Breasts, Backsides and Mass Hysteria

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There is a nudist in my house.  He just loves to be naked.  He is perfectly happy in his own skin.  He is completely lacking in modesty or self-consciousness.  He’s beautiful and he knows it.

Maybe I’m a weirdo, or maybe I’m just a hippie (not that those are, by any means, mutually exclusive states of being) but I love how much he loves to be naked.  As soon as I strip off his diaper (did I mention that he’s not quite 1-year-old?) he jumps up and pats his belly and giggles and runs around like a little maniac, half crazed with joy.  When he’s naked I can kiss his chubby little baby knees and pat his bum and… well… frankly, watching my happy little nudist play just makes me smile.

Naked time is actually recommended by pediatricians.  It helps air out a baby’s bum – which spends so much time wet and wrapped in plastic.

So, now that we’ve reached the toasty warmth of summertime here in Michigan I’ve been letting my boy play outside in his little baby pool naked.  I’m amazed at how many people are surprised by this.  “Naked?  Outside?  Really?”   Well… yes.  Why in the world would I not allow this?  He has a swim diaper and, if we were going to a public pool I would use it to prevent any accidents.  But in our own yard… I encourage it!  In fact, he had a friend over last weekend and they both enjoyed a little nakie time.

The pictures had to be edited so as not to be deleted as “inappropriate content” by Facebook.

I think the fact that people are shocked by a baby’s nudity is a symptom of a rather major problem in our society (I’m talking to the Americans now.  And maybe the Canadians too.  I’ve traveled to a few other countries that didn’t struggle with this issue as we do).

Here is another symptom.  A few days ago I read this blog.  The author writes about being concerned about walking into a room and finding her 6-year-old child with a friend of the opposite gender snuggled up in “an intimate position.” To me, they looked like a couple of puppies in a pile.   They were fully clothed, watching TV.  It was adorable. They are 6, for goodness sakes! Unless you’ve been teaching them some highly age-inappropriate stuff they don’t even have a concept of intimacy.  They are just cuddling.  Because they’re hardly more than babies and babies love to be cuddled.

But don’t we hear about these things all the time lately?  Like the 1st grader who got suspended for sexual harassment because he was signing, “I’m sexy and I know it” at school.

I personally know a 6-year-old child who was arrested for playing “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.”   Would this warrant a strong talking-to about boundaries?  Absolutely.  Should the police have been involved.  Uh… NO.  They are children. They are curious.  They are incapable of sexual harassment because they have no thoughts of sex.

My daughter talks about this person or that, “being sexy.” She is 7.  To her, it means they are attractive or stylish.  Because she’s 7.

Or how about all the hullabaloo about the military moms breastfeeding in uniform?  In case you’ve missed every news show for the past 3 days, here is the offending picture:

Photo from ladyromp.com.
Click the pic for the complete story about what’s going on and why the picture was taken.

Apparently this is a more important story than the collapse of the Spanish economy or the upcoming presidential election since it trumped both of those things in the news this morning.  It is SO offensive that people are comparing it to urinating or defecating in public while wearing a uniform.  I, personally, have heard breastfeeding in public likened to public intercourse.  Seriously! I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

This picture, also highlighting a woman’s breasts, is just an ordinary advertisement, the likes of which we see every day.

From “Frederick’s of Hollywood.”

Am I the only one scratching my head here, trying to figure out where our priorities, as a society, lie?

Why are we so concerned about the sexual implications of naked babies and snuggling children and nursing in public, yet not concerned at all that 19-year-old women are running around in shorts so tiny the pockets hang out of the leg holes and shirts so low-cut the tops of their bras show?   Would it not make more sense to encourage folks to dress with class and modesty and let children explore their bodies in innocence while they are still children?  I am so confused by all this!

Why is it acceptable for Lady Gaga to be out in public/on TV/in print media like this:

But this scene of a woman feeding her baby on Sesame Street has people marching in protest?

If you notice, just like in real life, you can’t actually see the breast when the baby is latched on.

I think that these “symptoms” are from the disease of being so lost and confused about our own sexuality that we no longer have any idea of what is sexual and what isn’t.  We’ve strayed so far from the idea of monogamy within the bounds of marriage that we are drowning in a sea of sexual perversion.  We’ve allowed media and public policy to completely distort our thoughts and actions.  Maybe if we, as adults, put some clothes on and kept our sex private we wouldn’t be so concerned about our children acting inappropriately.

How can we be such prudes on one hand and so completely immodest on the other?

Am I the only one so very confused by all this?

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28 responses »

  1. I have to be honest. When I saw the picture of the military women in uniform breastfeeding I thought…when in the military do you have time to stop and breastfeed? Or to have a baby? But that is me not being sure how all that works. They could be reservists for all I know. And I also thought…boy, some people are going to be mad about that. Would I be uncomfortable if they were sitting next to me breastfeeding in a restaurant? Yes. Should they be uncomfortable? Only if skeezy guys are watching them. If they threw a blanket over the top. Well, go for it. It makes me uncomfortable, that is why I didn’t breastfed with my child. My issue.

    Would I let me child run around naked outside? Well, if he had some bad diaper rash going on I just might:)

    And, how much waxing did Gaga need for that picture! Oy!

    • I don’t, as a rule, breastfeed in public, though I have, at desperate times. Like you said… it’s my issue. I’m very shy about things like that. But I think that it should be ok if a woman does.
      As for the waxing… I’m with you. It makes me hurt a little just to think about it!

  2. You’re not alone. I don’t get how breastfeeding is even a freakin issue. Lay off the moms! Who gives a shit if she likes a blanket or not, it’s up to her. Plus, don’t tell any nursing mother to stay at home. I’ll choke a bitch.

    Anyway, loved your points and I totally am with you!

  3. I wrote about the breast feeding thing in my very first post. It boggles my mind, the whole thing. Americans are odd. No baby butts allowed but by all means spread your dirty laundry in a Facebook status. 🙂

    • Exactly! It would be OK for me to show my bum in a thong (well….. if I were 50 pounds lighter and 10 years younger and much more tan, perhaps. I shudder at the thought, all things as they are) but people are worried about baby butts. I just can’t wrap my mind around it.

  4. I agree with absolutely everything…but the military breastfeeding photo. And here is why (forgive the length, I’ve seen this all over the net today, and had a while to formulate my response):

    First off, this is just the most idiotic and manufactured story ever. Until the media started talking about how “outraged” people were, no one even knew about it TO be outraged. As a veteran AND as a mother (and, I might add, a liberal and a feminist), all this kerfuffle is a bit laughable–this isn’t a story on breastfeeding mothers in uniform, its just another story showing much civilians don’t *get* military culture.

    The problem is not them breastfeeding, or even them breastfeeding in uniform, I don’t know a single breastfeeding mother in the military that hasn’t breastfeed their child (or pumped) while still in their uniform–including myself. The problem is that the military has something called uniform regulations…and military members are expected follow them. Its part of that whole Oath of Enlistment, following orders, signing on the dotted line business that happens when you join the military–which these women obviously chose to do before they had their children. While individual chain of commands and certain situations allow for some relaxation of these regulations, when a service member goes out in public, proper wear of the uniform is expected, period.

    Duty stations are already expected to have a place where you can BF (though why your kid is at work with you all day to be breastfeeding them regularly, I’m not sure…80% of my duty stations have been dangerous enough that kids weren’t encouraged to be there–particularly during the work day) or to pump, or to make accommodation for this (granted, they could sometimes do a better job of it), and have regulations in place to make sure that the chain of command is required to allow you to do so…and to make accommodation to store breast-milk for breastfeeding mothers when they have to pump on duty days or going underway.

    We are talking about organizations that tell their members what color and dimensions of earrings to wear, not to hold hands in uniform, that have written policies about one’s gigline, and that have inspections in which the inspector can and will measure the fraction of an inch to which someone’s fingernails have been grown. What I don’t understand is how people are surprised that having one’s uniform all jacked up and splashed all over the media pisses some people off?

    While I would have no problem with seeing this in person, were I walking past the breastfeeding area at a command, I have a huge problem with the fact that this was done as a photo stunt. I’m not sure how either the women in question or the photographer or the CO that signed off on this use of military personnel in uniform (since that is a whole different issue with its own list of dos and don’ts) thought that the woman on the left wasn’t going to be considered a provocative image for some people (whether or not it should be is something entirely different). I sort of resent the fact that this picture has now become a media mess and made a controversy where none existed, and which is now being used to question whether or not women should be in the military.

    Breastfeeding isn’t the issue–not having military bearing in a photo that has been splashed all over the internet and is being turned into a “see this is why women shouldn’t be in the military” fest for conservatives is the issue. Sometimes its just not about you and your child as a military mom…and its stuff like this that makes being a woman, and a mother, in the military even harder.

    …maybe I should have just made this my own blog post, lol!

    Sorry for the rant…

    • Feel free to rant any time! I can definitely see your point. I don’t know anything about military culture or rules at all, so I concede to your experience. For me, as a civilian, it had nothing at all to do with the uniform, but everything to do with our society’s bizarre relationship with sex and the human body.

      • I can utterly agree with you here–and part of my reason for having an issue with this is precisely because we (as women) know that our society has a bizarre relationship with sex and the human body. Women in the military, rightly or wrongly, have to fight against this every day in a way that we don’t as civilians.

        And, rightly or wrongly, part of being taken seriously in the military sometimes still means downplaying our sex and gender as secondary to our role as a soldier/sailor/airman/marine…which is part of what the uniform does. When I was in boot camp, one of the first things the RDC (Navy version of the drill instructor) said was “While you are here, and you are wearing my uniform, you are not black or white, you are not male or female, you are not a particular ethnicity or religion or social class. While you are here, and you are wearing my uniform, you are only blue, and only sailors.” I don’t remember much about boot camp–but I remember that. The uniform is a great equalizer.

        I can’t see, that until the public gets over these issues, that this a useful way for women in the military to advocate for their role in the military–particularly when its still a struggle for us to be on equal footing with men. I totally agree that this picture *shouldn’t* be an issue, but when you combine the problems that the public already has with breastfeeding women and with women in the military….I’m not surprised this was the reaction.

      • I can only imagine the difficulties one must face when in such a non-traditional role. I’m sure all of the issues behind the problems I talked about in the post are only magnified. I’m not sure how or when we’ll move past all of it. I suppose we’re better off than we were in the days when pregnant women were “in confinement.” Progress can be slow, sometimes!

  5. In Europe they are much more relaxed about the human body and sex. We in this nation are one of the most puritannical on earth and yet we have the highest divorce rate on the planet

  6. i have a sort of different take on this. first – thalassa, i get the military/uniform thing. i think you made your point well. and the staging, as you said, is so obnoxious. as for public breastfeeding in general, however, i don’t think the objections stem from feelings that it is inappropriate because it is too sexual. i think it’s the opposite. the only woman’s body that is accepted in the public sphere is the sexualized woman’s body. breastfeeding mothers are not accepted precisely because they are not sexy. breastfeeding mothers are not alluring, are not looking for sex, are not paying attention to the male audience. they are using their body in a completely different way–one that doesn’t involve men and their needs/desires at all. i think this is really threatening to men who expect women to only appear in the media for their pleasure.

    • An interesting take! I never thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense. It explains why the Frederick’s ads or Gaga costume are “acceptable” but baby bums and breastfeeding moms aren’t. I love the different responses and how much they make me think. I realized, as I read & responded to this comment that, twice this week, I lashed out at the media and the negative feelings & images they portray upon women. Hmmm… I guess all this is eating at me more than I realized. Maybe I need to stop watching the news! Thanks for stopping by today and sharing your insight.

  7. Very good points on all issues. I find children naked in my back yard all the time. My own ran around that way and now my grandsons love to do iit, well, they did until they started school, that is. It’s one of the ways I got them all to “potty”. They were more aware of themselves when they were naked outside and just loved to “pee on the bush” (I had a weed bush I just could not kill at the time). From there, they easily transitioned to the potty at home. Little naked people are adorable!
    As for breastfeeding………SIGH, will we NEVER get over this attitude? I find it ridiculous that our media and our election campaign are bombarded with personal issues like religion, breastfeeding and same sex marriage when our MAIN issues like the collapse of worldwide economy, the lack of jobs and the misuse of government funds are pushed into the background. It’s like a smokescreen to cover up what’s really going on. Get over it!

    • Hahaha! That’s a great way to kill a weed! I wonder if I could get him to target dandelions. LOL.
      It is all silly, isn’t it? I often wonder, when I’m watching the morning news, why they have 8 minutes to dedicate to what the latest starlet wore last night but they have no time to talk about the good work being done, and support needed for, Habitat for Humanity or Heifer international or any of the others of many many wonderful organizations in our country.

  8. I’m days late on this one but I linked back from your ‘like’ (thanks btw). My 2 year old love nakie time too but our MN weather is so fickle she has not gone outside nakie yet – maybe this weekend. We are trying to start the potty thing so maybe a spot in the yard might make it fun…. I also BF my newborn wherever I happen to be, I’m discrete and I’ve only ever once had one person comment negatively. I don’t do the blanket thing but I do try to dress so that the min of skin shows when nursing like tank bras if I plan on shirt lifting.

  9. You certainly are not the only one confused by this. It seems the problem is that nudity is completely sexualized in this country so, therefore, anyone who condones naked babies running around or (GASP!!!) breastfeeding in public is seen as some sort of pedophile, pervert or sexual deviant. I’m not sure where we lost our way (damn puritanical pilgrims!) but it definitely seems that Europeans are much more comfortable with non-sexual nudity in movies, t.v., etc… Even in the UK it seems nudity is much less offensive than extreme violence…and American act like Brits are the uptight ones! 😉

    • You have a great point with the sex/violence on tv. I couldn’t really care less if my child sees a naked person in a non-sexual situation (think, National Geographic special) but I hate how much death and blood they see on television. It’s odd that we, as a society, think that violence is ok but shy away from the sight of nipples. Hmmm… maybe I should move to England. hahaha. 🙂 Thanks for the insightful comment!

    • What upsets me is that, to my mind, avoiding arousal by pedophiles by not allowing public nudie children we have normalised pedophilia. The same way we have normalised diabetes with sugar substitutes in cafes, the same way gluten free foods being marked on restaurants normailses gluten intolerance. All this refusal to let children be nudie in public incase there’s someone sleazy about makes being a pedophile a normal thing. It says it’s mum’s fault if something tragic if something tragic happens to their children because the pervert couldn’t possibly controll themselves when that child was so provocitively dressed.

      • An interesting observation…. it’s along the same lines as a court case I read once where a man was aquitted of rate because the woman was wearing a leopard print thong, therefore she was “asking for it.” Thank you for the insightful comment!

      • Well put lillixander! That also seems to point at the increasing trend of a complete lack of individual accountability in today’s society in general…but that’s a whole other can of worms there! 😉

  10. Pingback: I’m Taking The Pledge « lazyhippiemama

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