Why is she making Elmo's voice come out of a vagina puppet?
That's the first thing that came out of my mouth as I watched Extreme Guide To Parenting last night, so Bravo is definitely not disappointing.
Last night, the show focused on two moms, one who practices something she calls "body positive parenting" and one who claims to be hypnotizing her kids all day long, who I'm really convinced just has a staring problem. So I'm going to focus on body-positive mom.
"What we're going to do, is we're going to paint some vulva portraits!" says mom, as she makes a muppet voice emerge from a vagina puppet. You really can't make this stuff up. This mom's practice of "body positive parenting," really just translates into, "I shove pictures of vaginas in my two-year-old daughter's face all day and pretend that it's normal." Oh, sorry. Vulvas. She shoves pictures of vulvas into her daughter's face all day. I don't want to offend anyone who gets irate when people mistakenly call the vulva a vagina.
What kid would want an Abby Cadabby puppet when they could have this?
The Young-Mogul family does not have a problem with nudity. She's a feminist porn actress, he's a porn director. This mom is so wrapped up in being "unconventional" that she's forgetting to parent. She desperately wants her mom-life to be as exciting and radical as her work/artistic life -- to the detriment of her daughter. To his credit, the father sees that there is a problem here, but he's not doing much to correct it.
"I can still be a radical and be a mom." That is one of the first statements she makes, and it reminds me of the common thread linking all of these episodes together -- these parents can't get far enough past this idea of what their parenting should look like, to actually parent. They are caricatures of themselves. "I don't feel like we have to hide what we do from our daughter," Young-Mogul says. Cut to a shot of kid finding all sorts of sex toys, and mom explaining that they're "mom toys." Eye roll.
Dad enters the story to set up a nightmare play date with some poor, unsuspecting mom in the park, who he invites home to meet his weird-ass wife. Body pos mom opens the conversation with a suggestion that the kids do some arts and crafts, then proceeds to hand them a jar of her menstrual blood. "This is some uterine lining!" She is giving it to this woman's daughter to water a plant. The other mom smells it - just like a mom would - clearly not believing it's actual uterine lining, because who the hell has a jar of uterine lining laying around her home? Someone who saves the collection from her Diva cup, obviously. Unsuspecting mom is now completely disgusted, as she should be. Now the kids are drawing uteri. Is that the plural of uterus?
Normal mom can no longer hide her disdain when Young-Mogul pulls out a "collage" that she claims she made with her daughter. It's full of naked bodies. Only, it's clear her daughter had no part in making it, as the cutouts are perfect and perfectly placed. No two-year old does work like this. The other mom points out that Young-Mogul is actually doing art projects, not her daughter. This does not go over well. Mom leaves. Of course Young-Mogul is confused and thinks she's done nothing wrong -- because handing a jar of menstrual blood to someone's kid is A-ok in her world.
The episode continues with her setting up a release for her book, "Daddy." It's a novel about her and her husband's sex life -- filled with very detailed erotica. Her plan is to cover her naked body in catcher's mitts and let people throw baseballs at her all night, while she recites the erotica from her book. She totes thinks this is an appropriate place for her daughter to spend the evening.
Young-Mogul grew up in a very conservative environment with a lot of "shame." She remembers her mom screaming and crying, running out of the room when she got her period - which is extreme and awful. But one might say forcing your kid to draw vaginas or allowing them to paw at your sex toys is extreme, too. The pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction, and as someone who grew up on the complete other end of the spectrum -- I'm not quite sure why she's shooting for an "end" of the spectrum to begin with. Why not hover nicely in the middle -- where you use anatomically correct words, yet don't force your kids to fetishize them? That seems like a good place to be. But there are no vulva puppets there, so Young-Mogul isn't interested.
Again, the recurring theme of the show is, "I have issues from my childhood that I am going to force my kid to exorcise for me." That is not fair. These parents really feel that their kids are an extension of themselves -- to the point that they are not allowing them the room to form very essential elements of their personalities on their own. All the while, each of the parents on the show seems to be patting themselves on the back for being so "progressive." When in fact, they seem to be doing the same thing their parents did to them, just in different ways.