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Monday, October 18, 2010

Touchy Topic Tuesday: Parenting Magazine- Posing naked to pay for child's college.

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Touchy Topic Tuesday:
Parenting Magazine's August Issue Mom Debate:
"Would you pose naked for a magazine or website if it would pay for your child's college education?"

I LOVE magazines. Well, to be specific, I love catalogs. I like to look at pages and pages of adorable and expensive home decor, children's clothing, and Victoria Secret lingerie. I love Martha Stewart's magazine, and wishing I had time and money to spend pruning roses, arranging them and then use them to spruce up a table meant for an elegant party with wonderful foods and desserts that I prepared myself. Particularly when that party might be for a spooky, yet adorably tasteful Halloween bash, or a lavish Christmas dinner where everyone dresses formally. I could dress my children in something precious from Boden.

I like Better Homes and Gardens, and Country Living. How delicious, or spacious and just so beautifully quaint. My mom subscribes to them all, and I usually end up bringing them home with me in boxes once she is done with them.

My husband subscribes to National Geographic, which we pour over each month, always interested in whatever articles they may have. Debates always follow, and, of course, we always feel a bit smarter afterwords.

I do NOT, however, love- or even like, for that matter- parenting magazines.

Child, Parenthood, Baby, Parenting, etc. Those magazines have even more of an ability to make me feel awful about myself as a person, a parent and an adult than any teen magazine ever did, and even more so than walking through a Victoria Secret store while 9 months pregnant, too large to fit even into my own maternity clothes, therefore, sporting my husbands pajama pants and a 6 year old Air Force t-shirt.

I HATE being told what to do or how I'm doing it wrong and what I SHOULD be doing when it comes to parenting. And I sometimes get severely irritated by letters to the editor and/or some of the poll results from the questions they pose each month.

So, the solution is easy, right? Don't subscribe.

Yeah, I don't.

EXCEPT that earlier in my pregnancy, I happened to buy a shirt and pair of pants from A Pea In the Pod, and my purchase came with a free one year subscription to Parenting magazine.

I didn't think much of it, figured I'd flip through and then throw them out, maybe rip out a page of recipes here or there, which, for the most part, is how the process has gone.

In the August issue, however, I came across something that I found pretty severely shocking to me.

As mentioned above, in every issue there is a question posed, and you can vote and leave comments online, and they publish the results in the next month's issue.

In August, the results were for the question: Would you pose naked for a magazine or website if it would pay for your child's college education?

The question wasn't shocking. Not even the results. Okay- I'm lying. The results WERE shocking to me, as 53% of women who answered said....YES!!!!!! 47% obviously said No. And what's shocking about that was that MORE THAN HALF of the women who answered, which, in some degree, represents mothers as a collective entity, apparently have no morals.

Yes, I realize that's a blatant and forward statement. I do not feel that posing naked for pictures that are to be published for public view is in any way moral or admirable. IN ANY DEGREE. I don't care if it pays for a cure for cancer. There is absolutely no reason that a woman should have the feeling that demeaning her body by allowing a world full of men and or/women to ogle, discuss, masturbate to, or otherwise demoralize her body. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with a woman being comfortable in her skin, or feeling beautiful, or good enough. It has to do with morals- or better yet, the lack thereof.

PerHAPS I might understand a little more, if not agree with, the majority being FOR the option if the rhetorical situation had to do with a mother's starving children or something else that otherwise played on the emotions. But, a college education?

Well, maybe it's because my husband and I paid our own ways through college with grants, loans and military service, while working full time or multiple jobs, but I don't really have any sympathy for kids who whine about their parents who won't pay for college. And I don't have any empathy for parents who feel like they're failures because they can't support their own lives as well as their college student.

When I plan to have a baby, while I take into consideration how much money it will cost to HAVE the squishy little thing- hospital, doctors visit, etc.- as well as how much food will cost when the baby eventually joins us at the table, clothing, toys, and so on, a college education is not something I plan on providing for my children. (But that is a debate for another time, and for the record, I am, by no means, saying that college is not important.)

No, the most shocking part of this poll were the answers on the "for" side of it:

"What's a one time public embarrassment compared to my child's future? (BTW,that's saying a lot coming from me because I don't even like my husband seeing me naked.)"

My opinion: HOW would you be comfortable showing your body to a world full of men who have ZERO respect for you when you can't even let your husband, who loves you enough to be WITH you and be MARRIED to you, to have CHILDREN with you, see your body?

Are you aware that this would not be a one time embarrassment? Magazines will be kept for a good long time by some people. Online sites keep anything that makes money. You could be around a long time on one of those. And if you did that, forget ever becoming a school teacher or police officer or any other number of jobs. Those kinds of things are the types that are researched and found when background checks are made. Your child, in possible actuality, might be very able to find you there, so obviously exposed to the world, on his/her own.

Also, I have to wonder if the mother that posted this has a very young child at the moment. I think that she might be basing this opinion on her child being very little, because if she did it now, she thinks it would just go away, and she'd have money for her baby's college, far in the future...but, exactly how do you think her child might feel, being a tween, or teen or even IN college at the time, having a mother that poses nude for a magazine. I think that some mothers might hope or even be sure that their child would be proud of her, and thankful. I think, in actuality, that the child of an exposed mother would just feel very exposed his/herself.

"I would do it because I never even got a high school education and i know that I can't afford to send my kids to college. I want them to have an easier time in this world than I did. A real parent would sacrifice anything for her children, including her own self-respect and dignity, and would teach her kids to think the same way when it comes to their own children."

My Opinion: This answer is the one that probably ticked me off the most. First of all, if you didn't get a high school education, I feel that it explains a lot about this idiot response. A person who has children and has the self motivation, guts, self discipline, and self respect, to go BACK to school, get a high school diploma or college degree is going to set a better example and gain more respect from her children, and influence their decisions to finish high school and go to college than a mother who takes her clothes off for money- even if that money is for them.

Every parent wants their child to have a better life than theirs was. But I'm not sure that giving them an "easier" life is the way to go about it. The entitled-ness of some of the teenagers I teach at my church is ridiculous sometimes, and I think making them work for something is a good idea. Even if that means college. Yeah. It's expensive. So what. There are ways to get through it.

You say "A real parent would sacrifice anything for her children, even her own self respect...."...riiiiight. A REAL parent, huh? I don't think anyone needs to tell me or any OTHER "real" parent about sacrifice. We all do things every single day that we don't like doing. We give up careers, friends, financial stability, cute sports cars, our perky breasts, tight buts, flat tummies and narrow hips. Most of us find this sacrifice rewarding in the long run. But if you want to talk about sacrifice, let's go back to my first paragraph in this response to you: Go back to school YOURSELF. GAIN some self respect as opposed to sacrificing it. Sacrificing self respect is NOT a sacrifice. It's not admirable. It's martyrdom and completely abhorrent. I want my children to respect me, not be disappointed in me. I want them to see me and be proud of me, not remember my naked body out there for all to see. I want my children to know that i worked hard for them, that I did my very best to be an example to them and be the kind of person i want them to be. I wouldn't want them to take the easy way out. So I can't do that either. Posing naked to pay for college isn't something I want my daughters to do. How I can I send that message to them if it's something that I am willing to do? I suggest that you reevaluate your definition of a "REAL" parent.

"I would do anything for my son, and would love to show the world what a real woman looks like! Maybe my stretch marks would make girls think twice about premarital sex too- lol."

My Opinion: My suggestion is that you go work for Dove and their "Real women, real beauty" campaign. They don't make you take your clothes off, at least not in a sexual way. And your stretch marks will be welcome there. I wouldn't feel ashamed for my son or daughter to see me on a Dove commercial, but opening up a website where I stood there in my skin, or lay across a centerfold would be off limits in my home. I'm pretty sure that the world knows what a real woman looks like...and for the most part, that's why they look at porn sites. Because they're not real women. They're painted and edited and the lighting is adjusted accordingly. The world sees real women every day. And women who pose naked and allow themselves to be changed (because Playboy would not let a PERFECT woman pose without airbrushing her) are perpetuating the tolerance that the world has for the lies you think you could single handedly change.

Furthermore, whoever would agree that teenage girls seeing stretchmarks would keep them from having premarital sex is lying to themselves. Or they're insanely naive. It's like how, in health class in 10th grade, they showed us a video of a birth, and two or three of the boys fainted. Did it stop us from having sex? Well- I didn't have sex, but that was a moral and religious reason, not because I saw a baby pushed out a vagina with all the gore that that implies. But no, it didn't stop "us". If that were so effective, it wouldn't just stop teens, it would stop women from EVER having children. You don't just suddenly get over the fear of stretch marks and labor pains when you grow up and get married. That's just a really stupid theory.

Anyway, as it stands, it's pretty obvious that I would never in a million years pose for a magazine, or website or anything naked in the name of my child. (Or anything else for that matter.) And I'm not exactly a prude. I AM religious, and i believe in personal modesty. I believe in self respect, and I believe that public nudity is demeaning, irresponsible, and just all around a bad example. I don't believe that any good can come of it. I am comfortable in my skin. I feel I'm a very pretty girl, with curves, and battle scars (stretch marks) that I'm insanely proud of. I don't cover my body in thick sweaters all year long, or worry about putting on a swimming suit. But I feel that I am worth, and my children deserve, more than sexual exploitation.


PLEASE contribute to today's Touchy Topic Tuesday and let us know where YOU stand on this topic and why!

Remember, differing opinions are allowed, encouraged, and respected, but personal attacks, foul language, and otherwise mean comments will not be tolerated, and will be deleted immediately.



Health and Fitness Fairy said...

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My other blog looking for followers:

Have a healthy day!

Marlene said...

Interesting post! And NO I wouldn't do it myself! (And my girls are seniors, one in college and one in high school) I would, however LOVE to be a Dove girl! What an awesome ad campaign that is!

katlupe said...

No, I would never pose myself! When I was younger an artist wanted to paint me nude and I refused. I am glad I refused now when I think about it, nothing to come back and haunt me. My self-respect was more important to me. Who knows who see those photos, like a brother, a cousin, your child, future in-laws? No, it is not worth it.

Jamie said...

It's all a ridiculous hypothetical anyway. You think starving children is maybe reason enough and I think "cure for cancer" plays on plenty of people's emotions. Probably even more than starving children. (What about children dying of cancer?)

At what point is posing for a "sexy" photo immoral? When you are completely nude? Or just showing any skin that would be covered by temple garments? Or something in between? If the standard is whether or not people will ogle the picture, people will masturbate to and ogle pictures of anything. (Even pictures of faeries and pirates...) The question doesn't say what KIND of magazine. What if it was an art shoot? Do you feel the same way about people that pose as nudes for more traditional forms of art?

I wouldn't personally pose nude in exchange for the cost of 4 years of college. (And trust me, no one would ever pay that much for a nude picture of me.) I just think it's a pretty harsh jump to say someone who would is immoral, and then imply that they are a bad mother. There's a lot of gray area in that silly made-up situation.

Keeslermom said...

I'm rather shocked by how many said they would pose. Honestly, I think it's not true. If you sent out a post card saying "come pose nude next week and we'll set up the college fund", I doubt that many would show up. I think kids who work for the money to pay for college OWN their education, and are less likely to party, change majors repeatedly, and generally waste time, so I'm all for my kids paying their own way.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Jamie- I didn't say that I would think it was okay to pose for a starving child as opposed to a cure for cancer. I said that I disagreed with that as well, but that, if that were the question posed, then I MIGHT understand a little better the amount of people who said they would do it. Yes, I agree- cancer is a play on emotions, but where that was mentioned, the play on emotions isn't what was being discussed.

I think you have some great points about the 'intent'of the picture. Yes, some of my pirate and fairy pictures could be labled "hot" or "sexy" and like I said, I'm no prude, either. But my pictures covered my body, and done in an artistic manner. Can a man get off on that? Sure. Some guys get off on the idea of bare feet. Some men get off on children, and that's really disgusting. THAT isn't my fault. My pictures weren't published in a playboy magazine, or on a porn website which is specifically designed for those who want to arouse themselves.

You were in my art history class in high school, correct? I think I remember that. I also studied art history extensively in college. I definately think there IS a difference, though, I think the line is very fine. Why? Because classic art is old? Hm. I honestly don't know. I have been to art shows (college) where I spent hours looking at beautiful, symbolic, and otherwise eye pleasing paintings of naken women (men too, but lets face it, it's mostly women) that were, to me, in no way sexual. SENSUAL, maybe, but more of a celebration of the human body. Do I think that's wrong? Not necessarily...but would I pose? No. I had the chance once- a college art class was advertising payment for posing draped and nude. I went in for the "audition" for the draped model, though, they already had enough sign ups for that, and wanted nude women as only several of the campus homeless guys had offered, and while they thought fat old guys were fine (sex wasn't the idea here, painting a BODY was the point) they needed a female. And I declined. I thought it was rather ammusing.

That being said though, with 2 of my babies, I had a room FULL of interns and residents watching me push a watermelon out my hoo ha. I suppose I feel differently about science. I have heard of women who declined any students in their room for the protection of ther delicate modesty, and while I don't necessarily look down on them for that, I DO feel like there is not usually anything sexual about science (childbirth, or perhaps, say, breast cancer, certain vaginal anomelies, penile issues, etc.) and if there is something that a future doctor needs to learn about, or a new disease or rare disease that the scientific community wants to take a picture of for future study or whatnot, I kind of feel that, as a human in the situation, it is my responsibility to NOT be modest about my body so as to further learning and experience for those who might be able to help, diagnose or cure my ailment. Those young new doctors who were staring at my private parts in one of the most intimate times in my life were LIKELY not jacking off in the bathroom later...but if every single woman turned them down and never let them witness a birth, how could they continue on to become a good ob/gyn the way their future patients would need them to be?

Lori said...

I have more respect for myself and my family then to pose nude even if it would pay for my child's education. We will find a way to pay for all 3 of our children to attend college.

Thanks for sharing.

Tye said...

Hi and thanks for stopping by and following my blog. I'm now following you back and loving your blog. You have a beautiful family. I look forward to reading more.

Diary of a Chic Mommy

tawna6988 said...

This is a loaded question isn't it? A hard one at that? I want to jump in and say "heck no" I would never pose nude, but after the financial hardships my family has had over the past 4 years I am not sure if the money was thrown in my face to send my daughter to college that I would say no. IDK I can't say yes and I can't say NO because I have never been offered the chance and will most likely not get offered the chance so I will remain clothed:) lol

Money can make you question your morals can't it?

Found you via mom bloggers club, and am your newest follower. Hope to see you by my blog too.
I have 4 blogs, you can follow all 4 or pick the one(s) that best suits you.


Emy said...

Wow, this post is a bit heavy! I wouldn't pose for nude pictures even if it covered my toddler son's college tuition one day; but that said who knows if I would in any other extreme situation.

I don't judge people who would do it. More props to anyone if they are confident enough to expose themselves.

But then again, if I looked like Jennifer Aniston or Megan Fox, who knows :-) LOL

Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm now following yours :-)

D. Jarman said...

As far as the question of what is immoral as far as nudity is concerned, I would have to say anything in any degree which turns a woman from a person into a thing, even if the woman is clothed. Soft porn is still porn. And as far as a cure for cancer, that is ridiculous as well. Then you start to ask the question what is worse, cancer or pornography, and I would argue that pornography is much more destructive to people and society than cancer.
The question is completely moral. The only example that I can think of that would ever justify this means to the end is the example in the book Les Miserables. But that is the most extreme of examples imaginable, and Fantine did not prostitute herself until she had exhausted all other options available to her.
We must remember as well, that one of the primary roles of a parent is a teacher. Is there any question why our society is falling apart if these kinds of women are the mothers and teachers of the up and coming generation. To think that you are teaching children good by doing bad is simply counter intuitive. And no parent should ever be naive enough to think that their example is not going to be remembered forever by their children, or if that is not enough, it will certainly be remembered forever by them. You might as well be teaching the kids that it is alright to sacrifice what you know is right and good for money, and money always is interpreted to become a wide variety of things. We are consumers, and that statement would likely lead to the kids thinking it is okay to do drugs or steal as long as some goal that they want is achieved. As long as the goal is something they would pay money for.
In essence the original question is asking more, would you give up your house to put your kids through college, or in effect would you pose nude to save your house, or your family heirlooms, or anything else that you own that is costs equally as much as a college education? And the answer is no. None of those parents would consider selling their house and living in a box so their kids could go to college.

Eschelle said...

not shocked at all and sexy photos boost ones self es-teem. I have sexy photos; but that was WAY before kids and i did it for myself. Just a picture of a body that should be celebrated imo. I have boys i don't think i could do it for money or to be publicized; but doing it for oneself in privacy or for your hubby is fine.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Eschelle- I DO agree with you on that. Taking sexy/lingerie/naked pictures to be kept private for you and your hubby is fine, in my book, and sure, it can boost self esteem. the difference is that the question was specifically asking if they would pose nude for a magazine or website, which isn't a private thing, it's a publicised thing, and likely the kind of thing that would objectify a woman. In those cases, where you are paid to put naked pictures on a well trafficked site or popular magazine, etc, I think it's wrong and immoral. As I mentioned above in a response, I DO feel there are exceptions, but for the most part, a body put out for sexual pleasure for anyone who wants it is just not admirable, in my opinion.

Will said...

There is a great story of an Economics professor that was explaining to the class about supply and demand. He asked the class, "Are there any women in the class that would sleep with me for an A?" Get no responses, but noting a few interested looks, he asked, "Are there any women in the class that would sleep with me for $1,000,000?" One woman raised her hand and said she would. The professor then asked "Would you sleep with me for $20?" The woman retorted, "What kind of girl do you take me for?" The professor responded, "We've already established what type of girl you are. Now we're just haggling over price." The professor continued his lecture, but had already made a very key point on ethics. Simply having a price (be it a grade, a million dollars, a college education for your kids, or food for your children) is what defines who you are, not what the price is.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Will- thank you very much for that point. I agree whole heartedly. LOL.

Deana said...

I am going to have to say a big resounding no! Even if I did look like I did when I was 18 I would still say no. Sorry kids, we'll be going the loan route:)

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