Thursday, August 2, 2007

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys

Okay, this is not a funny post. There may be funny elements in it, but if you're looking for HA-HAs go over to willowtree, or The Rotten Correspondent, or bellevelma at Running with Books or well...anywhere but here today. This is a rant, pure and simple, and you have been warned. If you really want to stick around, I'll put some goofy pictures at the bottom. So, abandon all hope, ye who enter here....

I was doing a lot thinking yesterday reading some of your comments about the little exchange between my daughter and I the other morning, and I started wondering if I really was a prude because my first instinct was to shut the door on a pair of eyes looking at my naked body.

You know what? No, I'm not. In an age where I can't turn on the TV without seeing some poor girl whoring her body out for attention or money or love, I really don't think I'm a prude.

I have no problem with nudity. Michelangelo's David? A work of art, beautiful in form, execution, everything. Botticelli's The Birth of Venus? Also marvelous. A bunch of women stripping down to win the favour of Flavor Flav on VH1? Well, I find it moderately disgusting, and not because their bodies are ugly (really some of the girls were pretty), it's because what they're doing is ugly in my eyes. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should legislate morality (we can't!), and I certainly defend their right to do what they want on national TV. After all, that's why I have a remote control. I don't have to watch it. And I choose not to.

But I don't think I'm a prude because I think my daughter should learn a little modesty.

Tuesday morning, my first instinct was to shut the door. Why? Because I like my privacy, that's why. It's not that I think my body or the human body is so hideous or immoral that it needs to be hidden away. I just like keeping my bits to myself (an my husband of course). And it's not like The Four Year Old hasn't seen me without clothes. Goodness knows for the first three years of her life I probably never went to the bathroom alone. But I thought I was alone, and was surprised to find out I wasn't. First reaction? Make my self be alone.

Some days I worry that in our quest to be open and accepting as a society, to let everyone do their thing, we've made it okay for kids to be sexualized without them even understanding what it's about. I don't know why parents think it's okay for their 11-year-olds to wear low slung jeans that show off the fact that their precious snowflake is wearing a black lace thong. Or why they think it's okay for their 9-year-old daughter to wear a pair of tight pink shorts with the word "Juicy" written across the butt. And then they scream and cry when grown men make sexual advances towards their children. If you're an adult and you want to hang your black thong out the back of your pants, go on ahead, it's your right, but stop dressing your kid like a prosti-tot. Most 9-year-olds aren't ready for the sexual attention that comes with looking like an adult. I know this from experience.

As for what I'm going to teach her about her body, she already knows her body is her own. But I am also going to teach her that running around naked in a crowd isn't necessarily a good idea, unless you're at a nude beach. It's a cultural thing. We wear clothes, for modesty, for covering our bodies so they don't get injured or sunburned, so we don't get cold. I'd prefer that she wears clothes. If she decides when she turns 18 that she doesn't want to, I'm not going to stop her. I probably won't spend a lot of time visiting her at the nudist colony, but I wouldn't try to stop her from doing what made her comfortable. My daughter feels no shame for her body, nor should she. She also shouldn't feel that the only way to win love is to tart herself up for the benefit of others.

By all means, teach your kids about sexuality, and let them learn about it in steps at a young age. I'll answer any question my kid puts to me. I may not give the best answer, but I'll give the best answer I can. But I'm not going to walk around naked in front of my kids. That's just not my style. However, I'm also not going to tell you you're a bad parent if you do. Teaching my daughter to cover up once in a while doesn't mean I'm teaching her to hate her body or be ashamed of her body. Teaching my daughter that privacy is okay, and that her body is her own, and hers alone, is not teaching her that her body is wrong.

Okay, so what does this rant prove? Nothing. Not a damn thing. Other than that I think that being comfortable with your body doesn't mean I have to run around naked to prove it, or that shutting the door when someone catches me naked in the bathroom makes me a prude. Feel free to believe I'm wrong. It's your right.

Anyway, rant over. Got it out of my system. Enjoy some LOL Cats and silly pictures until we get to the Friday Five tomorrow which I promise will be suitably ridiculous.


jillian said...

I wholeheartedly agree, Jen. I don't think you're a prude. Besides... not that anyone needs to know this, but after *how shall we say this* letting someone else see me? I like a little privacy of my own, and always cover up with a blanket, or robe or something. Now, my body is WAAAAAAY bigger than Jens EVER will be, and the thoughts of me joining a nudist colony are slightly out of the question - although there is one on the Toronto Harbour Island. However, I like a little privacy too - but I don't think that makes me a prude. Yes, I have "girls" and if a little cleavage shows when I'm dressed up - for sure! If you've got it... but I don't go around in a thong bikini showing the entire world my entire self. If you don't have a little privacy, your whole self is out there for the world to see. I like a little mystery, a little intrigue... Keep them guessing. I think Jen's issue was the shock value of expecting her daughter to be in her room (as per her usual routine) then seeing those big blue eyes staring back at her - sans le towel. I'd be shocked to... not that your little Missy invades your privacy (well, sometimes she does :) ) but I hear what you're saying, Jen.

Well said, Jen. I'll call you later tonight, btw!

Robot Lord of Tokyo said...

I have it on good authority that the colony on THI is full of swingers. Go figger.

I think I preferred the rant over the lolcats.

willowtree said...

I don't really have a view on this as I don't have kids.

But I do have a view on yesterday's post: I think that the tag should be Randy Newman rather than Joe Cocker, given that Newman actually wrote it, not to mention he also sings it much better.

Also, Newman released his version in 1972 on Sail Away, whereas to the best of my knowledge Cocker didn't release his until 1986.

I know Cocker's may well have sold more, but he's just a singer of other peoples songs. Like Rod Stewart, who coincidentally, also has a voice like a frog farting.

BTW, did you notice my cunning use of paragraphs in order to make the comment more readable? Just saying...

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

Jen, I thought your post was very insightful. If my wife and I were blessed with children, I know I would feel very much the same way.
Regards the humourless post, that's life, offer no apologies and no warning. On my blog, I started writing for myself. It is a repository of information that humors me, fascinates me, interests me and challenges me. If for some reason others find it interesting, fascinating, funny etc., great. If not, that's great too. Blogging has become prolific and ubiquitous. The key is to remember why you blog.
Ok, off my pedestal now.

Jen said...

willowtree Yeah, I know, I took the bait and let myself get upset. Thanks for your understanding. :-p As for Randy Newman versus Joe Cocker, Randy Newman is a fantastic writer. I just happened to be thinking of Joe Cocker's version because someone requested it last week. Thank you for your lovely rant.

RLOT The lolcats were there for folks who didn't feel like reading a whiny, self-absorbed, pissy rant. Although, I've always liked the bunny with the pancake on it's head.

And who deleted their comment? Cowards. LOL

Mike thanks for your support. I guess I just woke up with "my bitch on" this morning. I think I've spent too much time with Avril Lavigne this week.

Jen said...

Oh, and willowtree, I mean this with the greatest humour and depth of sincerity, when I say you can kiss my big womanly ass. *grin* There, all better now. A little snark never hurt anyone.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

As far as I see it, the point of having your own blog is to be able to say what you want. And I'm a firm believer in a good rant from time to time (especially when I agree with the content!). So please don't feel bad for expressing yourself. I do appreciate the funny plug, however.:)

I completely agree with what you wrote, and I think a lot of it does have to do with being a role model for our little darlings. I am not a prude - I worked as a figure model for years and had no problems with it. There's nothing overtly sexual about being naked in a room with all business artists on a deadline. But so much these days is just gratuitous sexualization for the masses, which cheapens everything. I don't envy those of you who have girls, because I think they have a tougher road with this than my clueless boys. But as a "girl" myself, I resent the hell out of the fact that it has come to the point where we are so defined by how we look and what we wear.

I'm big on personal privacy myself. I think it has more to do with personal respect than prudishness. Just because I live in a "pull my finger" house doesn't mean I have to totally give in!

bellevelma said...

"prosti-tot" LOL! Now THAT is funny!

As for 9 yo and sexual attention... yeah, my mom had to stop letting me wear tube tops (which were all the rage) when I was in 4th grade. 4th grade! So I hear ya on that.

JRH said...

Well, I hope it doesn't surprise you to know that I agree with everything you said here. I, for one, never intended any criticism at all, and I hope you didn't take it that way. You just did what you often do and made me think, even though I believe your intention was simply to amuse. You did both.

Anyway, I'm gonna put my clothes back on now and go shut the door. ;-)

Dad said...

No matter what anyone else says or does you're doing the right thing because it's the right thing for you and yours. End.

eduardo waghorn said...

Hey! Probably your post was not too serious, but I smile with the tender pictures:)
A warm hug from Chile for you!!

Dumdad said...


Hear, hear! I don't think it's a rant and I agree with you wholeheartedly.

This is about personal space and privacy, not prudery.

Jen said...

Gosh, you guys! Just when I get riled up you bring me back to earth with all the warm fuzzies.

bellevelma I wish I could claim to have invented the phrase "prosti-tot", but it's been around for a bit.

RC Every day I learn something new about you, a figure model!

jrh I absolutely did not take your comment as criticism. And as long as you put your clothes back on, no need to shut the door. Or could I lend you a towel? *grin*

Eduardo Well, I guess I'm glad someone liked the LOLCats.

dumdad Is it too self indulgent to thank people for agreeing me? Thank you.

Saphyre Rose said...

rant away, I do it nearly everyday...sometime not on my blog, sometimes just to the dog!