Forget ‘lewd behaviour’ – is being naked around your own kids good for them?
The answer: “Probably it is!” To be more specific, according to the article, “Seeing a parent naked can help children learn what real bodies look like and better understand consent and boundaries.” An important part of every child’s education should be the “facts of life”. And the best way to do that properly should assume that children will understand best if they’ve often seen others – of differing ages and sexes – in the family naked. That should ensure they know the names (and colloquial terms) for important body parts, and realize that there’s nothing “wrong” or “nasty” about a naked body – even though normal bodies can vary greatly in appearance. In particular, how a naked body looks shouldn’t be a source of shame or embarrassment for anyone.
Of course, it’s also important to point out that “boundaries” should be respected, and that there are many people who are sensitive or even embarrassed about their bodies. In fact, in the presence of nudity, it’s straightforward to explain exactly what boundaries should be observed and when consent is necessary.
This issue is now front and center because of a stupid decision by a local judge in Utah – one of the most backward, prudish states in the U. S. It was held that a mother could be prosecuted under an “indecency” law simply because, in their own home, her pre-teen sons happened to see her uncovered breasts. The mother, quite reasonably, believed it was good for her sons to see nonsexual partial female nudity. So, quite absurdly, naturism in a private home could be prosecuted as a crime, even if the only non-adult children present are family members – at least in Utah.
One of the stupid things about the judge’s decision was agreeing with prosecutors that “lewdness is commonly understood to include women’s breasts in American society”. That’s possibly true in a theocratic state like Utah, which is an extreme case. Yet in states that are more representative of the country as a whole, like New York, simple exposure of female breasts – even in public, let alone in private – isn’t illegal. During the summer in NYC many women go topfree in Central Park, Times Square, and elsewhere. The case in Utah doesn’t even involve full nudity – which would apply equally to men and women. Was the fact that there were children involved relevant? According to this report, there were three kids – ages 9 through 13 at the time. How many boys of that age haven’t seen bare female breasts, at least in pictures, and have been hurt in any way if they have?
To add to the absurdity of this judicial decision, last September a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the 10th district (which includes Utah), struck down a Colorado city’s ban on women exposing their breasts, even in public. And many states don’t consider even full nudity to be “lewd” if the behavior isn’t intended to offend others. So much for the Utah judge’s opinion about how commonly female toplessness is understood to be “lewd”.
The biggest obstacle to the growth of naturism is the passing along from parents to children at a very early age the ridiculous idea that almost all nudity is inherently “wrong”, “indecent”, “lewd”, or “obscene”. And that nonsense is based on the false belief that seeing nonsexual adult nudity is “harmful” to children – the exact opposite of the truth. Naturists need to strongly oppose this nonsense. In order for naturism and nonsexual nudity to continue becoming socially acceptable, they need to be recognized as perfectly normal and harmless choices for individuals and families. Of course, children shouldn’t be forced to be naked if it’s uncomfortable for them. The best way for nudity to become normalized is for parents, from the beginning, to make clear that nonsexual nudity by family members in their home is always acceptable, at least as long as anyone who might be uncomfortable with nudity isn’t present.
In this article there is more about the judge’s reasoning. It’s basically that the Utah law is about “lewdness” in front of children, which applies to both men and women. The law, however, also requires either “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desires” or knowing that the behavior would cause “affront or alarm”. Neither of those conditions seems to apply in the current case, so the defendant should be acquitted at trial – especially considering the harshness of the possible penalties. However, this interpretation is still very threatening for naturists, as all the criteria are highly subjective – especially the idea that exposed female breasts are inherently “lewd”, even though male breasts aren’t. That latter point was key to the Colorado decision that such laws allowed unconstitutional discrimination against women.
The state of Utah is highly dependent on tourism. But there’s hardly any reason to go there, except for the spectacular desert scenery. Everyone – not only naturists – ought to boycott Utah because of its laws that flout gender equality.
Call for naked art classes to benefit children in UK schools
This article goes into more detail why it should be considered healthy for children to observe naked bodies – both male and female. It should be clear that drawing classes using live naked models are a fine way to normalize nudity and foster acceptance of it, while also helping youngsters develop their artistic skills and aesthetic senses.
The idea is that this will help “improve body image issues caused by social media”.
“Artists want models to disrobe for young people and display the unfiltered human form, counteracting distortions of shape, size, and normality young people receive online.”
Some of the points made in favor of the proposal include:
- Sketching naked men and women should be part of a balanced curriculum, and primary school students are more open to nudity than adults made prudish by socially ingrained taboos or judgemental by presumptions about what a body should look like.
- Life drawing can educate children in bodily realities before they are influenced by the “nonsense we see on social media”.
- Children become more accepting of what they are looking at – especially when concentrating on accurately reproducing what they see – whether the bodies are old, overweight, or hairy.
- When somebody appears naked before others they are just human beings. That counteracts prejudices as to how a body should look. It’s great for body positivity and acceptance.
- The naked human form is not inherently sexual, and life drawing is mistakenly seen as lewd.
- Children can handle drawing nudes without hang-ups – unless they’ve already been affected by cultural prejudices, and early introduction to nudity can offset acquired prejudices.
These points are strikingly similar to arguments in favor of naturism itself. In opposition to the proposal, this article, contains many comments such as: “children will ‘sneer and giggle’ at naked bodies at a young age”; children 9 years old “have no contemplation yet on body image”; “Put a naked man and woman in front of a class they would be laughing their heads off. You only have to mention a body part and they’re off”. People who say such things should just ask themselves where those reactions come from. They might then realize it’s due to the corrupting influences children have already been exposed to from prejudiced older children and adults – who themselves acquired the attitudes in the same way. Positive experiences of nudity – like seeing nudity in a child’s own family or drawing nude models – are needed to better inform opinions of the human body.
More: Life Drawing for Schools,
5 Naturist YouTube Channels You Really Want to Follow in 2020
Advocates have a suggestion on how to use art classes to promote body positivity
Yes, YouTube does actually allow some nudity now in uploaded material. But, of course, it’s also classified as “Age-restricted video (based on Community Guidelines)”. This is even though most of the material (at least what would be of interest to naturists) is non-sexual. And a lot of it is self-censored in various ways besides. The glaring problem here is that young people – at least of school age – are exactly the audience that should be able to view non-sexual nudity in order to form a much healthier attitude towards it. Which is the main point of the preceding articles here. The whole reason for such stupid guidelines is that parents insist on it, because they themselves are victims of our society’s egregious misunderstanding of nudity. The nonsense is passed from generation to generation like an inherited disease.
Naturists certainly will want to check out the video channels recommended in this article. One problem for English speakers, however, is that three of the five channels are mainly or entirely in other languages (French, Spanish, and Portuguese). Even so, naturists who are able to travel far from home can glean much about opportunities in other countries in spite of the language barrier. And people who already enjoy social nudity might want to recommend the videos to their open-minded relatives and friends who’d be interested in learning more about naturism – in the privacy of their own homes. For better or worse, people don’t read much these days and are far more likely to absorb information from visual media.
There are two other options to check out. Vimeo, which is a competitor of YouTube, is actually more welcoming of naturist material. And you can do searches in both YouTube and Vimeo for topics of naturist interest, such as “body painting”, “nude art”, and “naturist information”. In particular, many naturist/nudist resorts offer videos that can give you a good idea of what type of facilities and activities the resort has to offer. A number of national naturist organizations have similar information on what’s available in their country.
Watch these naked skiers get waist deep in Canadian powder
This isn’t a “real” event, but rather a segment of a promotional movie called “Vallhalla”, which was created for Dynafit (a sportswear company), Powder Magazine (for skiers), and Whitewater Ski Resort (in British Columbia, Canada). The skiers are all professional athletes – which should be obvious from the video. All of them – male and female – are naked in this clip. It’s not clear whether the nudity was integral to the storyline or was mainly to get attention. Perhaps it’s both. In any case, the visuals are very impressive. The clip is also available on YouTube and Vimeo.
One has to admire the fortitude, as well as the skill, of those appearing in the nude scenes, given that the outdoor temperatures were in the 20s (°F). This item is not actually “recent”, having been out for over 5 years. However, somehow it showed up in a news feed, and it certainly illustrates how nudity can be effectively normalized, albeit not for naturist purposes. It might be described by the current buzzphrase “cultural appropriation” – meaning something appropriated by members of a dominant culture from a minority culture. But it’s difficult in this case to see how this couldn’t confer some acceptability on nonsexual nudity, even if unintentionally. Skiers, of course, love the sport for the thrills, so it’s not surprising that some actually do ski naked occasionally.
More: These pro skiers took to the hills naked for their latest shoot