Naturist Resources > Naturist Links to Interesting and Informative resources

Sarah Scriven, Editor of Australia Sun and Health, speaks out (Jan.2009)

(1/2) > >>

Sarah speaks out in her editorial this month, about kids and nudity. (shes a mother, as well)

Australian Sun and Health Number 14...

I should be used to it by now, but still I am continuously amazed at just how conservative mainstream society is towards nudity, and particularly how irrational they are when it comes to nudity and kids.

I recently followed a blog in the Sydney Morning Herald on whether a three year old was too old to swim or play naked at the beach. I was horrified by some of the comments, because apparently the consensus is yes. Some people did feel they were being quite liberal in letting their very young children play nude on a beach, but they quickly added how it would only be for twenty minutes at a time and they always had underwear very close by “in case teenagers or men came to the beach”.

Most however said they would never let their children be nude in public because of the supposed ever present risk of pedophiles. On a related blog I read about how to deal with the “problem” of young kids refusing to wear clothes, “don’t worry, they’ll grow out of it” was the response... apparently kids will “naturally” learn “modesty” and begin to “cover up” around age five; at least that’s the claim of the psychologist author, who is clearly no rocket scientist... because I think we all know that’s a load of crap.
   Australian Sun and Health magazine Editor - Sarah
The only reason kids wear clothes is because adults tell them to. Then it’s not modesty they’ve learnt, it’s shame and there is nothing natural about it. All kids are naturally unashamed, I have no doubts about this. In case you haven’t already guessed it, my daughter Callista loves to be nude. If she could always be nude, she would be. Just last weekend when her friend arrived for an impromptu sleep over, Callista was already nude. Within five minutes, her friend was naked too and they both stayed that way for two entire days, even though her friend comes from a family that most readers would call ‘textiles’. She’s not naked at home, but as soon as she sees it’s okay, off come the clothes!

Callista demonstrates this with just about every kid she meets. We often turn up at our ‘textile’ friends houses to find hordes of clothed children in the pool but when I ask Callista if she wants to change into togs she most often says “no, I don’t need them”, even if she doesn’t know the other kids. Occasionally she might get teased for a minute or two but without fail she’ll get the other kids happily naked, with the parents who know her laughing about how Callista always has this affect.

She’s only eight and her view of nudity is still so untainted by the nonsense in the world around her, so I encourage this as much as possible. When she wants to, I’ll let her swim naked at any beach. I do however get disapproving looks from other adults and even the occasional “careful of pedophiles” talk (and the “you’re a bad parent” look that accompanies it), but the idea that a pedophile at the beach is actually a threat to my child whilst she’s supervised by me as she swims and plays is absurd.

The really sad thing is that I don’t think her nudity has ever even offended anyone, it’s just ignorant well meaning. Obviously, no one likes the idea that pedophiles may be around, but as long as Callista is safe and comfortable, why should she be made to compromise? There are and always have been pedophiles in society, but what is the world coming to when average people see them on every corner, behind every tree and lurking in every shadow? How can people be happy living like this? And be willing to so readily take away a kid’s freedom, because of some perceived threat of deviant behaviour from a very small minority who has no access to my child beyond what they have for a clothed kid anyway. There will still be pedophiles whether naked kids play at the beach or not.

We have a similar problem publishing photos of kids in this magazine. We should be able to portray naturist kids as we do adults, but the reality is that we can’t. Part of this is an editorial decision, simply some extra sensitivity as to how kids are portrayed, part of this is respect for a kids more limited capacity to make an informed choice and limited ability to consider how they might feel about the photos in a few years time. But a much larger part of it is to appease the public at large. The uproar those Bill Hensen photographs caused illustrated just how frenzied the popular media has got the public. As nudists we’re not immune either, remember a few years ago when well meaning nudists decided to only let clothed kids compete in the Maslin Olympics? I couldn’t help feeling it was Karma that stopped the Olympics from running that year.

We recently got a letter from someone who I’m sure is a lovely well meaning old gent. He thanked us for not supplying the pedophiles with photos of naked kids. It was well meaning, but misguided. I don’t like the thought that pedophiles might read our magazine, but nudist magazines don’t create pedophiles, nor do kids who choose to swim naked at the beach.

Kids have rights too. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to teach my daughter to live her life in fear of some monster in the cupboard. I’m sure as she grows up, her views will change. It’s likely at some stage that peer pressure will put her through a phase where she doesn’t want to be nude. That’s fine, she’ll probably have a drink or a smoke too until she finds her own way. But what’s the rush? The innocence of children is priceless, why can’t we just let them enjoy it while it lasts?

Kind Regards

Sarah Scriven,
Editor, Australian Sun and Health


great find, as always :)

That's a brilliant article Danee. I totally agree with her on this.

Dario Western:
I've met her a few times in person when she was married to Rod Tyldsley, and found her to be a really nice and well-sussed lady.  She's also been in either Cosmopolitan or Cleo (a longstanding Australian teen girl's magazine) talking about body acceptance as a nudist along with an exotic dancer and model.  All three of them were very attractive and came up with some great points about their professions and how being nude for work affected them.  :)

a standing ovation for Sarah Scriven who spoke more common sence than i have heard (or read) in a long time. Some of what she says is exactly the same as in other aspects of the ever increasing decline of our freedoms due to unfounded fears by others.

quote: "To be willing to so readily take away a kid’s freedom, because of some perceived threat of deviant behavior from a very small minority"

    That can directly relate any and all freedoms from kids public nudity Vs public fear of pedophiles to adult nudity Vs fear of sex attacks on women, to social drinking Vs Drunk drivers, to my legally owning historic guns Vs a public fear of the lawless minority who have and use them illegally.

Stopping me owning guns wont stop Jose misusing his illegally aquired pistol for criminal purposes any more than, having a Zero blood alcohol breath test level will stop drunks getting behind the wheel, or putting clothes on a child or adults will stop  pedophiles or rapists doing what they do.

Its the usual story, Make it LOOK like your doing good by targeting the people who are NOT the problem and remove or impinge on thier freedoms (Just to be safe) rather than deal with the transgressors severely and let the law abiding and sensible in population live their lives


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version