Meet the Young-Moguls. James and Madison.
The couple lives in Berkeley, California with their two-year-old daughter, Emma. As for their parenting style, James and Madison preach “body positivity,” teaching Emma to love her body by trying to take the shame and stigma out of talking about genitals and sex.
Nothing really wrong with that. Right?
But your opinion might change when you find out that James is a director of BDSM and fetish films. Madison is the star. And their whole “body positivity” thing? It involves finger-painting vulvas, an anatomically correct vagina hand puppet (Apparently, vaginas sound a lot like Elmo.), and a jar of uterine lining sitting in menstrual blood.
Yeah. That was my reaction, too.
The couple was featured on Bravo’s Extreme Guide to Parenting, which is less a guide than it is a weekly boost in confidence for me and my own child-rearing “techniques.”
After all, Madison may not understand why it’s okay to tell her daughter that mommy sometimes kisses daddy, but not okay to say that daddy sometimes plays with mommy’s nipples…but I sure do.
As I sat there giving in to my guilty pleasure, judging these parents, I wondered, ‘What makes my way better? What makes my way the right way to parent?’ Who’s to say that their talking vagina-puppet-vulva-painting- menstrual blood method isn’t better than my approach to talking to my kids about their bodies and sex; which I admit I probably need to do a better job of? How do I know that their kids won’t turn out to be more well-adjusted than mine? And is there really a right and wrong way to do things when it comes to parenting?
Child Protective Services may be able to answer a few of those questions for me, but it’s still something that begs for thought. For instance…
There was a scene in the show where Emma came across a few of Madison’s sex toys. Picking up a rubber penis, she asked, “What’s this Mommy?”
Madison answered, “It’s a mommy toy,” as Emma held it to her ear pretending it was a telephone.
Ultimately, she handled it the same way I would’ve handled it if one of my kids came across a “mommy toy.” I just know that I would’ve been fumbling with my words wearing a clearly embarrassed look on my face instead of saying it nonchalantly then going back to folding the laundry.
I get it. Somewhat. James and Madison don’t want to hide what they do and who they are from their daughter; and I understand that they want their daughter to know her body. (Note: James isn’t exactly on board with Madison’s method. He had to put his foot down when Madison wanted to read her daughter erotica like it was “The Cat in the Hat” or something.) But when they expose other children to it, having a play date and bringing out a jar of Madison’s uterine lining and menstrual blood, which she says is great for helping plants grow (who knew?); that’s going too far– at least for me.
Bravo — and likely the rest of the country — classifies James and Madison’s “body positivivity” parenting as “extreme.” But I can’t say that it’s completely “wrong.” Just as I can’t say that what I do is completely “right.”
As long as they’re not abusing their daughter, breaking any laws, or exposing my kids to it, as far as I’m concerned, they’re just doing the same thing all of us are doing as parents: raising our kids the best we know how.
Think they’ve gone a bit far? What age did you start having body and sex talks with your kids?