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CTV’s The Social is missing the point behind sheltering children from nudity

CTV’s The Social stirred controversy again when the ladies discussed kids seeing their parents naked.
Vanessa Glavac Montreal, QC

The Social is stirring up Canadian sensibilities again, this time with their take on whether or not children should see their parents naked.

The full segment discussed a rant from a mother, complaining about a father she witnessed stripping down in front of his daughters in a male change room at a pool (the mother decided to use the men’s change room because the women’s change room was too busy).

That set off a full debate about nudity, shame and body image, and what is appropriate for children.

The Social tweeted a clip of their segment, with Melissa Grelo explaining how she and her husband are perfectly fine with their five-year-old daughter walking in on her father in the shower. The audience cheered and applauded her statement that “we don’t want her to feel shame”.

Not everyone on twitter was on board with the idea:

Like many issues brought up by progressives, it’s hard to argue with all of the reasoning. Shame is an emotion with the purpose of letting us know that we have done something wrong. So why should any child be made to feel shame by the mere existence of their own anatomy? Or someone else’s, for that matter?

But, what The Social failed to mention was the reasons for teaching children that some body parts are “private parts”. It’s a layer of social protection, insulating children from the complex and dangerous world of sex, for which they’re simply not ready. In and of itself, it’s probably not harmful for a small girl to see her father naked. But if adult male nudity is normalized for a young girl, she’ll be missing the alarm bells that says “something is very wrong with this situation” if a man disrobes to abuse her.

Perhaps that’s the underlying sentiment felt by moderates on Twitter:

Conservatives are also aware that all this talk of “body positivity” is happening alongside a creeping push to normalize pedophilia, with the CBC pushing to sexualize children, and the once safe sanctuaries of public libraries now exposing children to all manner of sexualization.

So, while I agree that no one should feel shame for the existence of their bodies, maybe that’s a sign that our traditional protections simply need some fine tuning. There’s no reason to instill children with a sense of shame for the mere ownership of perfectly ordinary body parts. But that doesn’t mean that norms around nudity and taboos around discussing sexual organs don’t have a purpose. And it certainly doesn’t mean they should be thrown out altogether.

On another note, I will give credit where credit is due. I was certainly angry at Jessica Allen’s hypocrisy surrounding Don Cherry, and her blatant racism of White hockey players – but she deserves credit here.

Allen called out the mother’s sexual harassment of the man, saying, “There was also a comment made at the end of the rant where she said… ‘also his bum was very unattractive’ and I thought, well who’s being the creep now, lady?”

Sexism and sexual harassment is a two way street – especially by a mother who decided to install herself in the men’s change room for mere convenience. And I was pleasantly surprised to see Allen call it out.

Who knows, maybe she learned something from the backlash over her racism towards white hockey players? Here’s hoping.

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Vanessa Glavac
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