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April 16, 2008
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Children and Nude Models

:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Background story:
The life drawing class I'm currently taking employs the use of nude models. Recently, one of our regular models brought her 5-year-old to class with her. Granted, the child was on spring break and one could assume the mother felt that there was no other place to put her child. The mother/model posed naked for our class with her daughter present, yet fully clothed. This occurred for a full week. The first day, the child exhibited behavior that seemed as if she was uncomfortable. When her mother first disrobed in front of the class, the child sort of whispered and pointed to her mother "ha ha, mommy you're naked!" During the time when the mother was posing, the child occupied herself by drawing in her own little sketch book and cutting out papers for a collage. The second day, the child drew her mother, naked. Both incidents, the child often would look around the class room and stare at we students as we were drawing her mother.

My issues:
Having worked in kindergartens and having experience with early childhood development, this seems very wrong. For one thing, I'm not sure if this is legal. I know that in order to take this class, you must be at least 18+. To me, this constitutes as child abuse. Yes, I know it is her own mother and it isn't uncommon to take showers with your parents at this age. However, it is one thing to shower at home with your parents when you are young and quite another to be subjected to the context of a classroom environment where strangers are viewing your parent in a number of ways that could be rather confusing to a 5yr old. I have no problem with the beauty that is the human body. I would not be taking this class if I did. My problem is that this child is going to be really fucked up and that she is too young to really understand what is going on here. Also, I am not the only one in the class who felt very uncomfortable.

Political questions:
What are your thoughts? What should the actions be, if any, on the part of the school? Is my premise off? Is this society sexualizing children early? Is this really nothing and just a matter of culture? Do parents have the right to do this to their children? Would this warrant the child being taken away? Would this warrant at least the need for therapy or social services to step in? What impact do you think this child will experience, if any? Any extra ideas I'm overlooking?

I look forward to your responses.
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Devious Comments

:iconcaptainclark:
captainclark Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008
It seems odd to me but I don't think it's criminal. I imagine the kid will be fine. However I do agree with DAPoliticalForum's post above. It's unprofessional and rude.
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:icondapoliticalforum:
DAPoliticalForum Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2008  Professional General Artist
:bulletblue: Background story:
:bulletblue: My issues:
:bulletblue: Political questions:
:bulletblue: I look forward to your responses.


:firelite-photo: Before I respond, I want to stand and applaude the way you laid your OP out! It is a model for others to duplicate!

The Issue, IMHO, begins with:

:bulletred: Children and pets do not belong in the work place! Period!

If I were photographing a model, and she were to bring her child to the shoot, I would cancel the shoot and tell her to come back when when she can make arraingement to have her child attended to. The model is being paid for her undivided attention to posing. Any distraction causes tension in the face of the model, and tension in the nerves of the artist.

:bulletred: The model burdening the class without asking prior permission of the class was inconsiderate and disrespectful to the entire body of the class.

If no one in the class had prior knowledge that a child was to accompany a nude model, and that model showed up to the class without taking into consideration the burden, both physically and emotionally, that it would place on the class, then she was just plain ill-mannered, and inconsiderate. Again, I would have asked her to leave until she could make arraignments for her child, and I would not even pay her show-up time, and I would file a formal complaint to her agency.

:bulletred: What the model does, in the privacy of her own home, with her children is her business>

But, when she does something like this in public, in my presence, at an activity I have paid to attend (and we do pay to attend classes), then it becomes My business, also, and requires an element of my permission for the activity to continue. I, personally, would not have given the model, nor the professor, My permission to continue without a threat of formal complaint to the school.

:iconswordofscotland::firelite-photo: *SwordOfScotland Club founder
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much!!!

I'm 100% with you. Especially on the last point. I pay good money to go to university and I think at least asking my input as a paying customer is fair.
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:iconenergetic-innovation:
Hmm, I think it would be considerably worse if the she were a porn star bringing her child to a shoot. This seems fine, however if it makes the students uncomfortable, she should consider leaving the child with a babysitter if possible.
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:iconimprovidentscion:
ImprovidentScion Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Non-sexual nudity is fine. We allow nudist colonies for all ages, yet they're not inherently sexual either.

Bravo to the mother and the class for acting in a mature manner. Perhaps the girl will grow up and not necessarily view nakedness as taboo.
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:iconhipsandhearts44:
HipsAndHearts44 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2008
If the mother has nowhere else to have the child taken care of, that's fine, leats let the child sit outside the door. This is just sick.
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:iconnekor:
Nekor Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2008
What are your thoughts?

Well from my own childhood experiences most kids look at any slight nudity as more of a "eww...thats gross!" thing. I remember when I was in 2nd grade and during recess a bunch of kids were shouting "Eww! There's a naked guy over there." Turns out they were pointing to a guy who just didn't have a shirt on and I didn't see what the big deal was. I remember being a little uncomfortable with seeing paintings and artistic photos of nudes, but once I saw it as something displaying the natural beauty of the human body and not anything sexual. So personally I don't see it as too big of a deal, though, seeing how our culture views nudity as more sexual, I can understand why you might be a little uncomfortable with it.


What should the actions be, if any, on the part of the school?

If it's 18+ then that should apply to the model's child too. Not only for the sake of fairness, but also because it's making the other people uncomfortable.


Is my premise off?

A little, I don't see how it would count as child abuse. I can imagine the child being a little uncomfortable and confused about seeing her mother with her clothes off (if it's the first time she saw that) and seeing people drawing her. But I think if the mother explains to her child about how it's more for artistic reasons and it's nothing "dirty", then I don't see much of a problem. Kids can be pretty smart.

Is this society sexualizing children early?

Unfortunatly yes.

Is this really nothing and just a matter of culture?

I think so, there are places where people hardly wear anything and then there are places that places emphasis on covering up. I personally don't see one any worse than the other. My religion and parent's cultural background is one that places a big emphasis on covering up, yet I have no issues with artistic nudity. I think it depends more on how you teach the concept of nudity and the human body.

Do parents have the right to do this to their children?

If the school permits it then yes.


Would this warrant the child being taken away? Would this warrant at least the need for therapy or social services to step in?

No. If that warrents taking the child away then I think taking a kid to a rated R film would too.


What impact do you think this child will experience, if any?

I think it will the child less uncomfortable at looking at nudity, and if she's ever considering taking up art and going to art school then at least that experience might make her more prepared to take life drawing classes. I know people who are planning on going to art school who still have to overcome that embarassement.
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:iconinmc:
inmc Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
No. You are compleatly wrong. You are uptight and just like to speak bad about other people.
We are all born naked and for millions of years it was compleatly normal for every one to see it's parent's and everyone naked. What the mother did was compleatly pure, but you and the people who agree with you are impure and the only problem is in your sick mind and in your vicious thoughts.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
:pointandlaugh:

I love people who completely miss the mark as far as their opinion of me and generally everything else I'm talking about. :hug:
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:iconiron-confederate:
Iron-Confederate Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It really depends on the local's culture. In Japan (and maybe somewhere in Europe), it is not too harmful if kids see some adult content on kid shows like they did with Kirby before it was dubbed for the US: [link]

If people in the US saw this on national television, they will go bat shit.
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:iconblood-and-death:
blood-and-death Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
I find absolutly nothing wrong with what this mom did.
I think hiding the human body at an early age will make it much easier to associate nakedness with sexuality in later years. Many nudist think this way (there are nudist families too, gandparents, parents, and children, and they function the same as anyones else in public)

From what you have written it sounds like you have a much more unhealthy view of nudity than that child will.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
You're right. I am so unhealthy. I think exposing adult body parts to children is wrong. Kill me.
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:iconliquidblueeyes:
liquidblueeyes Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
Im suprised at the age limit you have for life drawing classes.
At both the schools I've been at you can start doing them when you reach sixth form (16+)

Anyway I don't think there's anything illegal about what the mum did - bringing the child
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Well, it might be a California thing. :shrug:
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:iconchrisbucks:
chrisbucks Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
I realize this is like jumping into a lake of fire, but I'm going to do it anyway... how is seeing your parent naked, abusive?

I don't think it would fuck the child up, if anything it might help them to have a healthy and level view on nudity and the human body, provided there's no sexualized intent in the nature of the life drawing (which there generally isn't anyway), I wouldn't stack it up there as abuse.

The way we act so negatively towards nudity as a society is somewhat troubling, but I'll admit there are reasons why we got to this situation which are probably justifiable. But I don't think we should immediately label nudity as erotic or sexualized.

I do believe you're somewhat going a bit far in your analysis of the situation, and I don't see how it is 'sexualizing' the child (although I'm not sure if you were implying that).

Anyway, my main point is that we should probably be trying to view nudity in a healthy regard, and I don't see anything immediately wrong with this situation.
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:iconavalik:
Avalik Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
I don't think there's a problem. There's nothing sexual about an art class really. I mean, if she was drawing her mom and just sketching about she must have been comfortable enough.

Hehe and if she's sketching nude at age 5 imagine how good of an artist she is going to be later!
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:icon12monthsofwinter:
12monthsOFwinter Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
What part of the whole class is sexualized? I don't see it at all from what you say. Seems like the class on the whole was more uncomfortable than the child. Sure, she might have been a bit embarrassed at first- I imagine most people of any age/gender would be when suddenly presented with a naked person.
But surely not because of anything sexual- children at that age don't even know what sexuality is- it would take another 3-5 years of nonstop television exposure to make her aware of what it's seems to be about.
And it is her mom- its not like one of the students at the class brought their 5 year old along- that would be wrong to my mind.

But the point of the whole thing that really struck me is that she started to do what everyone else was doing- drawing.
I think your imagining a problem where there is none and even should there be one somewhere in that girls future I highly doubt it will be because she was there when a group of artists tried their very best to achieve good likeness from a nude study.
I.M.O.
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:iconavfc4me:
avfc4me Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
Ummm...I think the mom was smart in finagling a free art class for her 5 year old.

Look: they're a good deal less prudish about nudism in other countries, and it hasn't caused little girls to go screaming into the night & flinging themselves into the sea...

A positive attitude about ones' own body is something VITAL to teach little girls; it heads off things like eating disorders. I think it takes some guts to be a nude model. What I am surprised at is that a 5 year old wasn't tearing the place up and sticking chalk up her nose after an hour of just sitting there!
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I find it interesting that the only way to have a positive image of the female body is to have it pushed in your face when you're five.
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:iconavfc4me:
avfc4me Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
You can't be serious. How do you get "only way" out of that comment? Nah. That train's on the wrong track.

Wow.

This is so not a big deal. Do you freak out like this when you find out that an actress/model's taken their kid to work?

I guess she should've stayed home and collected welfare.


There are real evils out there. People doing bad things to children. This? This ain't one of 'em.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
The funny part here is I'm not the one freaking out.
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:iconmrrste:
mrrste Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
I don't see much of an issue, especially if the mother explained it all to her daughter before hand. No doubt the child will eventualy go to art museums in the future and see this subject of work, but will have an understanding in the process of creating such things.

It would have made more sense to not take a child into an adult class though because the mother could not have been sure what else the child may have been exposed too.
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:iconjoebob777:
Joebob777 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
She should have found a sitter.
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:iconiyami-ame:
iyami-ame Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
to be frank : America is prude.

in other countries, the human body (especially female) is presented as a beautiful and natural thing. its presented this way in art, too, so i could understand how a model would not fear letting her child visit the class. in countries where this is expressed, there is dramatically LESS teen sex & body-image obsession, and more concervative clothing is worn.

treating something as "forbidden" "secret" or "dirty" just makes it all that more interesting (or terrifying) once a child hits puberty. according to cultural studies, children who are taught that the human body is natural have significantly better mental health than children who are taught otherwise.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I love that you're assuming that I feel the body is forbidden, secret, terrifying, or dirty. You obviously aren't listening and have no idea what you're talking about.

And please provide a source for your "cultural studies."
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:iconiyami-ame:
iyami-ame Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
the fallowing statement is me being a complete ass. fair warning :

by the way, an intelligent response is not "show me or i wont believe you", but "i have not heard that before, and will look into it myself."

clearly you haven't taken any debate classes yet. if you had, youd know that no one logical asks their opposition to "prove it" - it makes you sound incredibly ignorant. its your job to dis-prove it, if you dont think its right.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I didn't know we were in debate class. :roll:

I was more interested in seeing a better illustration of your point from an actual source. And with the debate classes I've taken (yes, I HAVE taken these classes), asking for information in order to further understanding is never a taboo.

That is, in less the other person is making shit up ....

Pardon my ignorance. :|
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:iconiyami-ame:
iyami-ame Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
its not tabboo among peers, generally speaking, but you will almost never find someone past the age of 23 who does it.

i never give sources. it wastes SO much time.
1. your sources are never good enough for someone who doesnt want to agree with you.
2. they dont get both sides of any story when they ask for just your resources, and there may be newer articles and studies out sense you last looked.
3. no human being on earth gets 100% of their information off teh internet. much of what we learn comes from "the real world."
4. no human on earth can remember every place they ever got any information from.
5. i have this thing called.. "work", and dont have time to google constantly trying to support every claim ive ever made.

no one with a brain makes up shit when theyre trying to be logical, if your actually worried about that, your talking to the wrong people to begin with. if its something your interested in, you have the ability to research it yourself, this particular topic is so big that i would be ripping my hair out just trying to cover the basics of what ive read via sources.
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:iconiyami-ame:
iyami-ame Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
i was not reffering directly to you, but to American culture. clearly, i didnt make my point understandably.

aside from my personal opinion (that it was not inappropriate of the model), from a legal standpoint, it seems perfectly okay.

its legal to be nude privately - which by law, refers to private property, and in the company of your immediate family. a daughter is an immediate family members. as you mentioned, this often displays itself as a mother showering with her young child.

it was clearly also legal for a model to pose nude for your art class; so putting two and two together : its legal for her to be nude in the presents of her daughter, and in the art class.

according to the law it is not abuse, and there has never been a study (that i know of) that expresses the posibility of it being abusive or psychologically damaging in any way. saying that, i ALSO took early childhood development classes, and tended to young children, so i think my opinion is just as valid as yours.

regarding your main question : i do not see it as a conceivably challengeable act by law. i also do not think it should be.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Except you forgot one part when you were putting your two and two together. You must be 18+ to take this class. And please tell me how long you have studied school charters as well as the law pertaining to this in the state of California?
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:iconiyami-ame:
iyami-ame Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
i am no expert on cali law, but i do dabble. i find that state slaws interesting, sense they often appeal to me as "totally unreasonable."

i did not forget, but see the 18 year old rule as irrelevant. it seems that a minor would be exempt from the 18+ rule if he/she were an immediate family member of the nude model. now, had it been the child of a student or teacher at that school, it would probably not be legal in that state.
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:iconbutchers:
Butchers Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
Yeah.. its gonna screw with her psychosexual development.. thanks Freud. :roll:

Personally, I don't really have an issue with it. Heres how I read into the sequence of events:

Day 1- Child confused about the whole thing. It's a new and different experience
Day 2- Child begins to tolerate it and returns to normal activities of drawing and cutting out
Day 3- Realising it is normal, the child accepts what's happening and even begins to actively participate in the class

Sounds pretty simple to me. I don't think there's any great reason why children's services should be called in or why the mother should be branded as a bad one. I think its perfectly normal.
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:iconamforsythe:
Amforsythe Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
What are your thoughts?

Well, I know that people living in nudist colonies give birth, and I haven't heard that they have to give up their children because of this. Also, there are still hippie communes that have children running around as well as naked people. :shrug:

What should the actions be, if any, on the part of the school?

I think she should be asked to put the child in day-care. Not because of any possible damage to the child - but because it's making other people in the class uncomfortable.

Is my premise off?

I think you're overreacting a little. You don't know how this mother treats the child outside of this experience. She might be very honest and open and dealt with explaining it to her daughter - or she might not have. Just like the parents you see being nice to their children at the grocery store might go home and beat them. :shrug:

Is this society sexualizing children early?

I don't see how it automatically is. I was allowed to watch TV when I was that age, I don't remember how old I was - but my father told me he didn't care if I watch MTV or whatever other kids' parents were bitching about, because it was "all an act". I grew up knowing that much of what is on TV or in the movies "isn't real".

It's not like the mom was making sexual poses, was she ? And even if she was, say in an alternate reality doing a pornographic photo-shoot, the only "problem" would arise if she wasn't honest with the child and lied about what was going on - I don't see anything inherently damaging in exposing children to sexual material. Yeah, it's her mom - that's weird for our culture. But it's a far cry from a mom dragging her daughter into the prostitution business to make nice to clients.

Is this really nothing and just a matter of culture?

That would be my opinion. After thinking about examples of nudity outside of nudists and hippies - there are still tribal communities where women are not expected to cover their breasts and such.

Do parents have the right to do this to their children?

I don't see it as "doing" anything worse than taking a child to a scary movie. If the parent is capable, they can explain what is going on. The child might have been initially uncomfortable or worried for her mother - not necessarily uninformed. The child might not be so much worried about her mother being seen naked - but just being intimidated by being around so many other older people.

Would this warrant the child being taken away?

If you asked me, most certainly not - doing so would see outrageous to me.

Would this warrant at least the need for therapy or social services to step in?

I don't think so. That's like asking all nudists to go into therapy just because they want to be naked. The basis for mistreatment of the child is in the actions that we cannot know about - how she is otherwise treating the child and how she explains it to her.

But I don't see the action of concern as any more horrible than just letting the child go to public school where the kid can be asked at age six to share what her own breasts look like or change in a public locker-room.

What impact do you think this child will experience, if any?

I have no idea. It depends on how the mother handles it, really - all the things we don't know.
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:iconeman333:
Eman333 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Photographer
That's a bit creepy...
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:iconebony-chan:
ebony-chan Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
This is interesting I don't really see anything wrong with this, mind you this is just me. Maybe the mother talked with her child first, as for having her child at her place of work do you think the model talked it over with the school first?

Anyway I have a thread here as well stop by and post your thoughts on the subject. =)
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:iconhellshallbemine:
hellshallbemine Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
I think that the consequences or lack of consequences depends on how the mother explained or treated the situation to her daughter.

Legally, though--I'd think that the logic behind the age limit on the class should speak for whether she brings her child in or not. The fact that she might not have had no other place to take her is no excuse to bringing your child in to certain work environments.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I agree.
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:iconlaerbn:
Laerbn Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
I hardly think getting rid of societal insecurities counts as child abuse.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
So, I'm guessing, in your opinion this context doesn't cause psychological damage.
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:iconlaerbn:
Laerbn Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
No, it doesn't. The kid obviously learned to deal with it, so they are already a step up above all the other kiddies who haven't had to deal with it yet.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
And you know that the kid "obviously" did this because ....?
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:iconlaerbn:
Laerbn Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
The second day, the child drew her mother, naked.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
And since you were there and are also in the child's head, you can say that for sure.
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:iconlaerbn:
Laerbn Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
It's not like hiding people's nakedness makes it magically go away and keeps children innocent and naive forever.
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:icontwinklebug:
twinklebug Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
I don't see anything wrong with it at all! What damages children is teaching them to hate and fear the human body and to always view it as a sexual object. Drawing a nude model in a classroom is not sexual in any way, so why should the child be bothered by it? She saw people drawing her mom, as they had many times before, only this time her mom was naked. That's not hard for a 5-year-old to understand. People don't have to be a certain age before they can appreciate beauty. That's why pornography is so damaging, because it takes away the innocence and purity of the nude form and turns it into something ugly and confusing. But people, especially in the U.S, seem to view all nudity as pornographic these days.

"The first day, the child exhibited behavior that seemed as if she was uncomfortable."

Or bored, perhaps? 5-year-olds don't like to sit around for long periods of time.

"However, it is one thing to shower at home with your parents when you are young and quite another to be subjected to the context of a classroom environment where strangers are viewing your parent in a number of ways that could be rather confusing to a 5yr old."

If she had been there all week, then she knew that her mom was posing for people to draw. I don't see how she would view the nude modeling any differently. People were looking at her mom in "a number of ways that could be rather confusing to a 5yr old"? Guess what? That probably never even crossed the kid's mind. Children are too innocent to understand what kind of thoughts an adult might have when they look at a naked woman. Why shouldn't she be taught to view nudity in a healthy sense? The "ha ha mommy, you're naked!" comment probably came from the fact that it's generally not socially acceptable to be naked in public. But, children learn that different things are acceptable in different environments, and in a classroom environment this was acceptable.

I've worked with preschoolers and kindergarteners too. Adults often don't understand how innocent they really are. They don't view something as vulgar unless they're taught.
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:iconiyami-ame:
iyami-ame Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
right on :D i wouldnt have even posted if i had seen this first.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
That's why pornography is so damaging, because it takes away the innocence and purity of the nude form and turns it into something ugly and confusing.

I duno what your problem is, but porn is awesome!
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:iconbeta3:
beta3 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
:lmao:
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:icontwinklebug:
twinklebug Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
I meant, as a child sees it. For adults it's a little different. But children shouldn't be exposed to sexuality at that age.
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:iconcrimsontigress:
CrimsonTigress Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
ah ha.
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