Last night my daughter shrank away from me as I gave her a hug. Why? She was bare-chested and had been examining her "new growth" in the mirror. She was embarrassed by her own nakedness.
"Look at them", she said, "they wobble". Then she asked me, "Why are nipples bad?"
'What do you mean, bad?"
'Well, men can go around with no top on and they are in magazines and on adverts with their nipples showing but women have theirs fuzzied [sic] out."
My daughter is eleven.
I had picked her up from school to be told how the Health lesson that day had been all about personal hygiene. The teacher had told them they were disgusting if they wore the same shirt two days in a row or if they didn't shower every day. Now, I understand, we want our kids to have pride in their appearance and to stay clean and healthy and not pong out their class mates - nobody likes sitting next to the stinky kid - but to call a child disgusting? Really? There are levels of self-loathing being taught and to fear and loathe your own body smell is one of them, I think.
I read two thought provoking essays by Ethel Rohan:
The comments are as interesting as the essays.
This winter I have grown all my body hair to show my daughter what women look like. I have worn vest tops and let my under arm hair protrude in public. Too much info? Too much show? Or too little too late? Admittedly, I resemble something akin to a merkin display stand, but disgust?