It was sweltering, and after an hour or so of running about with a football, my daughter, Phoebe, who has just turned 11, had turned into a sweaty, par-boiled lobster and desperately wanted to take her T-shirt off to cool down. But she didn’t.
When I asked her why on earth not, she said in an exasperated voice, as if I didn’t understand anything, ‘Mum, I can’t take my top off in a park. People will stare and point!’
Once I’d picked my jaw up off the grass and tried to make sense of what she’d just said, I realised to my utter dismay that her fears were probably completely justified.
Where boys often take their tops off in the hot summer months, many girls, even as young and totally undeveloped as my younger daughter, already feel that they ‘shouldn’t’ expose their top halves in public. Because their nakedness is somehow . . . wrong.
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