September 18, 2020

"Many Danes believe children should not be shielded from the realities of life, giving them a lot of unsupervised time to play and explore, even if they might hurt themselves."

"'We recognize the significance of a bruise,' said Sofie Münster, a nationally recognized expert in 'Nordic Parenting.' 'Danish parenting generally favors exposing children rather than shielding them.' One famous example of how far the Danes take this philosophy was the euthanization and dissection of a giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo in 2014, where children observed from the front row.... A children’s program featuring naked adults might be taking the Danish approach to the extreme, she admitted. But the Danish way of dealing with easing children’s anxieties over body issues is 'to expose them' to naked bodies....  'On Facebook or Instagram, many people are fashion models,' [a 76-year-old naked woman said to a child who asked why she was doing this]... 'I hope you will understand that normal bodies look like this,' she told the audience, pointing at her naked self.... The recorded episodes, now available in censored clips of the program on YouTube, feature adults with different body types — white, Black, fat, thin, short, tall, old and young. There was John, a person with dwarfism, and Muffe, a man who had small horns implanted under the skin of his bald head.... [and] Rei, who is transgender, had a vasectomy and testosterone treatment, and who identifies as they/them.... 'I’m not used to seeing volunteers butt naked and asking them questions,' [one child] said. 'But we learned about the body and about how other people feel about their bodies.'"

From "A Danish Children’s TV Show Has This Message: ‘Normal Bodies Look Like This’/The program aims to counter social media that bombards young people with images of perfect bodies" (NYT).

59 comments:

Yancey Ward said...

And American children will be wearing face diapers the rest of their childhoods, at the very least.

Richard Dolan said...

"Many Danes believe children should not be shielded from the realities of life, giving them a lot of unsupervised time to play and explore, even if they might hurt themselves."

A lot of 'back to the future' in that. Parenting in the 1950s gave kids lots of unsupervised time, so long as you made it home in one piece and were on time for dinner.

Xmas said...

I wish I had some photographs of the playgrounds in Copenhagen. They had some great 15 foot tall, concrete climbing walls.

The Vault Dweller said...

When I was tailgaiting in college, I tried to explain to a line of trees I was urinating on that this is what a normal body looks like. I got cited for public indecency. The charges were dismissed. Apparently the cops just didn't like a very, very partially naked human body. Or maybe it was the public urnination thing. Either way, I'm sure no child would have benefitted from being exposed to it, regardless of what the 'Nordic model' of parenting has to say about it.

Xmas said...

Oh...here we go. This looks like a sculpture, but it's a climbing wall in a play area.

https://goo.gl/maps/dkjAJtaurBNNts469

Mr Wibble said...

Creeps, perverts, and weirdos.

The Vault Dweller said...

This article started at getting me pleased. I was happy to hear about Kids not being shielded. I figured it meant them going off on their own, unsupervised. Maybe getting into a little trouble but mainly learning to be responsible for themselves and what they do. Then I grew disgusted when I realized it was just perverted Neo-Vikings wanting to expose themselves to children and convince themselves they are helping 'educate' children. Where's King Aethelred when you need him?

YoungHegelian said...

Ah, how one longs for the good old days when "Danish Parenting" meant putting the children in long boats with sword and shield to send them to rape & pillage the Angles & Saxons!

It was actually probably a more useful method of parenting than pointing out an old wizened pecker & saying "This is what bodies look like".

n.n said...

The transgender spectrum from homosexual to neogender is a place to start. The children should know the normal distribution of human life and the edge cases, too. Then reject the Pro-Choice religion, the politically congruent ("=") sociopolitical constructs, leave the Progressive Church, and return to first principles. Also, replace the giraffe with a human baby ("Fetal-Dane") chosen for abortion and social progress, or to serve clinical cannibalism and medical progress. Be honest with the children.

JML said...

Dont worry. If the child is too traumatized, the Danes will help them with euthanasia.

Scott said...

Parents who want to expose their children to volunteers showing their naked and very average bodies to the public could do no worse than steering them toward chaturbate.com ... The site is even set up so that they could ask them questions. Just like in Denmark.

bobby said...

Geeze.

"Buck" naked. Not "butt" naked.

Oso Negro said...

Have you ever seen a grown man naked?

jaydub said...

When I was working in Varde and Esbjerg Denmark in the late nineties, I was shocked by the public advertising of pornography, especially in Esbjerg. There was a porn shop just off a principal plaza that advertised its wares by rolling the racks containing porn flick tape boxes, their covers complete with sex acts of all descriptions, out in front of the store. No one appeared to pay attention to it except for shop customers. They had a very open, homogeneous society with significant trust among the citizenry. Young children played unsupervised and roamed the town at will without care. I remember noticing a pair of bicycles leaned against a bus stop enclosure in Varde for several days. I asked the Dane I was working with why they were there day after day. He said they belonged to a Varde couple who rode them to the bus stop when they went on holiday and would retrieve them when they returned in two weeks. I told him those bikes would be gone in a New York minute in almost any town in the US. Speaking of which, there was an article in the news ten or fifteen years ago about a Danish couple who left their baby in its carriage on the sidewalk and in the sun while they went into a NYC deli. No one would have thought twice about this in Denmark, but they were arrested for child endangerment in New York. Of course, that type of trust has been mostly lost in Denmark these days with the influx of refugees and attendant increase in crime. Denmark is homogeneous no more.

Achilles said...

I hope you will understand that normal bodies look like this,' she told the audience, pointing at her naked self.... The recorded episodes, now available in censored clips of the program on YouTube, feature adults with different body types — white, Black, fat, thin, short, tall, old and young.

Next we will have to discuss with these kids the role of alcohol in human procreation.

Wince said...

How did the benefits of skinned knees as part of growing up, like we did "back in the day," get so quickly conflated with old people showing children their junk?

Although, I have to admit, my childhood home in the 1960s was surrounded by state mental institutions (before deinstitutionalization), and those guys on the loose would often display their junk to us kids.

"In my day, adult mental patients would expose themselves to us children because that's the way it was - and we liked it!"

Drago said...

This will all change under sharia.

tcrosse said...

How is a kid with a Standard Issue body going to feel about not being Normal?

Original Mike said...

"Many Danes believe children should not be shielded from the realities of life, giving them a lot of unsupervised time to play and explore, even if they might hurt themselves."

Like we used to. What happened to us?

JAORE said...

"adults with different body types — and Muffe, a man who had small horns implanted under the skin of his bald head."

That is NOT a body type. It is mutilation of whatever body type he had. Sure,let's make that part of the normal.

Tom T. said...

I too would ask the naked 76-year-old woman why she was doing this. We all understand that bodies look like that -- the question is why you feel obliged to show yours to everyone?

Mr Wibble said...

Danish adults have some of the highest rates of prescription antidepressant usage in the world. It sounds like all that they are doing is raising the next generation to be depressed and cynical as well. Oh well, just pop another pill paid for by your socialized medicine!

Tom T. said...

For some people, "not shielding children" seems to segue awfully quickly to "showing them nudity."

Todd said...

"Many Danes believe children should not be shielded from the realities of life, giving them a lot of unsupervised time to play and explore, even if they might hurt themselves."

Or what used to be called "being a kid". I was born in the early 60s (was the middle of 5) and we would be on our own from dawn till dusk. We we got bikes we would ride them EVERYWHERE as well. Grew up on Long Island, not in the city but knew kids that grew up in the city that did all the same. Today's kids are too controlled and little excuse to leave the house (and this predates the ChinaFlu).

Michael K said...

When I was in 6th grade, we had a field trip to the Armour meat packing plant. That was pretty real. Life was a lot more real then.

Ice Nine said...

>>A Danish Children’s TV Show Has This Message: ‘Normal Bodies Look Like This’

There was John, a person with dwarfism, and Muffe, a man who had small horns implanted under the skin of his bald head.... [and] Rei, who is transgender, had a vasectomy and testosterone treatment, and who identifies as they/them...<<

Well they almost got it right but, sorry, normal bodies do not look like those three. Fine, show all kinds of bodies, just don't call all of them normal. I generally approve of the Danes' idea of letting kids get "bruised" up - visually as well as the real thing. But this was too cute by half.

Shouting Thomas said...

Social media doesn’t bombard people with images of perfect bodies.

People post pictures of bodies they think are sexy (including their own) on social media.

People prefer to look at beautiful, young sexy bodies. Not naked old ladies.

Talk about the passive voice gone nuts.

TA said...

Maybe some value to this, even though revolting.

PGK Mark said...

You mean how I and all of my generation did?

Unknown said...

"Normal bodies look like this" is not a bad idea at all. Bodies with artificial horns inserted in their heads or with parts surgically removed by choice, maybe not so normal.

tim in vermont said...

My mother was Dutch and I think she might have believed the same stuff. Of course so did most Americans when I was a boy.

tcrosse said...

Some kids show. Imagine if Howdy Doody had been like that.

tim in vermont said...

My pop was 14 when given a shotgun to go shoot some dinner. One time he made himself a nice scar which he showed us to warn us to always break the shotgun before climbing over a barbed wire fence.

Earnest Prole said...

My children attended a French-American bilingual school composed roughly 50-50 of citizens from each country, and it was astounding and humiliating to learn that French parents were far more accepting of the bumps and bruises their children received on the playground than the American parents were. One particularly vivid memory was a school meeting convened after a boy broke his arm playing on the jungle gym. My wife attempted to reason with outraged parents, saying that kids needed to test their limits and learn how to fall. A particularly self-righteous woman scornfully told my wife she wouldn’t be saying that if it were her child who’d been injured. My wife calmly restated her argument and then added that it was, in fact, her own son who had broken his arm. It as close to an Annie Hall Marshall McLuhan-Woody Allen moment as I suspect I’ll ever experience.

tim in vermont said...

Sorry to trigger any liberals with the above story about how FDR Democrats used to live. Now Democrats have kicked people like that to the curb where Trump scooped ‘em up in his loving arms. You have only yourselves and Hillery to blame.

Kansas Scout said...

I don't know that's a wrong way to approach it. Farm kids in America had a pretty earthy childhood and came out fine.

Quaestor said...

Normal and typical are not useful synonyms. The naked elderly woman ought to have said something like "I'm healthy for my age and my body looks like this," or something relevant to her age and state of health and fitness, whatever that may be. But to say "I hope you will understand that normal bodies look like this" is potentially just as distorted and damaging to a child's conception of human physiology as offering him a Playboy centerfold model as an example of normalcy.

The West is losing the ground it has struggled to occupy over the millennia. Educated Greeks of the Hellenistic era had a useful and uplifting understanding of the body, at least the male body. While the Classical era emphasized a youthful, almost feminine, ideal (as presaged by the late archaic Piraeus Apollo) Hellenistic art took more pains to reflect reality, to hold the mirror up to Nature, whilst paying due homage to the beauty and harmony of athletic bodies even passed the age of blessed youth, (the Farnese Hercules) and even the body ravaged by injury and pain. (the Terme Boxer and the Dying Gaul) Nor was the Greek youth's education confined to art, he was also shown the real thing. Everyone, young and old, who attended the Olympic Games (everyone being male, that is) did so in the nude, thus the student beheld the naked bodies of the aged and decrepit as well as fit and youthful.

We have got a hell of a lot to re-learn. But do we have the time?

The Godfather said...

I'd just as soon look at the perfect bodies if it's all the same to you. If i want to look at an imperfect body, I have a mirror.

tim in vermont said...

Just read the whole post, what a fucking freak show. If I caught somebody parading my young child in front of these deranged exhibitionists, there would be hell to pay. Nothing normal about most of them.

tim in vermont said...

"One famous example of how far the Danes take this philosophy was the euthanization and dissection of a giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo in 2014, where children observed from the front row....”

I won’t relate another story about pop, but it involved his horse and has an ending like Old Yeller.

swierczekml said...

When did "buck naked" become "butt" naked?

Horseball said...

"Buck" naked. Knowledge of idiomatic English is dissappearing.

Mal said...

So the Danes are comfortable with bodies that have had too many Danishes.

mikee said...

Texas allows possession and use of PVC-tube potato cannons, but only if used solely for percussive effects, i.e., noisemaking. My son and I made his first one when he was 10, and after showing him how to use it to make a loud bang, and warning him that shooting a potato out of it was illegal, I left him to play with it, with his friends, in the woods behind my house.

The 10 pound bag of potatoes previously in the pantry must have evaporated. A good time was had by all.

John henry said...

I kind of like the basic concept but have trouble with the idea that someone with self-inflicted horns either looks or is normal looking.

I also don't see the need for nudity. Briefs & bras would give sufficient info.

John Henry

daskol said...

Yeah, but do they twerk?

hstad said...

Yep, just like the BBC's 'Jimmy Savile'!

Banjo said...

Shameless people, the Danes. Not much fun in them, either.

Vonnegan said...

I don't disagree - but there's an ocean of difference between a skinned knee at the playground and naked adults on TV. I never minded the former when my kids were small - and I don't mind that the younger one plays rugby now - but I would not have been fine with naked strangers. I'm actually not fine with them seeing naked strangers on screen now, come to think about it. I guess I've always been a bit of a prude. Oh well.

BADuBois said...

Sounds like future programming for Netflix.

Michael K said...

im in vermont said...
My pop was 14 when given a shotgun to go shoot some dinner.


When I was about 10, I went duck hunting with my father. Our guide, whose blind we used, told us that his father had been a "meat hunter" and was sent out by his father with a 10 gauge shotgun and a box of shells. If he missed once, he had to get two ducks with one shot or get spanked. My dad was a great wing shot. He would go back into the woods on the island to cook hamburgers (we had lots of company from the smells) and, when we would walk back to eat, he would have 4 or 5 ducks he had shot flying over. "Pass shooting" it's called.

Wa St Blogger said...

Bodies don't have to be naked for one to understand size and shape differences. This is just a way to normalize nudity. Whether that is good or bad depends on the society. I America that would mostly be bad as it would simply be grooming the kids for underage sex. Not sure about Denmark. But generally, when you make something matter-of-fact, it stops being such a big deal. I kinda like nudity being kind of a big deal.

rcocean said...

As a young child I had no desire to see ugly old people's bodies and now that I'm old, I feel exactly the same. Nothing is gained by "Lets show them everything bad when they're kids". They won't be kids for long.

rcocean said...

If you've been to a nude beach, you know most people look better with their clothes on. I used to think we could cure obesity if we didn't wear clothes. WRONG! Go to a nudist place. The ugly and fat are PROUD of their fatness. they don't got it, but they flaunt it anyway.

Josephbleau said...

Man, Children can't be shielded from...you know...the thing...man. And Danish kids can be caring for floors in you know.

Howard said...

Is shameless better than shamefull?

Terry Ott said...

I’m closing in on 80, God willing and the creek don’t rise, and I figured this article would be about how Danes’ kids would be on a long leash like we were, or no leash at all, in the formative years. My mother’s parents came over from Denmark, and I never gave that any thought … but maybe that’s part of why there were no safety-obsessed practices/rules for me, my brother, and most of our friends.

What we did have were parents who gave us some guidance, (aka, common sense) and then trusted us to take care of ourselves and each other. Result? No catastrophes. Instead, growing abilities and budding self-confidence. Judgement and flexibility. Openness to new things. Thia “liberty” born of trust enabled us to push out, incrementally, into the real world and learn how to cope.

Going away to an urban university, driving a cab while a student, traveling alone through Europe and living in Turkey while under martial law, getting rolled in Athens (lesson learned), living on the edge of Blackstone Ranger territory in Chicago in the ‘60s, driving my aging car from the midwest to a summer job in DC despite having to get Mom to push it down the driveway so I could jump start it, and on and on. No fear of the unknown. An adaptable personal style to get along with anyone and everyone no matter how strange they may have seemed at first. Getting involved in civil rights issues in the South in my early post-graduate years.

I reflect now on how I might have been incapable of doing those and other “risky” things (the interesting stuff!) if I’d been sheltered and coddled as many youngsters are today. I feel for them. And I wouldn’t have traded my childhood for anything. The outside world became my playground as I matured into young adulthood. It was grand. And I don’t have a sense that my parents worried about my fate. Why? Because they were eyewitnesses to my exiting the nest and pushing outward into independence, incrementally.

stlcdr said...

I’m all for gently introducing kids to the Real World (tm). However, the whole point of parenting is that you protect them from lasting mental and physical harm. You don’t dump them in at the deep end Literally - sink or swim.

Jim said...

"white, Black . . ."

Oh good grief