Letter to the Editor: Stop policing women’s bodies

Letter to the Editor: Stop policing women’s bodies

When are we going to STOP sexualizing our female population?

Imagine this headline: “Athlete is disqualified after race due to violation of the modesty rule.

“The official commented, ‘I could see evidence of circumcision, and decided that outlining his genital area would incite lust and that must be punished.’”

Ridiculous? Yes — because no one has ever, or would ever, say that to a male swimmer. However, this is essentially what was said to the Dimond High athlete this past weekend. Her body, curvier than the others, in the same uniform as the others, was judged, and she was punished for not immediately picking a wedgie. Some official saw the curve of cheek and instantly sexualized the athlete, and declared that all her hard work and dedication to a sport she loves is immaterial and invalid in the face of a half-moon.

When — WHEN are we going to STOP sexualizing our female population?

My child wasn’t much for modesty rules, preferring comfort over clothing from the time she was born until now. Aside from insisting she put SOMETHING on before we went in public, I let her grow in a sort of feral freedom that only enhanced her independence and confidence. It was no shock she chose swimming — where she wore mostly skin, most of the time.

She grew up in locker rooms — swimming year-round, age 8-18 — and was ridiculed for her confidence that allowed her to change freely, not hiding behind a towel, awkwardly attempting to shrink from view. They called her names, shamed her, demanded she cover up, instead of normalizing the thought that this is a shower, and one showers naked. Also, it is ridiculous to hide your skin in a roomful of skin. It is JUST SKIN. If it is more than that to you, perhaps your own motives for being in the changing room should be addressed?

I stood by as she told me to let her handle it, a bristling angry mama bear, as she handled it with grace in the face of fire, saving tears for the privacy of her room where she thought I didn’t see, didn’t know — all the while proud of the strength of character and humanity my child exhibited.

I am glad that the athlete was given what she was due. I am sad that we have to have this conversation AGAIN. I challenge you — YES YOU — to stand up for our girls who are strong and determined and talented and yes, beautiful.

Our bodies are not a distraction. We do not deserve less than you. We are not possessions to be owned, and the fact that we are STILL having this conversation in 2019 is disgusting and exhausting. I will not be silenced, nor will my daughters — OR sons — until you realize that the curve of a cheek, or the glimpse of a collarbone does not give you the right to anything.

So stick that in your wedgie, and pick it.

— Beth Ulricksen, Kenai

More in Opinion

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: UAA: A place for you, a place for fresh starts

UAA, with campuses in Anchorage, Mat-Su, Kenai, Homer, Kodiak and Valdez, is a valuable asset to our state.

File
Opinion: To safeguard our future, it is critical we act now to protect our fisheries

To that end, we invite Biden administration decision-makers to visit our Alaska fishing communities.

Faith Myers stands at the doors of API. (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Protecting people with a disability should be a legislative priority

The question still to be answered: “Will mental health care improve?”

In this Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, file photo, front-line caregivers wait in line to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 patients, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska’s largest hospital, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, implemented crisis standards of care, prioritizing resources and treatments to those patients who have the potential to benefit the most. (Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Alaska Voices: Help us alleviate a crisis of care

“The acuity and number of patients now exceeds our resources and our ability to staff beds …”

Bill Walker, left, candidate for governor, and Heidi Drygas, right, candidate for lieutenant governor. (Photo provided, Bill Walker and Heidi Drygas)
Alaska Voices: In a time of crisis, Alaskans deserve true leadership

By Bill Walker and Heidi Drygas Leadership means taking strong positions in… Continue reading

)Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Hospital vaccine mandates make sense

lLt’s run through why some people are opposed to getting vaccinated…

A sign at Main Street Tap and Grill on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 alerts customers of a temporary closure due to a staff shortage and COVID-19 cases. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: What the pandemic taught us about crisis preparedness

History has shown that up to 25 percent of businesses that close because of disaster never reopen.

teaser
Opinion: The state’s financial puzzle would be easier to solve without stretched numbers

Better to use all the puzzle pieces to build a more durable bridge.

In this Monday, March 2, 2020, file photo, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum addresses the state’s coronavirus preparedness at a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Opinion: Alaska’s COVID response: Why we need legislative action

A question frequently asked: Can’t the governor just issue a new disaster declaration?

Most Read