Do you walk around naked in front of your children? I do. At ages 5, 3, and not even a year old, my kids have all seen me naked and are very comfortable with it. They are all still quite young (and I’ll probably limit the nudity in front of them as they age) but I’ve done it since they were born and so they are used to it. I don’t want them to teach them to feel ashamed of the human body. I want them comfortable around nudity. Comfortable to the point of boredom, in fact.
Our bodies are natural and beautiful. Not only that, but I want them to know what a real woman looks like before they’re assaulted by the media’s idealistic sense of beauty. They’re already seeing those images on magazine racks at our grocery store, but I don’t mind. It gives them a broader picture of the human physique and the realities of the world we live in. The benign — in my opinion — magazine images at the grocery store, in conjunction with my occasional nudity when popping in or out of the shower, should be a solid base from which to start from in life in regard to nudity and, eventually, sexuality, so long as I provide them with context along the way. That said, some moms don’t agree with my parental notions and want those grocery store magazines covered up, not because they believe the magazines are perpetuating a false notion of beauty, but because they’re too “racy” for children.
Fox 13 Now in Salt Lake City reports that the moms are so upset they took their concerns to city hall. It all started when the 7-year-old son of one Utah mom said “I hate magazines” while waiting in a checkout line. Now she wants blinders on mainstream magazines that show women baring too much skin.
“This particular resident felt that the magazine covers where women were scantily clad in her view were inappropriate for young children,” said Nicole Martin, the spokeswoman and Communication Director for Sandy City.
“I think they are a little too exposed,” another Utah mom, Gina Ayaviri, tells Fox.
“My opinion is I don’t know if it can be avoided anymore. I think it’s important just to teach your kid those values from a young age so they can defend themselves against it,” says Danielle Deagostini.
I am originally from Utah so I’m not shocked by the puritanical notions that permeate the state. I was also raised Mormon and was taught from a very young age that exposing your midriff or wearing short skirts was wrong. In fact, modesty is such a large part of Mormon teaching that it led me to feel ashamed of my naked body which adversely affected my sex life, to put it mildly. Which is why I’m super open with my children about nudity. I don’t want them to experience body shame or learn that nudity is something to be ashamed of. I also don’t want my children to feel like women need to cover their bodies or they’re sending the wrong message to men. Men are responsible for their own feelings about sexuality.
If I were the mother of that 7-year-old I’d want to know why he hates the magazines. Does nudity make him uncomfortable? How do the magazines make him feel? Let’s talk about it. Not, COVER UP THE MAGAZINES, MY KID DOESN’T LIKE THEM! What a lesson to teach a kid: the human body is inappropriate and if you don’t like something in the world we should make the world conform to your way of thinking as opposed to the other way around.
Unless your kid lives in a bubble, he or she is aware of the human body. You take your kids swimming, right? Bikinis abound at the beach and there’s nothing wrong with that. My advice to the Utah moms all worked up over “racy” magazines? Raise your kid with the values and morals you’d like to pass on but don’t inflict your puritanical notions on the rest of us that see nothing wrong with a bare midriff or a woman in a bikini. Women in fitness gear and swimsuits are not inappropriate.
The city council tells Fox it will take up the debate again but as to whether they can legally require stores to cover up magazines remains to be seen. I’d like to say I highly doubt they can force stores to cover up magazines but this is Utah and stranger things have happened.
Image source: Monica BielankoMore On