A parenting debate has been sparked online after a PE teacher told a mum her nine-year-old daughter needed to wear a bra.
Turning to parenting site Mumsnet for advice, the mum revealed her child had asked her to buy the bra following a request from the teacher.
“DD came to me last night saying that she needed a sports bra or crop top for P.E in the future,” she wrote. “The teacher had told this to a group of girls who had been doing gymnastics and their t-shirts had fallen down when doing handstands.”
“I can only assume this is to cover up their 9-year-old nipples for fear of………..what exactly?” she continued.
“Are the boys to cover their nipples also?”
She went on to ask if she was being unreasonable to feel cross about the request.
“I can understand it being reasonable at 9 for girls who have started growing breasts,” she added.
“But again none of these girls who were told to cover up have.
“If that was the case surely the way to go about it would be to have a discreet word with that child’s parents rather than a blanket rule for all.
“Now my DD [darling daughter] thinks she has to cover up her non existent breasts.”
And reactions to the post were pretty mixed.
On the mum’s side
Some users shared the original poster’s anger about the subject.
“You need to tell the teacher to concentrate on her job and leave the parenting to the parents,” one user wrote.
“It’s entirely up to you and your daughter when she wears a bra or crop top, not her teacher. The girls can tuck their t-shirts into their shorts if needs be,” another parent agreed.
“I wouldn’t be happy that the girls are being given the message that their bodies must be covered, it’s sending the message that they are objects to be viewed rather than full people like the boys from a very early age,” another parent commented.
While one parent took things a stage further: “Make an appointment to see that teacher AND the HT and demand that they put guidelines in place which do not allow for any more sexualising of CHILDREN and that if anyone looks at a flat child’s chest and sees something sexual in it then THEY ARE THE PROBLEM. Not the child’s body,” they wrote.
Understand the teacher’s motives
But others could see where the teacher was coming from.
“It’s fair enough rather than singling put some girls. Lots of girls enter puberty at that age,” one parent commented.
“I needed a bra at 9,” another shared. “Better the teacher encourages all of them to wear one than singles out that one girl who knows she’s drawn the short straw by being first to develop.”
“I don’t really see the problem,” a third wrote. “It may only be an issue for some of the girls now but it’s only a matter of time for the others. Better to encourage them all now rather than having some of them feeling left out/wondering why their friends have them, etc. Or singling out the girls who obviously need them. Kids don’t like being different from their friends at that age, so I think the teacher’s approach is sensible.”
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