- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 17 January 2018, 9:30AM
A mother sparked an online debate when she questioned whether an eight-year-old boy should be allowed to use a women's changing room.
The British Mumsnet user wrote about how she had taken her 10-year-old daughter to the local swimming baths but that the little girl had felt too uncomfortable to use the communal changing room - because other mothers were using it with their sons, the Daily Mail reports.
The mother explained that her daughter was "developing" and becoming more aware of her body, and felt especially self-conscious as one of the boys attended the same after-school activity club as she does.
The post sparked a flurry of responses from parents on both sides of the debate, with some arguing the little girl had "more of a right" to use the facility than the boys while others insisted the mother was overreacting.
Photo / Mumsnet
Taking to the online forum, the concerned mother explained: "DDs [darling daughters] go swimming at our local leisure centre. Fabulous setup. Regular ladies/gents communal changing areas.
"Plus large family cubicles, plus accessible cubicles, plus an individual changing village ... Over the past few weeks I have noticed that there are about three boys aged about 7/8 being taken into the ladies" changing room.
"They are well behaved kids and there are no major problems with them. Except that [my daughter] (10 and beginning to develop) is getting a bit uncomfortable - she knows at least one o them from an after-school activity."
She asked other parents whether there was "something she was missing" as they chose to use the women's changing room despite there being so many other options available.
Several parents thought it was reasonable for the mother and daughter to expect to use the facilities without young boys being there.
One posted: "Personally, I think if family changing rooms are available there is no need for children of the opposite sex to be in male or female changing rooms at any age. Can’t see what there is to miss!"
Another wrote: "Yes this is not fair on girls. But girls needs are almost always ignored."
However others questioned whether the little girl would be more comfortable using one of the other changing rooms available given her feelings about her body.
"No idea but if your dd is starting to get self conscious given the set up you describe wouldn’t the individual changing rooms be a more comfy option?," one asked.
Others argued that mothers of sons had every right to bring the boys into the changing room and pointed out they were not "sexually aware".
"If you have an issue with me taking me 7, SEVEN, year old boy in with me to change, instead of sending him off into a room of fully grown men alone, that issue is yours," one mother wrote.
Another agreed: "It makes more sense for a woman to take her male child into the women's changing rooms, than for an adult woman to shower and change in the men's changing rooms. How about a bit of support for mothers who have male children?"
This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.