comments section and acknowledged the double standards between the little boys at the pool and her friend's daughter being asked to cover up.

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This frightening reality that many women and young girls have to experience is only a direct result of the patriarchy and women's bodies being sexualized and policed before they are even able to recognize what is happening.

Women and girls are often subjected to rigid dress codes and reprimands for simply existing within their bodies, which reinforces this outdated idea that their bodies need to be regulated to prevent distraction or inappropriate behavior from others. 

In the comments section, many people were equally disturbed by a toddler being asked to cover up.

"This story is disturbing and is all kinds of messed up," one Instagram user pointed out. "It’s also a harrowing reminder that under a patriarchy, it doesn’t matter what age a female is… her body will always be sexualized, which means it will always be at risk of danger.”

Another user added, "She's a literal baby and her upper body looks exactly the same as every other boy there. It's not f-king nudity. This is [the] sexualization of a child and it's sick."

"I hate it! If you’re seeing a two-year-old's body as 'inappropriate' you’re the problem, my friend," a third user chimed in.

These frightening experiences can have profound and long-lasting effects on women and young girl's mental health, self-worth, and overall well-being. It only creates a hostile environment where women feel constantly judged, unsafe, and disempowered in their own bodies.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.