Madelyn Sheaffer, who had recently lost 100 pounds, was proud enough of her new body to wear a bikini to Adventure Oasis Park in Independence, Mo., last week. But the pool’s employees allegedly ordered her to cover up or get out.
“I just felt like I was singled out,” Sheaffer told 41 Action News.
“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.”
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“There is nothing wrong with what she has on,” wrote KarenRanoni, one of the many commenters on 41 Action News’ website. “[P]eople need to get over themselves, we aren't all a size 3...should we have to cover ourselves up just because someone might be offended by a fat roll or a large pair of breasts or a butt cheek...give me a break... our society is so programmed to worship thin people and be offended by larger ones.”
Sheaffer has filed a complaint with the city of Independence, UPI.com reports.
Midwest Pool Management, which runs the water park, said employees there reserve the right to decide appropriate standards of dress, according to UPI.
An ABC News YouTube video that pans Sheaffer in the bikini and interviews her about the incident has gotten more than 300,000 views. Other postings drew additional thousands of viewers.
Sheaffer also took up the matter on her Facebook page
, where she received many supportive comments.
Instead of filing a discrimination suit against the water park, Sheaffer said she would lobby for change.
“I support a swim park's decision to decide and define what is appropriate, but it must be determined in a manner that is not discretionary or ... biased,” she posted on her Facebook page.
“It makes me sad that this happens in the U.S.,” John O’Brien commented on Sheaffer’s page. “I lived on St. Maarten, ALL of the beaches there are at least topless. No one, (well, except the American tourists), bats an eye when a woman is topless at the beach. I've even seen families with children there and the mom is topless. Americans are SO sexually repressed that it's embarrassing.”
“Their action was clearly discriminatory, though I admire your desire to work toward prevention rather than seeking monetary damages which might cripple the park and cause a loss to the community,” wrote Paul Meyerhoefer.
“Madelyn is amazing! you are a very humble woman as well!!!” wrote Paolo Moceri.
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