In Defense of a Naked Toddler

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY Ellen Friedrichs has a wonderful essay on the trials and tribulations of letting her toddler be naked in parks, playgrounds and swimming areas.
I have this idea that the more I let her be naked now, the more accepting of her body she will be later. I don't know that any studies would back me up. At this point, it's just a hunch. And it's a hope, grown out of a decade spent working with teenage girls who hate their bodies, that somehow my kid will be an exception.
Ellen gets scolded by other parents and park personnel, and is even approached by a cop who advises her to clothe her child because of potential perverts. Ellen, rightly so, worries more about a potential pooping incident than the threat of a child molester.

Clothing is unnatural, and children sense this, shedding their coverings whenever they are wet, or too hot. Adults who enter a nudist lifestyle have to overcome the stigma brought about from all the years of being told that the body is something to be ashamed of. Once the shame aspect is removed, suddenly clothing becomes heavy and uncomfortable, and the impulse to remove it all becomes very strong. After swimming, sunbathing, hiking or doing just about anything outdoors in the nude, it's very difficult to imagine going back to textile mode.

For children, nudity is a natural instinct, unencumbered by adult modesty and shame. Kudos to Ellen for allowing her child to hold onto the innocence as long as possible.

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