(Painting credit: Susannah Martin)
First portion written 20141125
It’s about time I started blogging again. I’ve been graduated from Basic Combat Training since 2014Oct09, for which I sing God’s praises all day long that it’s over (hands down, worst experience of my life—but not for the usual BCT reasons; if I’m lucky, or we’re lucky, I’ll get into it another time). Now I’m at Advanced Individual Training, and life is exponentially better. My peers within my Military Occupational Speciality are so much smarter and more courteous than those m**********rs in Basic! A good three-quarters of my company I’d pop in the mowf if I saw them again. I’ve never met a group of people more base and crass than they. N-e-v-e-r. But there were some really cool cats that I want to give a shout-out to: Levisky, Khan, and Creecy. My boys.
But this entry isn’t about BCT or how much of a cesspool the youngest part of Generation Y is; it’s about boobs. And butts. And bellies. And beauty.
I saw this mother’s manifesto—“Why I Want My Sons To See Me Naked”—on Facebook, and the title struck me just like it definitely struck you. “Wow,” I thought. “What hippy, liberal thought is this going to be?” But it wasn’t. I mean, maybe it is. I don’t really think there’s a black and white partisanship like CNN and Fox, or even MSNBC want you to think; I think there’s common sense that almost everyone can agree on, and then there’s degrees of agenda from all sides. This is more about repairing—nay, executing damage control on our youth. Like really little youth; tykes, if you will.
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The following written 20160314
Generation X’s kids are already displaying abhorrent behavior compared to what is healthy. It’s no far cry that the Millennial generation’s children will have a more horrendous view of sexuality. You’ve got booty calls more accessible than ever via Tinder and the like, and you’ve got omnipresent porn. I won’t make the argument that porn is either wholesale good or wholesale bad for society, since others have done both for me. But I think the following anecdote is telling.
In the end of summer 2015, my Stake President (a regional authority over several Mormon congregations) had an unprecedented discussion-based lesson with the adults in each of the congregations: he wanted to talk about sex. He brought several quotes and citations from Church authorities and scholars on the subject, and wasn’t unprepared. Yet, because he was trying to not offend, his message was very confusing. (Ironically, people were still offended despite the indecipherable message.) Some people raised their hands and tried offering commentary that supported what they thought he was driving at, and the discussion would veer in those directions for a minute, but I don’t think any of those were what he really wanted. Mind you, he didn’t get weird or show us diagrams or talk about righteous/evil positions; he just kept on talking about sex’s narrative in our homes. And kept on bringing up what our kids think about sex. Yet, not even when I raised my hand and asked if he simply wanted us to have frank conversations with our children about sex, and to break the Puritan habit of not talking about sex at all until one evening’s dinner when Jaxon brings up something he heard at school, causing mother to choke on her lentils, did our Stake President say that was even it. And I can’t possibly think why else a regional authority would think it would be so important to interrupt normal congregational curriculum to address sex if it weren’t for that! Albeit, out of all of the orienteering questions and comments people had, I feel like that was on the closest track. It felt like, at least, a Frontage Road, even if it weren’t the highway he was trying to get us on.
Whether you think it’s appropriate for an ecclesiastical leader to talk to his or her flock about sex, it’s noteworthy that he thought there was a threat enough for him to address it. And I don’t think this is just a Christian thing to be ashamed of our bodies. I indeed know of a heinous streak of them that avoid all subjects of sexuality, a la Mama Boucher from The Waterboy, giving their kids a terrifying intimacy complex that emerges in their teens and, God forbid, on their honeymoon; but even out of the small sample of friends I polled, they said varying ages of when too old is too old. Some said eight-years old. Some said two. One of them backed-up his decided age because “that’s when you start remembering stuff, and I don’t want to scar her!” You’re not going to scar her if she’s not taught to think it damaging.
Yeah, it’s a little weird that I’m a male and sharing this concept of being naked around your kids to ground them in normal anatomical expectations, but it seems true. As a child did I want to see my mom naked? Oh, f*** no! But I think that, while maturing, had the body not been so shunned and our narrative not so Puritanical, I would be a more rounded person and more sober about my view on womens’ bodies. Boys need all the help they can get, because with toxic messages on feminine worth spreading into mainstream, future couples have no chance. I don’t even need to broach the subject of girls needing help.
Should I forget before I end, the male body is a handsome thing, and likewise amazing in its respective masculinity and perfection of existence. Fathers should thus be just as open with their kids.
Now, I hope you’ve read the article and especially watched the video at the end, since she makes many good clarifying statements in it. I particularly liked that she wasn’t flaunting herself in front of her kids, and how her husband is fine with himself changing in front of them too. I don’t have kids, and I’m the youngest in the family, but even I know that kids will barge in when they need/want you. I can’t imagine what kind of morbid schema it would instill if a parent were to shout and scold a kid when this happens during a compromising moment. To say the least, when the kid will think the body is taboo. While neither the author nor I are advocating for anyone to be skeezy with their body, I do think a more European understanding of nudity is in order. When I lived in Germany as a kid, it was everywhere. Soap commercials, camping grounds, everywhere. Once, my dad caught me enjoying a make-shift slide out of a muddy hill in our backyard, and he had no qualms about stripping off my muddy clothes in front of the neighbor kids, because nobody cared. It’s just not a big deal. It’s a body. It’s sexy for like, I don’t know, a tenth of our lives—at best. Every other moment it’s functional, with scars, and pimples, and sweat.
Take this artist, Susannah Martin. She paints dope art for the sake of normalizing the human body—in art! You would think that art is even a safe place, but she thinks that even in that medium women are portrayed unrealistically. Check out some of her work.
I’m fully aware that some people think this is a measure of pedophilalia, and want to call CPS, but honestly, get over yourself. Call the cops, but report all of Europe first, then press charges on me. This isn’t about taking advantage of kids; it’s about helping them identify what’s healthy and what’s not when they’re teens and adults. I don’t want my daughters crying in front of a mirror any more than my grandmother did.
On that point, my Pops said that in his tenure in the military, he saw the locker room showers get more, and more private. They used to have communal showers, and poles with like ten shower heads around it. Dudes were showering at close-proximity to other dudes, and it was no big deal. But in the locker rooms I use, we’ve got individual stalls with shower curtains. Don’t get me wrong, I love privacy! But I think it’s indicative of our culture and how far we’ve drifted since The Greatest Generation was making decisions. I venture to guess that military showers started changing when “Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell” came out, and private showers became even more common when homosexuals could openly serve in the military. To me, if you’re gay and looking at my fun zone, just don’t make it obvious, don’t make it a habit, and don’t comment. Other than that, I’m fine sharing a locker room with homosexuals. And the worry of unwanted advances happening in the locker room is ridiculous, because in the Army we spend like one day a month in a class on how to not rape or sexually harass someon. One. Day. A month. If a soldier really wants to aggress on you, that means they really don’t care about having to register in every neighborhood they live in and being prohibited from living next to playgrounds for the rest of his or her life. If you’re a civilian it’s a lot more complicated, but in that case I advise learning some basic self-defense and carrying pepper spray. If you aren’t sure what sexual assault or sexual harassment look like, breathe and watch this video.
Okay, back to center.
I fully accept that in the next few years when I have tykes, I’m going to have to eat my words and do this myself. And it’s going to be horrifying for all parties involved. Again, back in Germany, my mad prankster dad, blew our minds when he sat us down for a family council and announced that we were selling our clothes and moving to a nudist colony. I think that moment is clinical proof that a four-year old can have anxiety. He thought it was funny as hell. And I’m going to have to be the one effectively fulfilling this prophecy, at least partially. Okay, hardly. Emily and I are just not going to be Nancys about non-sexual nudity in front of our future kids.
And I think they’ll be better for it.