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'Let's promote nudity in a healthy way'

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'Let's promote nudity in a healthy way'
Lotta Gray and her son Lennox. Photo: Private
08:30 CEST+02:00
Swedish parents need to get more comfortable being naked around family members to help their children develop a healthy attitude to nudity, argues journalist and blogger Lotta Gray.

They're flooding in. Facebook and Instagram are being filled up with pictures of naked children of all ages. The entire social media world is exploding in bottoms and chubby children's bodies at various beaches both at home and in warmer climes. Crawling and creeping, documented by granular snaps as well as professional photographs.

But how does our thinking go when it comes to nudity and children? Do we think at all? And someone like myself, a professional blogger who puts my entire life on public display every day, what do I think?

For never before has it been so important to safeguard the naked as it is in today's day and age. Otherwise, it will be massacred, become such an object of public attention that it does not even provoke a raised eyebrow, rather a hidden yawn.

We should put up an iron wall between children's nudity and 2,000 social media followers. However, nakedness within the family is a different issue. Being naked should not be made into something peculiar, that is my motto. In our house, we sleep naked, we bathe together and we don't hide ourselves in panic when our now almost ten-year-old child enters the bathroom.

I am of course not naked at home when his friends sleep over. Not at all. And I am also careful to point out that one's own naked body is never something you should let anybody else touch, that it is your own private sphere and that you should not walk around naked in other people's homes.

And it seems to work, he seems to have caught on, because towels are being fumbled with and doors locked when changing in public places. That's all good and well. But that nudity remains normal within the family, I think that is important.

In other cultures, there's an outcry if you have a bath with your naked son, or let him see your body in the shower. A Tanzanian friend of mine was severely shocked and told me I must immediately stop when he found out that I sometimes sleep in the same bed as my child without clothes.

My Senegalese dad almost chokes if he so much as sees my underwear hanging outside to dry and you have to respect that. These are other cultures. But at my place, I like that nudity is okay as long as my son's bottom does not end up in the online spotlight.

If what is natural is presented as natural it does not become as exciting. A body is a body just like any body, and to be effortlessly inside it is good, it's healthy. Seeing your parents naked, as well as your brothers and sisters, I think that creates a healthier mindset as a young adult than all of the hushing and covering-up we're seeing today.

Of course you can't force nudity on anyone and do the helicopter in the kitchen just because you feel like it. Children can tell when they feel it's no longer okay and then you have to respect that.

In conclusion: let's promote nudity in a healthy way. Joke about it, talk about it, disarm it and embrace it… but for heaven's sake, don't let it go viral.

Lotta Gray is a journalist and writer who runs one of Sweden's most popular family blogs. This is a translation of an opinion piece originally written in Swedish for Metro.

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