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  #1  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:27 PM
Romeo and Whatsherface Romeo and Whatsherface is offline
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Topless Little Girl: OK?

My neighbors have two teen boys and a seven-year-old little girl. The little girl came to visit me in my yard last week wearing only swimsuit bottoms. Yesterday, she was in her yard wearing the same bottoms, no top. (They do not have a privacy fence, and you can see into their back yard from the street.) I've seen toddler girls who have worn only bottoms, but this girl seems a little old for that.

Obviously, being in your yard or neighborhood is a little different than going to a restaurant or store, but her attire (or lack thereof) concerns me. I live in a small town, but child molestation happens here, too. That's my main concern.

I don't have a problem with nudity. Hell, the whole family can jump naked on their trampoline and I wouldn't care, though I wouldn't volunteer to be spotter. I'm just concerned about her security.

Would you let your young daughter go topless outdoors? At what age should a little girl stop going topless?
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:30 PM
Alice The Goon Alice The Goon is offline
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I think 7 is at the very tip-top end of it being okay to go around topless, in this day and age. In this situation, I'd probably go out and buy the girl a complete bathing suit and present it to her parent(s) and tell them that someone gave it to me or I'd had it laying around the house going unused. Hopefully that gives them the hint without embarrassing them or being too awkward.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:35 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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I have a two year old and a six year old who frequently run out in the backyard naked. My wife gets annoyed about it, but I don't really care. We have a fenced in yard that isn't easy to see into, and any peeping pedophile isn't going to be able to harm them just by looking anyway (and they're never unsupervised).

I spent a lot of years in parts of the world where nudity in young children was commonplace and unremarkable, so it doesn't seem weird to me. It's actually the paranoia about it that seems weird to me.

Last edited by Diogenes the Cynic; 08-29-2011 at 09:38 PM..
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:38 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Originally Posted by Alice The Goon View Post
I think 7 is at the very tip-top end of it being okay to go around topless, in this day and age.
Agree that 7 is top top age at which I'd be comfortable with it. Fortunately, with my oldest daughter (now almost 12), that's about the age when self-consciousness started to take care of itself.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:53 PM
Becky2844 Becky2844 is offline
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Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
Agree that 7 is top top age at which I'd be comfortable with it. Fortunately, with my oldest daughter (now almost 12), that's about the age when self-consciousness started to take care of itself.
Exactly what I was going to say. I was a tomboy & played mostly with boys, all of us running around topless. At around seven, I suddenly felt self-conscience about it, and put on a shirt. (Didn't go topless again till many years later when......lol)
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:54 PM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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I agree - I think she's just on the cusp. It'd probably make me feel a little uncomfortable, but I come from a fairly tight-assed family where "that's just not done." (I'm channeling my mother.) I try not to be tight-assed myself, but walking up to non-family members like that seems a little...odd.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:55 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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I would put the age at 6. I don't really care personally, as I generally think parts is parts. But pedophiles give me the heebie-jeebies. Mind you, they'd still obsess with the child fully-clothed, but I'd rather not help them take their fantasies further.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:46 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
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Yeah. Pedophiles. That's what this is about.
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2011, 11:20 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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I guess I'm tired. I keep reading the title as Toeless.
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  #10  
Old 08-29-2011, 11:26 PM
Alice The Goon Alice The Goon is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I guess I'm tired. I keep reading the title as Toeless.

They call her Ilene.
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  #11  
Old 08-29-2011, 11:44 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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I thought maybe she was named after Tippi Hedren.
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2011, 03:23 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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What I find offensive is girls young enough to not even have buds wearing bikini tops - there's nothing that needs to be covered and nothing that needs to be kept in place, so WTF? It's female, therefore it must be covered as much as possible?
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2011, 03:28 AM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
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Unless she's got early boobs, yes, it's fine. It's especially fine in her own garden.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2011, 03:31 AM
6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast is offline
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I'm with you, Nava. She's a topless little girl, people! A flat-chested, 7-year-old kid. What is there to be concerned about?
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2011, 04:41 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Ridiculous that this is even a question.

She is 7! if she is comfortable with it then it is everyone else that has the problem.

And Alice the Goon I think that is a particularly ill-advised response. It is back-door criticism and I would see through it in an instant and would most certainly take offence.

To the OP, if you have a problem with it speak to the parents as an adult. Though I personally think you are over-reacting and can't really fathom why it makes you uncomfortable.
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2011, 05:31 AM
nashiitashii nashiitashii is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
What I find offensive is girls young enough to not even have buds wearing bikini tops - there's nothing that needs to be covered and nothing that needs to be kept in place, so WTF? It's female, therefore it must be covered as much as possible?
I can agree with you on that, but for a lot of Americans, covering nonexistent breasts is a demonstration of two things: modesty and gender designation. I think it's a little silly, as small children are small children and are not yet sexual beings in the adult sense of the word.

As for the limit for toplessness, I would target it around the time that she starts growing breast buds-- as soon as it's apparent that she is starting puberty, it's time to start following the same modesty rules as Mom. Pedophiles shouldn't be a concern in this, as the norm for child molestation is going to be someone who is already in close contact with the family, if not a family member; being covered in public wouldn't prevent someone from that group from seeing their target in less than covered states of dress.
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  #17  
Old 08-30-2011, 07:56 AM
Romeo and Whatsherface Romeo and Whatsherface is offline
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Ridiculous that this is even a question.

She is 7! if she is comfortable with it then it is everyone else that has the problem.

And Alice the Goon I think that is a particularly ill-advised response. It is back-door criticism and I would see through it in an instant and would most certainly take offence.

To the OP, if you have a problem with it speak to the parents as an adult. Though I personally think you are over-reacting and can't really fathom why it makes you uncomfortable.
To repeat, what a family does in its own yard is that family's business. I don't have a problem with adults or children going nude in their own property. The point is, their yard is not private. And she left her yard and came over to visit me. I have a friendly relationship with the family, but they barely know me.

Some years back, a little girl here was raped and murdered by a pedophile, (a neighbor--he smothered her with a pillow and stuffed her in a golf bag, then went out to help search for her). I knew the little girl and her family--she was a lively, bright-eyed, fun-loving kid. So yeah, in a way, I guess it IS about pedophiles.

But my daughter always wore an entire swimsuit, and I have never seen a girl over 2 or 3 in a public place like a beach or swimming pool who was NOT fully covered. Yeah, it does seem kind of silly when you consider there's nothing to cover until a few years later (though I read awhile back that the age when girls first need bras has dropped and a number of girls start wearing them at 9--the article attributed it to the rise in obesity), but there seems to be some kind of tacit rule about this. Hence the post.

Thanks for the responses--very illuminating!
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  #18  
Old 08-30-2011, 10:25 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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A little girl is not going to be protected from a predator just because she's wearing a top.
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  #19  
Old 08-30-2011, 10:28 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
What I find offensive is girls young enough to not even have buds wearing bikini tops - there's nothing that needs to be covered and nothing that needs to be kept in place, so WTF? It's female, therefore it must be covered as much as possible?
Americans have sexualized breasts to the extent that we can't see them as anything but sexual. They are the same as genitals to us. Even public breast-feeding - which is totally non-sexual and exactly what breasts are supposed to be for - is controversial here. We think it's "nudity."
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  #20  
Old 08-30-2011, 11:05 AM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
Americans have sexualized breasts to the extent that we can't see them as anything but sexual.
Even when they're not even there.
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  #21  
Old 08-30-2011, 11:19 AM
kathmandu kathmandu is offline
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I think little girls topless on the beach is cute. I find little girls on the beach wearing bikinis a bit skeevy - IMO, bikinis were designed to make women look sexually appealing, and aren't appropriate for little girls.

I obviously don't have any insight into the mindset of pedophiles, but I can't imagine that they would find little girls in swimsuits any less appealing than little girls in bottoms only.

My daughter is nearly 4, and while I wouldn't really think twice about having her run around topless, she wears a tankini to the beach. It provides protection from the sun and it covers everything a one piece covers with the bonus of not having to take off an entire suit to go to the bathroom.
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  #22  
Old 08-30-2011, 11:20 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
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Six or seven is probably about the limit.
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  #23  
Old 08-30-2011, 11:27 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Little kids are un-selfconscious for the most part, so let them enjoy their innocence while it lasts. I remember my oldest son was horrified to have anybody see his underwear, but would run around the house buck naked.
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  #24  
Old 08-30-2011, 11:44 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Until a girl shows some breast development, topless is fine. Anyone who complains has a problem.
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  #25  
Old 08-30-2011, 12:17 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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My opinion is that the girl should probably be topped if visible to the neighborhood. My opinion is also that the OP would be out of line to instruct the parents on this point. Was this family living there when the murder happened? Do they know about it? If so, then there's nothing else you can do. Trust me, you will accomplish nothing but to make an enemy.
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  #26  
Old 08-30-2011, 02:14 PM
Alice The Goon Alice The Goon is offline
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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
Until a girl shows some breast development, topless is fine. Anyone who complains has a problem.

I didn't get breasts until I was 13. So at 12, I would have been fine walking around the neighborhood topless?
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  #27  
Old 08-30-2011, 03:19 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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I didn't get the beginnings of breasts until I was 15-16. But I stopped wanted to be naked in front of anyone about age 7.

My thought is that if it's fine in France, there is nothing intrinsically inappropriate or morally wrong about it anywhere else. Girls and women of all degrees of development, shapes, and sizes routinely go topless at many public beaches and pools there. I have not heard that there are negative consequences.

Social mores are different here but it's mostly up to the parents of any individual child, and should be on a case by case basis.

I'm probably just wacky though - I think public nudity should be allowed in certain circumstances (beaches, public baths and gyms) everywhere. IMO it's healthier to know what real people look like nude (since we're surrounded by altered images of certain types of idealized bodies that do not look like the majority at all times), and to not fetishize nudity.
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  #28  
Old 08-30-2011, 04:06 PM
papergirl papergirl is offline
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I couldn't keep ANY clothes on my daughter until she was nearly school age. She ran around like a naked heathen (well, I guess she was a naked heathen) for about 4 years or so. Then it was difficult to keep tops on her in hot weather.
Finally this past year (she's 10) she's gotten prominent enough breast buds that even she realizes she needs not only a top but an actual "bra"--a stretchy sports bra deal, which she really likes.
Now her favorite at-home outfit is a flowy hippie skirt and two bright sports bras layered.

I think I was 10ish before my mom started making me wear a shirt--that's how I realized I was getting boobs!
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  #29  
Old 08-30-2011, 04:26 PM
6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast is offline
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My thought is that if it's fine in France, there is nothing intrinsically inappropriate or morally wrong about it anywhere else.
Totally agree, rhubarbarin.

And where is that place in France where the ladies wear no pants...?
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  #30  
Old 08-30-2011, 06:23 PM
pancakes3 pancakes3 is offline
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good lord i've never felt like such a prude. i was thinking 3-4 was when i'd stop letting my not-yet-born kids run around nekkid.
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  #31  
Old 08-30-2011, 06:30 PM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
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Originally Posted by Alice The Goon View Post
I didn't get breasts until I was 13. So at 12, I would have been fine walking around the neighborhood topless?
Age does play a part too, true, but 12-year-old girls who don't have breasts yet do still usually have some other signs of puberty - they don't still have the same figures they did when they were 7.
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  #32  
Old 08-30-2011, 06:40 PM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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Pedophiles already know what is underneath the clothes. The danger here is a small girl walking around the neighborhood and visiting neighbor's houses without a parent or guardian. If the family were out walking together, I would think 7 is not too old to go topless. In their own home and yard obviously they should dress any way they want.

In a few years they may need to build a better fence and/or keep their curtains closed as, at some age, her nakedness becomes offensive to others sensibilities. Public decency laws probably stipulate a cutoff age for this kind of thing although I'm not sure of that nor would I use them as a literal guide. For right now what it seems they should concentrate on is teaching her not to walk over to (almost) stranger's houses alone, topless or not.
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  #33  
Old 08-30-2011, 06:59 PM
nashiitashii nashiitashii is offline
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Originally Posted by Alice The Goon View Post
I didn't get breasts until I was 13. So at 12, I would have been fine walking around the neighborhood topless?
I'm sure you started growing pubes around 8 or 9, though, right? Signs of puberty = no more toplessness.
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  #34  
Old 08-30-2011, 07:19 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
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I'm sure you started growing pubes around 8 or 9, though, right? Signs of puberty = no more toplessness.
8 or 9? I didn't have any sign of body hair till I was 13. I was a late bloomer though and didn't start my period till I was 16. But none of my little friends had pubic hair at 9 either. I did get in mild trouble once when I was 10 for biking around the neighbourhood topless with my friend, who was also topless.
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  #35  
Old 08-30-2011, 07:48 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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Somewhere, upon reading this thread, Caesario has died a very, VERY happy man, and his misunderstood, yet Noble Spirit is now finally at peace....
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  #36  
Old 08-30-2011, 08:03 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alice The Goon View Post
I didn't get breasts until I was 13. So at 12, I would have been fine walking around the neighborhood topless?
Believe it or not, I had buds at age 7. It was a great source of embarrassment and frustration for me. Even my brothers thought I was fair game for "tittie-twisters" and my mother just kept repeating that I didn't need a bra. It took a teacher sending a note home before my parents owned up to the issue.

It's just a personal belief of mine but I think once kids are old enough to be in school, they should wear a full suit.
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  #37  
Old 08-31-2011, 02:20 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Alice The Goon View Post
I didn't get breasts until I was 13. So at 12, I would have been fine walking around the neighborhood topless?
I was, and I was one of the early developers - many of my classmates were topless at 14, since they were still as flat as boards. While you could have had full-torso swimsuits before (I didn't), you stopped going topless on the same day you got your first bra.
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  #38  
Old 08-31-2011, 02:29 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Wrestled with this question myself here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/....php?p=2419244

Yeah, up to about 7, it shouldn't be a problem in not-very public contexts.
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  #39  
Old 08-31-2011, 07:15 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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I can't see why it would be a problem at age 7, and certainly not in her own garden! I totally reserve the right to arbitrarily change my mind in future, though, now that I have a little girl of my own (as of two weeks ago - obligatory new-dad brag )
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  #40  
Old 08-31-2011, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by foolsguinea View Post
Yeah. Pedophiles. That's what this is about.
Why wouldn't it be? What would be the problem of seeing an undeveloped female's breasts except if you thought they were sexually alluring to some people? The reason women in general don't go around topless (or, with bigger-breasted women, wear only cut out bras for support) is because they don't like people gawking at them, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
Pedophiles already know what is underneath the clothes.
And straight men already know what's under a woman's clothes. That doesn't seem to be enough for most women to go around topless (even outside the U.S.).

Furthermore, I've done at least a couple papers on pedophiles. And one interview I read mentioned that seeing a kid that doesn't have the societally normal sense of modesty often indicates permissive or uninvolved parents, which meant the child would likely be an easier target.
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  #41  
Old 08-31-2011, 08:51 AM
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I simply do not understand the proprieties of clothing. It seems to me a lot of people spend a lot of money on things that are completely unnecessary except for proprieties. Like neck ties on men and, to keep it in the context of this thread, tops on little girls.
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  #42  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:02 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
Why wouldn't it be? What would be the problem of seeing an undeveloped female's breasts except if you thought they were sexually alluring to some people? The reason women in general don't go around topless (or, with bigger-breasted women, wear only cut out bras for support) is because they don't like people gawking at them, right?



And straight men already know what's under a woman's clothes. That doesn't seem to be enough for most women to go around topless (even outside the U.S.).

Furthermore, I've done at least a couple papers on pedophiles. And one interview I read mentioned that seeing a kid that doesn't have the societally normal sense of modesty often indicates permissive or uninvolved parents, which meant the child would likely be an easier target.
If a 7 year old is walking around in a public place unsupervised, then THAT is the problem, and THAT is what will make her a target for pedophiles, not her state of dress. Is a predator more likely to try to snatch an unsupervised child with a bikini top on or a supervised child without one?
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  #43  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:18 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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When, when, when will society stop equating a female's state of dress with her "asking for it"????

I remember a Montel show when he interviewed a 21 year old guy in prison for impregnanting a 10 year old girl. He stated ranting about how "she had a crush on me and dressed like Brittany Spears and was always sitting in my lap." Montel's response was "I don't care what she did. The only way your pants got unzipped is if you did it."

Pedophiles always claim their victim "was asking for it." I don't care if a six year old (or 26 year old or 66 year old) is walking down the street naked. Nobody has a right to lay one finger on them.
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  #44  
Old 08-31-2011, 02:21 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is online now
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Completely a ridiculous concept created by prudishness to me. This girl is simply going around topless just like any boy or similar age. At some point someone has to come along and explain we live in a sexist society where it is unacceptable for girls to behave as boys do and she needs to cover herself more so then the opposite sex. I'd never want to be that person.

People don't even think of such restrictions as sexist it's somehow protecting the girl, those pedophiles or leering men when she's older are something she needs to compensate for? Fuck that. Really how is requiring tops for girls any different then requiring burkas? Which people do generally regard as sexist and dehumanizing?
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  #45  
Old 08-31-2011, 10:27 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
I don't care if a six year old (or 26 year old or 66 year old) is walking down the street naked. Nobody has a right to lay one finger on them.
The fact that nobody has a right to lay a finger on them (topless or not) doesn't mean they don't. To put it differently, nobody has a right to shoot a six-year-old child with a gun but that doesn't stop it from happening. Parents just try to take precautions to prevent it from happening. Most of us act out of concern for the welfare of the child.

My child would get a full swimsuit, yours might not. Chances are, neither of them are going to grow up twisted because of what they wore when they played in the kiddie pool.
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  #46  
Old 09-01-2011, 08:28 AM
2square4u 2square4u is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
What I find offensive is girls young enough to not even have buds wearing bikini tops - there's nothing that needs to be covered and nothing that needs to be kept in place, so WTF?
QFT.

I mean, a 7-year old girl totally comfortable with the situation, and someone thinks she has to wear a top? Seriously, guys!
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  #47  
Old 09-02-2011, 02:35 AM
scootergirl scootergirl is online now
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I ran around topless until much older than that. I didn't develop at all until I was 12. If there are no sing of boobs, I don't see what the problem is....especially in her own yard.
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  #48  
Old 09-02-2011, 09:52 AM
Namkcalb Namkcalb is offline
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I am not a parent, but I really don't see the point of forcing pre-pubescent kids to cover something that's not there.

If your mind is conceptualising young children as objects of sexual desire, then it's your problem.
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  #49  
Old 09-02-2011, 10:58 AM
iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is offline
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Annie Xmas wrote:

Quote:
Pedophiles always claim their victim "was asking for it." I don't care if a six year old (or 26 year old or 66 year old) is walking down the street naked. Nobody has a right to lay one finger on them.
Annie, I commend you for the bold, risky stance you take against pedophilia. I second it. Sincerely.
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  #50  
Old 09-02-2011, 11:00 AM
AndyLee AndyLee is offline
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I just saw an episode of Father Knows Best on Antenna TV and the little girl, whatever her name was, was topless and taking a bath. It seemed kind off as she was like 8 or 9 at the time.
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