Nudity, Toxic Waste, or How to Build a Career

It’s been quite a week

Monday: NYT Motherlode

Tuesday: response

Wednesday: Globe and Mail Hot button blog and Sydney Morning Herald,

Thursday: CFRB 1010, CJAD Montreal, Brisket, Meringues

Friday: CKNW 980 Vancouver, roasted veg, hello dollies, caramel matzah, seder

Saturday: Globe and Mail Life section

Nothing I ever expected. Just a funny little piece about how folks handle naked in their families. Wow, people love a target for their toxic waste. As a writer trying to jump start a new career, I’m happy to be that target.

I thought I’d let some of the comments speak for themselves. My friend Brenda Cossman a law professor in the controversial areas of sexual diversity and anti-censorship, says you shouldn’t pay too much attention, if any, to the comments. Many are the railings of the disempowered and unaccountable. It’s possible Joe Blowmoi is not his real name.

I agree with her, but this is new to me. I read all of them – riding the emotional roller-coaster from hurt to insult, to flattery, to laughter, to bring-it-on-you-thoughtless-knee-jerking-dogma-driven-sex-obsessed-prudish-extremists.

Lots of folks were supportive. Lots of critics were thoughtful and genuine, though many slid, dangerously in my opinion, down the slippery slope, from nudity to sex to abuse. No one approach to nudity in the family is the right one. At the core, it’s about respect. How families chose to exercise it will differ. There should always be space for disagreement and debate.

But then there’s the wholesale offensive and misogynistic crap that proved my point. Thanks for the data.

If you could be mistaken for an athlete in your prime, fine. If you could be mistaken for a dump truck, buy some new bath robes.

Let the kids vote about whether they want their botox princess mommies parading their belly flab in the living room

This one wins the prize for hateful and was taken down off the G &M site. Not really, because real parents don't raise their kids like this. 

In Tranna [Toronto] and other bastions of liberal moronacy 8 year old kids can tell you exactly why Jane has three mommies, why women are better than men and why homosexuals are better than both...but they can't read or do basic math.
 As long as this idiot keeps it to herself and doesn't try and bring this idiocy into my life nobody will get hurt.

But it’s not just the homos, it’s the feminists: Hyper sexualization of children is a hallmark of wretched left wing feminism. I read stories about divorced women who shower with their 6 year old sons, and other bizarre stuff, so just stop it. For some reason, there are a bunch of folks who believe at their core that children should not have a childhood. Dont whine when the CAS shows up.

Here’s one of the educational ones: At around age 5, children become very aware of gender and genitals. This is the age when they should no longer be rooming or bathing with their siblings of different gender. NOT because the body or sex are shameful, but because a child that young is too young to process the stimulation.
The school age children may (or may not) be exhibiting any signs of being in a sexualized atmosphere, and may never. But why risk it? Put on some clothes, put a lock on your bedroom door. There's more to protecting our children than putting a helmet on their head. Don’t get me started on the socio-economic/class issues here. And locked doors – there’s a fine safety tip.

I got an invitation to what I can only assume was a nudist gathering: Freeking exhibitionist.
 Come down to king and bay and walk around like that.

Got called a child abuser: Could you imagine if it was the father who walked around nude in front of his 8 and 12 year old daughters? 

He would be sent directly to prison!

Instead we're treated to an intellectual discussion because it's a woman causing this abuse to her children.

And Max Read from Gawker pulled this information out of his… Now, look, I'm not here to judge. (Really?) […] a whole semi-adult family watching TV naked on the couch, sweaty poop and sex parts swinging in the breeze? No big deal. Family tradition. Just a regular Tuesday night. If he’d just asked I’d have told him naked TV night was Thursday. It's, for some inexplicable reason, legal. […] As a clothed person the whole concept makes me want to burn my couch, put on three sweaters and never talk to my family again. And certainly never read Motherlode, ever again, ever. Ever. Of course he’ll read it again, trolling eagerly for more smut and bad behavior to fuel his fire.

On the other end my son and I had a good laugh over this cute entry: Wow, you live in Toronto and keep your house warm enough to walk around naked! I'm envious and obviously not adequately insulated.

I’ll finish up with a fun, helpful comment from a reader in Australia

I think the folks saying that nudity leads to poo stains and odor wafts are the exact people who would have benefited from a parent undressing and showing them how to wash, wipe etc. If you’re using clothes to cover up fecal matter you’re doing it wrong.




Love your humour. Wish I had been as brave with my critics. AP

Wow, thanks for posting those hilarious reader's responses to your article! Especially funny was the right winger who thinks people teach their kids that homosexuals are better than everybody else but doesn't teach their kids to read! Had a good laugh about that one. Please keep writing such "racy" columns so we can see the true colours of those idiots!

Bravo to you - I did not have the fortune of reading your piece with The Times blog, but did catch your piece in the Globe and Mail - beautiful. As a "small c" conservative in "BIG C" Alberta, I do not find your choice to be open around your children shocking at all - in fact, I find the perverse and closeted beliefs of the some that critised you to be far more off putting. As a mother of two young boys, I completely understand the feeling of loss that will come when my boys no longer dance naked around the house after a bath or when they no longer sweetly inquire if they are "still beautiful when we are naked". I too do not close the door when in the shower or when changing my clothes- and I am certain when my boys come in while I'm washing my hair, that they are not TRYING to see me naked - I don't really relish the view either - but instead feel the need to immediately inform me of an injustice that their brother has imposed on the other, or to proudly display for me the new level achieved at Angry Birds or to indignantly inform me of a misplaced toy. It has no more of a sexual or insidious nature than any of the other acts of mother-son care and love and ease than snuggling on the couch (fully clothed - MY HEAVENS) while reading their favorite book. Should that too be dismissed at a certain age of maturity? Our homes should be the place that our children can safely learn to express themselves freely, to place their own boundaries and to test out comfort levels of various situations. As mothers or parents we should want to foster this and any kind of communication and expression within the safety of our childrens home - where else should they do this? So, thank you for your piece - you are not alone, as I'm sure you are well aware...should we chant "Naked Mothers of the World Unite"?

Hey Aviva,

As a happily married dad of 3 of the most awesome kids ever, just wanted to express my sincere support for your ideas, lifestyle, and writing. We live in a culture of fear - don't be surprised about the trolls who responded.

These negative comments appeared in the community pages of an online newspaper. My wife and i were exploring starting a Non-Landed Nudist Club.
Would a nudist camp be an even better reason to become a Peeping Tom.?
Sounds pretty kinky to me. Does everybody just show up in their birthday suits and read stories to each other.? Is there a possibility to practice other social vices?
We don’t need a nudist camp in this area,a fenced in doggie park would be better than a fenced- in nudist colony for peeping-toms.

We've thrown all caution to the wind and now say "to hell with it", and blog.

All the Best
Marc & Ruby
GreyBruceNaturists-Ontario Nudists

The person with the allegedly inadequate insulation has a point. In January, I've often had to ask myself "Is it worth paying an extra few cents to the gas company to avoid getting dressed?"

After a couple of winters like this, it occurred to me that the only real cold I was feeling was through the hardwood floors, and hey, I can always wear socks, can't I?

(If anyone cares, I hang out at

I simply want to say that your courage and humour shine through and I'm grateful to you: clearly, we need more sensible, rational voices like yours to be heard.

Sheesh! :-O

Guelph, ON

I read your piece and saw nothing wrong w. what you are doing. Sad the ignorance and stupidity that exists out in the textile world. Don't let it bother you. Teaching children a healthy attitude towards the body is so important these days.
A study was done on children raised in a nudist environment which found that children in nudist communities like nudist parks and resorts actually were less promiscuous than those who weren't. They were also very well adjusted and self confident. So do what you think is right for your children.

Hi there, I read your piece in the Globe on the weekend and felt amused but discouraged. As a writer I think you're prone to thinking through your ideas before making them public; clearly most of those who responded in such hateful ways don't do that, which tires me. The issue (and there are many here obviously) that stands out most for me is the lack of awareness on the part of your respondents around economic status and its bearing on family togetherness and hence on family nudity. I grew up with 5 siblings and 2 parents; we had a kitchen, dining room, living room, 3 bedrooms and one bathroom. I never felt unsatisfied, but I certainly had very little time alone. Shockingly, we are all nude under our clothes all the time, clothing being an impermanent state, and if we are to relax, dress and undress, bathe, shower, and use the washroom, as people are wont to do in their homes, the size of the home is going to dictate the level of nudity you're familiar with. This extremely private and clothed state most of your respondents seem to thrive in is a product of privilege. Sadly, that privilege also seems to blind folks and render them unthinking and rude.
Perhaps because of my upbringing, I know it's not sinister, sexual, or damaging for children to be nude or to see their siblings or parents nude in their own homes. It's normal. It's normal, too, to enjoy the innocence of children, their lack of self-consciousness, and the sight of their sweet little bodies before they inevitably grow up and away from us, into the world of adult mores and concerns. It's a nasty shock to come across the thoughts some people keep in their personal gutters. Good for you for handling it with poise.

I for one throughly enjoyed reading "Naked, With Children." Raising 2 boys (now 18 & 15) while maintaining the same nonchalant attitude toward nudity, I believe has helped them in their knowledge that nudity in and of itself does not equal sexual arousal.

Loved the article, and the follow ups, found many of the comments to be just sad. Thank you for sharing.
Dave-A politically conservative naturist.

Hi, I write about naturism and social nudism, and I support your perspective entirely! Thanks for contributing such a body-positive piece for the reflection of the willing and the unwilling alike. I chose to respond to the snarky ignorance of the Gawker piece with a post on the body politic: Keep up the good work!

I just found your Times and Globe articles, and was pointed to your blog. I had thought most families were the same as you describe yours. I am a father of both girls and boys, and I agree with you, live your life, love your kids, let them know that Naked doesn't mean Sex. Thats a healthy attitude. And I morn the more innocent age when I was a kid. Please don't let the detractors get to you. Illegal? I think some people are a bit to insulated or maybe don't have kids and don't know what they are talking about. I think the best way to drive a young person to porn is to be so uptight about the differences between boys and girls. The taboo is a mighty strong attractant. Thanks for writing this, and keep it up.


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