No Wonder We Find It Hard To Love Our Bodies

I am gently unpicking the thread of shame that my son has experienced for the first time about his nudity.

He hardly ever wears pants and I bet if it was warmer, he’d wear nothing at all. And he feels great about his body and getting his clothes off and wiggling about. All of our friend’s kids get naked and we think nothing of it. I guess we’re so shielded in our lovely little social circle.

Yesterday though, he stood up in our front window pantsless to try and get to his sister who was outside with the little group of the neighbourhood girls who’ve been around to befriend her. I arrived outside to find them mortified that they’d seen his penis and falling over themselves to tell me that he’d been standing in our window .. NAKED!

I made it clear I couldn’t see the big deal but have been dealing with his big deal all day.

Right after it happened, I did explain that there was nothing wrong with being naked, but that some people feel uncomfortable about it because that’s what they’ve learned and to maybe not be naked in front of them, in the window or in the front garden.

I noticed him studiously trying to get his underpants back on after going to the toilet a moment ago. I asked if that was because of the girls laughing at him yesterday. He said yes. I let him know that he can be as naked as he likes any time he likes at home, but maybe not in the window where people who find it weird can comment on it.

His relief was visible immediately and he stepped back out of his underpants with a gleam of happiness, though I could see him stop for a moment to check in with me again, just to see if it was really OK.

That I love his beautiful naked body, every bit of it, from his sweet blonde hair to his naked penis to his delicious little toes.

What a world we live in that our beautiful bodies have to be hidden and are ridiculed if not, even at 3 years old!

I still remember the burning shame at 6 years old of swimming at the local swimming pool with only the bottom half of my swimsuit on and a little boy from my class telling everyone the next day in the most sneering taunting way about it and me trying hotly to deny it and the deep, deep shame that lived in the pit of my stomach for years and years after whenever I remembered it.

I don’t spend much time naked these days, mainly because I’m not that keen on the unhampered effects of gravity on my breasts if I did, so they don’t get to see body freedom modelled all that much except when I get out of the bath or the shower for a bit, but I do nurture it in them.  To stay as free and happy in their bodies as possible so that they can be strong in their own self love, enough to deflect events like this. I hope I’m doing a good enough job.

Still, social rejection hurts. I hope that mamalove is a strong enough magic to overcome it when you’re 3.

photo credit: g-mikee


  1. Oh, I’m so glad you were there to help him through that.

    It is such a shame to see kids feel body shame at such a young age. I remember my dad telling my sister that she was ‘sexualizing her daughters’ by allowing them to wear tankinis (two piece swimsuits with a tank top and a bikini bottom). She was so quick to answer that *he* was sexualizing them, not her. HE was the one who introduced sexual innuendo into a conversation about a 4 year old and a 6 year old. I’ve never forgotten that.

    My girls have cousins who don’t even know their father has a penis – they assume he looks just like them because he has never – NEVER – been around them without his underwear, even coming from the shower, even being surprised while taking a leak. His girls range from 5 – 9 years old. The 9 year old actually does know now, which is how I found out that she didn’t know – she told me in a shocked whisper that her daddy has ‘a dangly thing’. A dangly thing.

    Good lord.

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