Thursday, February 10, 2011

Promoting Modesty in Toddlers

This is not sexy. I feel dirty even pointing that out.

If you spend any amount of time in fundyland, even just as an internet tourist, you know how obsessed fundys of every religion are with the female body and how it should be covered. There is no end to it. (Even the Catholics are back to arguing over head coverings in church- for women, of course.) And here is the natural progression of that obsession: concern over whether or not toddler girls are sufficiently modest.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with small children knows two things: 1) Toddlers find no shame in the naked human form, and 2) most children prefer to be naked. I can't say I blame them, to be honest. Most clothing is constrictive and itchy to me*, it's probably at least as uncomfortable for small children with their sensitive skin and inability to communicate effectively.

Toddlers are not sexual in any way, shape or form. Toddlers masturbate because it feels good, not because they want to have sex. Toddlers get naked because that feels good, not because they want to entice anyone. Should we teach toddlers to keep their clothes on, at least in public?Absolutely. But only for the same reason we teach them not to hit people and to pee only in certain designated areas- so they can interact properly in society. Not because they might entice people to lust.

Here is a question for you. How do you promote, encourage and even enforce modesty in your toddler girl?

Some of us are born with girls who have no problem keeping their clothing on and even don't care whether you put them in a dress or a jogging suit.

Some are born with girls who are fashionistas at birth and have very strong opinions about what to wear, even if it's just fairy wings.

Some have little girls who can't seem to keep clothing on! Or at the very least, they have no problem lifting up their dresses or shirts to show off tummy or more! And there's always the potential for a dripping wet streak out of the bathtub, or the fanny flash off the potty training toilet.

A part of me thinks that they're just 2 (or 1 or 3) and they have no idea. They're just babies, so who cares about their nudity. Another part of me knows that modesty must start somewhere and there are just way too many perverts out there, or even people who simply do find it some form of a stumbling block. [emphasis added]

Anyone who finds a naked toddler to be a "stumbling block", i.e., a turn on, is a pedophile, as in the aforementioned "pervert". Pedophiles are sick and they don't need a fanny flash to get turned on. The rest of us look at a child streaking through Walmart naked** and think, "Man, I do not miss those days." Never mind the fact that she's only concerned with female toddler nudity, as if pedophiles are solely attracted to girls. They are not. (See: pretty much every molestation accusation concerning Catholic priests.)

Seriously, your religion is making you sick if you think of nude toddlers in terms of sex. You are beyond sick if you think the problem is with the toddler.

*I think my increasing sensitivity to everything is just an outgrowth of the chronic pain, but it's gotten seriously obnoxious to have to put back 90% of clothing that fits me (which is hard enough to find) because it's scratchy or constrictive, knowing full well I'm the only person on Earth this irritated by it.

**Trufax, this happened to me. I turned my head for 20 seconds in the frozen foods aisle to find the pizza we like and turned back to see a pile of clothes where my 2-year-old niece had been.


  1. Y'know, every once in a while I find myself in a position where I'm observing young children doing, y'know, young children stuff. Hanging out, running around, following their parents in a store, etc. Since I'm the sort of person who is prone to reflect on how the world works I will occasionally try to fathom how anyone could ever get sexually excited just seeing a little kid running around. I always get "does not compute" as an answer. Always.

    I think all of this has to do with the fridge logic of fundie Christianity. They honestly believe you can choose who, what, and when to be a sexual being. Since you are capable of choosing that, the obvious follow-up thought is that it's possible to have a choice forced upon you (for good or ill, hence their belief that teh gay is recruiting and the opposite ex-gay reeducation).

    In reality, sexuality does not work that way. I realized that during college before I'd even started moving towards non-religiousness. I assume that even helped with my realization that reality wasn't being preached.

    My definition of how to figure out your sexuality is simple: I can look at another person and instantly decided whether or not I would want to have sex with that person and why. The way I can tell my orientation/preferences is also similarly simple. I have never in my life looked at a child and thought, "Oh, yeah. I want some of that." They are simply automatically excluded from the simple yes/no/maybe sexual selection process that happens somewhere in the back of my brain. Men are also automatically excluded. This tells me that my default setting is heterosexual male and I just don't have to think about it. The fact that there exist in this world people who have different settings does not effect my settings in any way, shape, or form.

    But that's not something I ever would have learned in church. Having a conversation like that requires being way more honest and comfortable with your sexuality and the sexuality of others than is allowed in Evangelical world.

  2. "there's always the potential for ... the fanny flash off the potty training toilet."

    Kids can use the potty chair without baring their butt?!? What is she doing to those kids?

  3. 1. When my boys were little (around 1 to 3), we used to have "naked night" a lot. We'd make sure they had peed, and then take off their diapers and let run around the house or back yard naked until bedtime. So they occasionally peed on the rose bushes or the living room floor---big deal. They turned 25 earlier this week, and haven't raped anybody so far.

    2. When my niece was about 4, we were at a gathering of my fundy in-laws. She was in a dress but had her legs spread wide open when she sat. Although she had on a slip and tights, my MIL was glaring daggers at me, so I told my niece that she should sit with her knees together, like the other ladies were sitting. (She was under my supervision that day because her Mom had her hands full with my nephews. I was newly married and still trying to stay in my in-laws' graces.)
    When somebody asked my niece how she was doing, her response was, "Me and Aunt M-- are pretending to be ladies!" She is now almost 40, and I still think that's the best thing she's ever said about me!

  4. When my daughter was just shy of 2, we visited her grandparents in AZ, where it was 90 degrees or so. The GP's bought a wading pool and put it on the back porch. Where the twins splashed around until it, a stark naked boy and girl, all day quite happily.

    Not a problem until we got back, put them both in a cart in Kmart, turned my head just long enough to look at a t-shirt, and turned back to a cartful of nekkid kids.

    Yeah, that was fun.

  5. I recently helped my parents with an estate sale. Among the items were many magazines from the 60's. Some real treasures. Life talking about Kent State, MLK, Hippies, and My Favorite "We are winning the Vietnam war."

    One of these was an old McCalls that had a pretty nude 9 year old girl(aproximately) on the cover. She was only pictured from the waist up and her hands were crossed ove her chest so there was no actual nudity. I thought it was a pretty picture but it occured to me that today it would set off a huge outcry of expoitation and kiddie porn from the fundies.

    Now this was McCalls not some avant gaurde art magazine and it was still considered completely innocent. It seems that the same people who complain about the downfall of modern morality are the first ones to think sexual thoughts about almost anything. I don't think a streaking toddler is exciting, just cute. It seems however that the people this fundy chick associates with are just drooling at the chance to get a peak.

  6. Plus, as much as I hate to be the grammar police, I can't restrain myself from pointing out that no one is born with a toddler girl. You're born first, and your daughter comes many years later.


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