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By Contributing Mama Daphne Biener

For family movie night a while back we decided to regale the children with a gem from our own past… “Splash.”  It had been about 20 years, but if memory served me, it held nothing but clean family fun.  Not to mention mermaids. And around here it’s hard to go wrong with mermaids.

Then along came the naked tush.

As in Naked.  Naked Tush.  I hadn’t recalled this scene — an extended shot of Daryl Hannah’s naked back asthe mermaid hero climbed out of the sea and into a mob of New Yorkers at the Statue of Liberty.  I cringed, then turned to watch my children’s faces.

Blank stares. And confusion.  Then questions, though none that had anything to do with the money shot.

“What’s the big deal?” my kids wanted to know. “Why are all the people crowding around her?” “Why don’t they leave her alone and go climb the statue?”

To say that my children were not offended by the nudity would be like saying that summers in the Sahara can be kind of dry.  They had nothing to say about the naked body parading on the screen before them.  What mortified them was the level of interest and excitement demonstrated by the uncouth rabble.  They could not understand why everyone was going crazy over something as mundane as a naked lady.

I’m at least partly to blame for their confusion. I have been a little lax in getting around to the social no-nos of naked sightseeing.  I have found the time to explain the societal emphasis on wearing panties under skirts, I just haven’t really taken it much further.

I was raised in a nude house.  Not a nudist colony, just a house in which the attitude towards nudity was relaxed.  Doors were not locked, and if Mom happened to be getting dressed at the same time that we needed immediate answers, well, that’s just the way we rolled.

And now that I am the queen of my own little castle I find that I, like my mother before me, rule over a nude house.  It wasn’t a conscious decision. My husband and I never ironed out a position on family nudity.  We just happen to be the proud owners of a couple of little girls who favor a minimalist approach to fashion.

I have no doubt that society will eventually take care of destroying their idealistic view by foisting perceived flaws upon their unblemished self-images.  Even so, I know I hold some responsibility for getting them to cover up.  Rules are no fun, but I don’t want to get a  call in twenty years that my kids are shopping naked at Target.

To that end, I’ve instituted some new policies around my castle.  First off, I’ve started a ‘no shirt, no pants, no service’ rule at the breakfast table.  And a ‘pajamas in bed when the babysitter is here’ rule, and an option of ‘closing the potty door for privacy’ rule.

Oh yes, and one more in light of warming temperatures and our upcoming road trip:  no nude sightseeing.

You can read more of Daphne’s work on her eco-fabulous site, A Greener Biener, or here on the mama bird diaries.

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kelcey kintner