A little note to the Volleyball Moms out there.
Jane is playing volleyball these days and it’s just terrific. It’s a sport that kids come to a little later so there’s less parental involvement on the court than there is with other sports. I may have just lucked out with Jane’s particular group but the volleyball parents are absolutely wonderful. The coaches are also amazing.
As amazing as volleyball is I need every parent to know why there should be no cameras at your daughter’s volleyball matches.
These are Jane’s shorts.
The first time she wore them she was clearly uncomfortable. She’d be tugging at them and pulling them down. To be frank Mr. G. and I were also a little uncomfortable just looking at her in them. Our daughter’s shorts were smaller and tighter than our son’s underwear. I tell myself that this is okay because she’s an athletic girl and it’s different than being the girl dancing on the sidelines while the boys shoot hoops.
I didn’t actually believe my self-talk. Who would?
I’m resigned to the fact that shorty shorts are the volleyball uniform. I’m not happy about it but it’s not the battle I’m about to wage as certainly it’s not one that I’m likely to win. Jane would lose.
So after a million misgivings about sexy looking shorts on my thirteen year old daughter I learned to suck it up and smile. Now when I look at her and her teammates I see athletic young women who run around gymnasium floors and leap vertically to hit the ball with an outstretched arm. There is no mistaking a volleyball player for anything other than an athlete when she is on the court.
Unless you’re a guy with a camera.
When I log out of google (logging out matters because it won’t be a personalized search) and search the term “volleyball shorts” these are the images that come up.
If you feel a little sick to your stomach, if you feel a little bad that clearly underage girls are objectified like that then you know how I feel.
There are entire pages of Reddit devoted to girls in volleyball shorts. If you visit these pages you’ll probably feel a mix of rage and shame. If you feel excited I hope you’re a 13 year old boy and not a pedophile, the girls are… well, they’re little girls.
Of course a month ago Reddit had a “necessary change in policy” outlined here. It includes:
We have very few rules here on reddit; no spamming, no cheating, no personal info, nothing illegal, and no interfering the site’s functions. Today we are adding another rule: No suggestive or sexual content featuring minors.
Although noble(ish) Reddit hasn’t been able to enforce this well. Reddit is not the whole internet, to many it is the perfect representative, but Reddit is just a tiny corner of the internet and there are sites devoted to girls in volleyball shorts with nothing but crotch shots.
There are some important takeaways here for all the volleyball parents.
- Do not share photos of your daughter’s volleyball team online without double checking for photos you want to keep private. This includes email.
- Do not allow your daughter to be photographed from behind by strangers while playing volleyball.
- Talk to your volleyball club about why you don’t want your daughter photographed by just anyone, do a quick google search with them and show them why.
Just yesterday the International Volleyball Federation announced that out of sensitivity to different cultures the women’s beach volleyball teams in London will be allowed to wear shorts that reach almost to the knee (yes they set a maximum length) as well as long sleeved shirts. This leaves me hopeful for years to com. For today there’s got to be a lockdown on how we’re allowing our daughter’s images to be used.
And please before anyone tries to explain that these shorts are somehow performance related I’d like to share with you an image of elite boys volleyball.