My bloggy friend Lisa started a discussion over at her blog about this topic the other day and I’ve found myself thinking a lot about it ever since then. I don’t have any real answers but these are some of my musings. Where do you fall on this issue?
The issue is NUDITY. (That’s right, I said it.)
The more I think about it the more I find that I’m kind of pro-nudity.
I’m just against sexualized nudity.
Although I’m not quite to the point that I’m going to go out and join a nudist colony (yet) I really have no problem with nudity of the non-sexual variety. It’s just darn hard to find.
My 8 year-old daughter, the Princess, has three younger brothers. In our conversations about the birds and the bees she’s never displayed any but the most benign interest in penises. As I said, she has three younger brothers, she’s seen her share. On the other hand, I distinctly remember having a rabid curiosity about the male anatomy at her age. (I have two brothers but they’re both considerably older.) So much so that I once sat through “Never Cry Wolf” at my friend’s house because I was told that at some point the main character ran, completely naked, through the pack of wolves (or something). (As an aside I’ll tell you that after sitting there for what felt like years, the movie was winding down and I was sure my moment was coming, when my mother called and told me to come home for dinner and my brilliant plan to see a ding-dong was frustrated.)
I’ve been a nursing mother for the past nearly three years. I try to be sensitive of other’s comfort and I make sure to cover up when in public, or even in someone else’s home, but in my own home- that’s too much work. As a result, the Pea has gotten an eye-full on more than one occasion. He doesn’t care. He’s not disgusted, he’s not even interested. To him breasts are just breasts, they’re for milk, his mother has them, he’s seen hundreds of them…(sorry, I got carried away quoting) but the point is that his seeing me nurse his baby brothers has de-sexualized for him something that our society seems to think is all about sex.
I’m not naive enough to think that this effect will last. I’m not under the delusion that when he’s 13 and all his friends are giggling over the Victoria’s Secret catalog he’s going to glance over and go “meh, I’ve seen em” and go back to his Legos. (I pray for that, but I don’t expect it.) But maybe, just maybe, I’ve built a good foundation.
Working in the medical field, as I do, nudity is nothing new or exciting. A naked body is just a naked body and I’m here to tell you that no one looks good laid out on an operating table. Again, there are things you can do with positioning, lighting, strategic placement of coverings, whatever, to sexify your nakedness but just being nude, meh. In fact when I was in training I remember one of my preceptors, a guy, saying to me that “working here has really made me appreciate a well dressed woman.”
So what’s the solution? Obviously, pornography is inappropriate, dangerous and addictive, but does the same go for all nudity? Is there a place for “artistic nudity”? Educational nudity? And how do you, how can you, introduce it? As I mentioned, or at least alluded to, I’d like my younger boys to be somewhat familiar with female anatomy how do I accomplish that? I’ve been somewhat jealous of Lisa, who lives in Poland, for the fact that European attitudes seem to be so much less prudish than those in the US, but then I had the impression that nudity for them was not overtly sexual. To hear her tell it, that’s not the case so maybe I take back my jealousy.
What I need are some good take your kids to work days. (You don’t think watching us cut kids open will scar them for life do you?)
Update: I want to make it clear that I do not avdvocate wanton or unnecessary nudity. I would not EVER join any kind of nudist colony, and I am certainly not volunteering to model nudity, even of the non-sexual variety for anyone (with the one notable exception). All comments to the contrary were made solely for comedic affect.