Things we learned on vacation this past week:
1. No one at the beach had a body like what we hear in advertisements and see in magazines. I pointed this out to 7yo Amelia and we counted on our fingers the different ways people were using their bodies, ie: walking down the beach, picking up shells, playing catch, swimming, running, playing with kids, walking dogs, etc
2. That beach souvenir shops sell mugs depicting bare female breasts or thong-wearing bottoms, but sell no mugs depicting men. Amelia said it was inappropriate, I said nudity wasn’t the problem, the sexism was.
3. Female animal trainers at Sea World and Clearwater Marine Aquarium are more than happy to answer science questions from little girls and do not give fluffy answers in reply. (I’m sure the men are too, we just seemed to run into female staff each time the kids had a question.)
4. There is only one male trainer at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and only one male dolphin. Girls run the joint! Also, if you color a picture for Winter the Dolphin like 4yo Benny did, the trainers promise to show it to her at bedtime.
5. Your first grader can read the “STRIPPERS HERE” and “LIVE NUDE GIRLS” and “HOT SEXXXX SHOPPE, Trucker discount” billboards that are everywhere as you drive through the Bible Belt (ironic). Having a G-rated conversation about patriarchy, commodification of the female body, and the selling of sex with your seven year old at 10pm while driving through Kentucky is an enormous test of patience and love as you try to help your small child understand the very unbalanced world she is growing up in.
6. Waitresses south in Indianapolis call everyone “Honey” and say “Y’all” a lot. Your 4yo is puzzled by deep Southern accent and asks why everyone is speaking Spanish to him.
7. Your mom will not let you bring home pelican wings that you found on the beach, and no, her opinion would not change even if they were still attached to the pelican they once belonged to.