In my past life, I was a photographer. Okay, I’m still a photographer, but my subject matter has shifted a little. What used to be high-grain images of women floating around stages in various stages of undress, has moved to predominantly iPhone photos of kids doing what kids do – being adorable.
In addition to my own work on the walls, I have a large collection of art books from some of my favorite photographers. There are a lot of boobs in these books. There are a lot of boobs on our walls. It’s safe to say that my house is pretty much littered with boobs.
I’ve never thought about it as being something my children shouldn’t be exposed to – because I’m a lover of art and I plan on introducing the concept of it to my children early. My three-year-old has recently started actually noticing these images – should I be disturbed by this?
I was working at my desk last week, and my son ran up to me with one of my photography books in hand, Ellen Von Unwerth’s Girls. It seems to be his favorite one lately – something I had mentally attributed to the bright, saturated colors her images contain. I think I may have been wrong about that. He stood in front of me, dropped the book to the floor open to one of the two page spreads and said, Boobies! There it was – a picture of two models flashing the camera.
The book is filled with tons of images of women – only about 20% of them contain any nudity at all. But for the past week, he keeps returning to that image and saying Boobies! Is there a problem with this? I happen to be of the opinion that we are oddly puritanical about nudity in this country, even though we use seductive images to sell everything. Something about nipples puts it over the edge for all of us it seems. I think that is pretty stupid.
I don’t want my son or daughter to have hang-ups when it comes to nudity. I want them to understand that the naked body is totally normal. I don’t want to make a big deal about it – I’ve always known that. I just didn’t think I would have to deal with any of these parenting decisions yet. Is it okay that I let my three-year-old run around the house looking at pictures of “boobies?”
I’m going to go with yes. I think as long as I also start introducing the concept of privacy, modesty and explaining why people don’t walk around naked all day long – it will all be okay. We’ll see.
(feature photo: Getty Images)