She had no idea that what had started as an innocent and fun family outing would end in such unfairness, humiliation, and rage. The problem wasn’t the obnoxiously loud children, splashing and dunking each other into the cold water, nor was it the ridiculous price for food and tickets at the waterpark. The problem was that some people couldn’t deal with the fact that every man in the park was staring at her.
She had been in the water for just a minute or two when the ridiculous, spiteful girls approached her and singled her out. She couldn’t believe it! They had to pay for this.
Madelyn Scheaffer from Odessa, Missouri, was a dedicated mother who did everything she could to make sure her family was taken care of. But, when she reached her mid-30s, something happened that paved the way to a realization that had shattered her world.
And now, seven years later, these nasty teenagers at the waterpark were trying to undo all her hard work.
It had all begun on one particularly hot day. Madelyn had decided to do something she would never have dreamed of doing before. She took the long-forgotten swimming costume out from its box and tried it on. She smiled at her reflection in the mirror — it fitted perfectly!
But she never expected the day to end with shame and an epic battle for her rights.
Now, Madelyn was a tall and curvy woman, but she didn’t see anything wrong with her bikini as she tied it up and pulled her dress down over it. She gathered her family up for a surprise outing to Adventure Oasis Water Park to cool off.
But when she walked to the pool and pulled her dress over her head, she became aware of all the eyes burning a hole into her back.
Feeling a bit self-conscious, Madelyn sat down again and covered herself with a towel. She looked around and made a note of all the scantily-clad bodies all around her. But the men in the water park were all staring at her, too.
Out of her comfort zone but determined to enjoy herself, she cracked her warmest smile at the two teenage employees who were giving her the side-eye. When they smirked back at her, she couldn’t have guessed that the police would soon be involved.
Into The Water
Madelyn mentally prepared herself and dropped her towel again. Looking around, she sat down and slid into the cool water. She closed her eyes and focused on the sensation of the cool water swirling around her and began to relax.
But, not five minutes after she had gotten into the pool, the two female staff members approached her. And they were looking for trouble.
What had these girls just said to her? Madelyn’s face flushed. She was so taken aback that she couldn’t quite process the words. Were they telling her to leave? Why? She hadn’t done anything!
Squinting up at them through the glaring sunlight, she asked them to repeat themselves, just to be sure she was hearing correctly. And what did they have to say about her bikini?
Not satisfied with the water park employee’s answer, Madelyn insisted that they tell her the real reason why she was being singled out. She had a suspicion, but in this day and age, she didn’t really think that it couldn’t possibly be true.
Even though she had mentally prepared for this, she was still furious when they came right out and said it.
One of the girls, sighing, rolled her eyes as she repeated herself. Towering over the mom in the pool in a display of power, she facetiously informed Madelyn that her bikini bottoms were “too small” and that they were “inappropriate.”
She smirked knowingly at Madelyn. “This is a family park,” she sneered. But that couldn’t be right?
Madelyn felt mortified, but then she stopped herself. She knew that she was wearing “full” bikini bottoms, how dare they say otherwise! She looked around in confusion at all the other girls at the water park.
Her blood began to boil when she saw that most of them were showing a lot more skin than she was. There was something very wrong with this picture. She wasn’t buying it. What these girls were doing was out of pure spite!
Time To Fight
Madelyn’s emotions ran wild, fighting each other on her face. She felt a profound sense of shame and embarrassment that the young employees were commenting on her body. She felt totally violated. But then, she began to feel something else, so she stopped herself.
“I was embarrassed for a second, and then it was no, no way,” she recalls.
Taking A Stand
Madelyn turned to face the staff members, who were still looking her up and down accusingly. If the incident at the water park had happened years before, Madelyn said, the normally shy woman may not have had the courage to stick up for herself.
But she knew she had to take a stand. But why did the female employees have such a problem with her?
The Green-Eyed Monster
At 43 years old and weighing 170 pounds, Madelyn was looking fitter and feeling more confident than ever. She had shed over 100 pounds and had kept it off. Sure, her body wasn’t perfect. But all the men at the park were gawking at her, nonetheless.
But these nasty girls were trying to kick her out of the water park because they were jealous! That was the only logical explanation.
“My body is different than the young girls that were walking around in their bikinis, but why should I be made ashamed of my body?” Madelyn said. “I am comfortable in my bikini. I am happy with who I am. My first reaction was why are you singling me out? They said that my bottoms were inappropriate. That was funny to me because they are full-size bottoms.”
But what was she going to do about it?
But the women wouldn’t let it go. They said that Madelyn had two options. She could cover herself up with a pair of shorts, or she could leave the waterpark. Madelyn, now incensed, asked to speak to the supervisor on duty.
“Well I am not covering up, Madelyn said, enraged. “And if you expect me to leave, you had better call the police and have them escort me out.” Madelyn had already been through too much in her life to be treated like this.
Forced To Make A Decision
In 2005, Madelyn made a startling discovery about herself that had forced her to re-evaluate her life. She was suffering from a slipped disc when she leaned over to run herself a bath, but she slipped and fell into the tub.
Her body had been taking a huge toll due to her lifestyle. Until, one day, it just couldn’t anymore.
Something She’d Missed
Emergency workers rushed to the scene, but Madelyn was in too much pain to be moved and sent them away. She lay in the tub for three days. But, as she lay there, a quiet calmness washed over her.
This was not what she had planned for her life. In her quest to take care of her family, she had neglected to take care of herself. This was a sign.
“That should have been the first sign for me that I needed to lose weight, but it took me another year before I made the decision to do something,” Madelyn said.
But now, at 43 years old, Madelyn was back in that awful place. Shattered and mortified, she wondered if she should just give up and leave the park. But then she clenched her fists. How dare they?!
The officers arrived, and to Madelyn’s dismay, booted her from the waterpark! “Fifteen minutes later the police did arrive and said that while they did not agree, they had to do their job. “We can’t actually say anything,” they said as we walked outside… but I hope from the expressions on our face you can tell how we feel,” Madelyn wrote on her now-viral Facebook post.
“They were compassionate. They, too, though it was ridiculous.”
“I am a 43-year-old woman who did not have the confidence or the body, to put on a bikini until [I was] 40 years old,” Madelyn continued on her post. “I will not be discriminated against because I look too good in one.”
She continued: “This was not a thong. It was a standard, summertime, two-piece, string bikini… the same as everyone else, who felt confident enough in their body to wear one.”
“I felt like it was both age and body discrimination and I felt like I could look around me and I could see a handful of other girls half my age, wearing the same size swimming suit and not being singled out and told to put on clothes or leave,” Madelyn said angrily.
But what could she do about it?
Since Madelyn wrote the Facebook post documenting how she was discriminated against at the waterpark, it has been seen by people all over the globe. And people were appalled by the staff’s behavior at the Adventure Oasis Water Park.
But, Madelyn knew that online naming and shaming wasn’t going to be enough to make them see the error of their ways.
Calling The Media
“Long story short, I called the media, and will be on tonight’s local 41 news. Several people walked out while I waited outside for the newsman, and told me how ridiculous this all was, and complimented me on my swimsuit,” Madelyn wrote.
Meanwhile, her post gained more support than she could ever have imagined!
A Lot Of Attention
Madelyn took to Facebook to show her surprise and gratitude.
“In addition to other countries already mentioned, I have now heard from Greece, China, Hong Kong…and received over 500 beautiful letters from Brazil. I have been wanting to see the world, and now the world is coming to me, and sending much Love,” she wrote.
All Shapes And Sizes
“One thing I have learned so far is that there is a much greater viewpoint and perspective of the human body than what is to be found in Independence, Missouri worldwide… and I thank and appreciate you for that!” She continued: “Much Love to those who express pride over shame for all shapes, sizes, in addition to various ages and stages, of this beautiful human body we inhabit our time on earth.”
But what does Madelyn hope to achieve by highlighting the waterpark’s unfair policies?
Change Is Needed
“While I stand by my grievance that I was discriminated against at Adventure Oasis Water Park,” and I do not believe it should happen again,” Madelyn wrote.
“It is not money that is going to correct the issue, but a change in the swimming park’s “appropriate swimming attire” policy, and also an improvement involving better education and orientation of their park management.”
Sadly, Madelyn isn’t the only woman to be discriminated against for allegedly not wearing the right attire. And it doesn’t even have to be a waterpark to happen, either.
One woman was kicked out for not wearing the right attire at a museum. Her name is Juliet, and she couldn’t believe the circumstances she was put in.
Not Modest Enough
One would think that in this day and age, it’s not really an issue whether what a woman is wearing in public is “modest” enough. After all, it’s 2022. We should be passed beyond that.
But apparently, the paintings aren’t the only thing straight out of the 19th century at Orsay’s museum. The security staff’s morals were too.
The Story Of Juliet
This story took place recently at the Orsay’s Museum in Paris. It happened to a 24-year-old Parisian woman named Juliet.
Juliet is a History of Art Ph.D. student and influencer. She had been looking forward to one evening at the museum, taking pictures and notes for social media and her dissertation. Little did she know that the security staff had other plans for her.
She Feels Objectified
Juliet has always had big breasts naturally. This has often been a problem in her daily life: for example, she complains about sometimes being catcalled on the street.
She has also commented on how sometimes people seem to reduce her to this physical trait and don’t treat her as a full-fledged person beyond it. This is how she explains it:
“I feel ashamed. I feel like everyone is looking at my breasts. I’m just my breasts. I’m just a sexualized woman.”
For this reason, quite often, she had to be particularly careful with her outfits to avoid unwanted attention. But still, this didn’t save her from an extremely awkward and uncomfortable moment.
Juliet didn’t give much thought to the outfit that she would wear to Orsay’s museum. It wasn’t one that she would wear in a more formal setting, like a job interview.
But this was a museum. She was going there for leisure, it was nobody’s business what she was wearing, and she didn’t have to care about what anyone thought of her. Or that’s what she believed.
Sexism And Museums
There is a lot of academic literature on museums being sexist institutions. Most of them point to how most of the paintings exposed in them are authored by male artists or about how the content of the paintings represents some sexist values.
But sometimes, it goes beyond that. The staff working at the museums can be sexist sometimes, too, and discriminate against women who visit them.
It was her cleavage that provoked the incident. She didn’t even think it was that revealing: it was just a printed dress with a “V” neckline. She didn’t expect it to cause any problems.
However, the dress accentuated her naturally large breasts. And the security staff at the museum was about to take a personal issue with that.
This Is How It Happened
So that summer day, Juliet had left the house wearing her new dress, excited to spend the evening looking at paintings. It was her first time wearing that dress, and she had bought it specifically for the occasion.
But when she finally got off the subway and walked to the museum’s door, the guards there just stared at her up and down.
She Couldn’t Get In
“They wouldn’t let me in, but nobody told me why; they looked at my cleavage, and that’s all the gesture they made,” Juliet recounted the incident.
And that wasn’t all. They also made an inappropriate suggestion. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing, and she even felt insulted. This is what they said.
They suggested that Juliet cover herself with a jacket that she was carrying with her. She was utterly bewildered by this suggestion. What kind of rights did they have?
“I don’t want to put on my jacket because I feel compelled, I feel ashamed, I feel like everyone is looking at my breasts, I’m just my breasts, soy just a sexualized woman.”
She Had To Wear The Jacket
Finally, Juliet agreed to wear the jacket so that she could be allowed to enter the museum. But she had another trick up her sleeve.
She wasn’t going to let it slide, and she certainly wouldn’t let the security staff get away with what they had just done. So that same evening, she knew what to do.
She Shared Her Story
Juliet shared her story on her social media and filed a complaint to Orsay’s museum. She was outraged, hoping to get a reaction or at least a response.
And soon enough, she had it. When Juliet checked her social media just a few hours later, she was surprised by how her story was being received.
It Went Viral
As of today, almost 40,000 users have retweeted her story on Twitter! And there is a point that many of them insisted on in their replies.
Many users have pointed out how hypocritical it is to ban the entrance to a woman based on her more or less revealing outfit, considering how many works of art exposed at Orsay’s museum depict naked women. Soon enough, the museum itself made a tweet commenting on the incident.
“We have been informed about an incident with a visitor during her visit to the Orsay’s museum. We deeply regret it and apologize to the person involved”.
What do you think about this story? Do you think it’s justified for museums to enforce a certain dress code, or was it just sexism from the security staff?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.