For some reason my brain dribble is particularly active this morning.
I love finding old photographs of my parents and grandparents. It’s so lovely to have a little peak into their lives prior to children and the seriousness of adult life. Catching a glimpse into a world you have never been a part of and will never really know is a curious thing. The days of genuine black and white photographs, disposable cameras and the little yellow envelopes they are delivered to you in, seem so far away.
One photo in particular caught my eye and thrust my mind into roly poly mode (hence the badly structured and strange rant that ensues). It’s a family photo of my Mum’s side of the family – Parents, grandparents, her sister, sister’s boyfriend etc. They are all smiling in the garden, looking rather sophisticated and clad in the fashion of the time and then there is my darling mum: In her early twenties, buck naked amid all these clothed people with a huge smile on her face, just trying to catch a tan. I love how comfortable she is with her body and how chilled everyone around her is – No one gives a shit that she is in the buff, or being creepy about it and I love that, because the naked body is a perfectly normal thing and guess what? WE ALL HAVE ONE. I read an article the other day about ‘naked families’. I.e those where it is perfectly normal to prance around in your underwear, go skinny dipping, not lock bathroom doors etc, and I am so grateful to have grown up that way (to be fair, my mum and her family were also frequenters of nudist colonies well before I arrived, so perhaps it is ingrained in me a little too much!) But, In a world where (often understandably so, especially with regard to child safety) there is so much censorship over the body, I long for the days where people can just whip their kit off and say ‘hey, this is me, get over it” and it not be a strange thing.
I so want my little sister to grow up feeling happy with her body and not feeling like she needs to hide it or ‘cover’ up, but it is SO difficult to balance that freedom with issues of safety and security in an age where there is so much violation and abuse of children. When we go to the beach and she naturally just takes all her clothes off to jump in the waves it is such a beautiful and free thing, and yet even I find myself scouring the beach making sure there are no ‘weirdo’s’ around. It’s such a catch twenty-two. How do we embrace our bodies and teach children to be comfortable and free in their own ones whilst also acknowledging that in certain scenarios this can be problematic?
Then of course are issues of nudity and the associated negative labels that surround the body. ‘Slutty’, ‘asking for it’, ‘slapper’, and any other nasty-sexist-mindless crap you can think of that seeks to shame sexuality, personality, physical appearance and the very essence of what makes us human beings. Man, I just wish I had a time capsule and could be a free loving hippie from the 70’s! I know that’s a major stereotype, but it just seems like an age where the idea of nudity and love and embracing oneself and each other were at least more accepted and spoken about. We all have bodies people! Why do we feel we have to hide them or that it is wrong to flaunt em’?
(Song probably not relevant, but it seemed like a go to choice when thinking about nudity and hey, it’s awesome! Have a little nakie dance!)