Dear Grandparenting: I think of my grandkids as my babies, still cuddly and adorable in my mind’s eye. Some days I have a hard time accepting the fact my babies have grown. All I need to do is close my eyes and there I am watching my babies play on the beach way back when.
My granddaughter Alexa still likes the beach. I just finished watching a little video clip my daughter sent from their vacation. Alexa is wearing a bikini, or almost wearing it. The whole thing consists of about one square yard of material.
There is next to nothing covering her behind. The front consists of a small triangle. It’s a good thing she doesn’t have any boobs to speak of yet. All she has up top are these two little pieces of fabric.
My granddaughter turns 12 this fall. She’s just a kid. How do they get away with marketing and selling this kind of indecent stuff to children? My beach baby has the mind of an adolescent and the look of a 21-year-old. Your thoughts? Robyn Isles, The Villages, Florida
Dear Robyn: Blame it on France, the 1946 birthplace of the basic bikini. And if it was good enough for Brigitte Bardot, American women decided it was good enough for them.
They got little argument from men. Bikinis took East and West Coast beaches by storm in the 1960s. And ever since, the bikini’s skimpy proportions have been sliced and diced to expose even more skin. There’s the string bikini, microkini, the topless monokini, sling bikini, stick-on-bikini and trikini.
Are they marketed to youngsters? You bet. Did you think global giants of commerce would neglect the lucrative youth segment? Grandchildren are exposed to sexually suggestive images and content daily, and it’s not about to stop.
If grandparents and other family members do not proactively emphasize that one’s self worth is not based on appearance, then who will? Forbidding a child to wear racy attire is a start, not a solution. The problem area is the space between their ears, not their torso. It’s an inside game, so develop that conversation.
Grand remark of the week
Lucky Lady from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania is ready with the answer when people inquire about her grandchildren:
“All my grandchildren are brilliant and beautiful and take after their grandmother.”