Yesterday Gruen Transfer discussed the marketing of shaving apparatuses in its usual insightful/light-hearted manner. All seemed to go along expected lines until regular panelist Rusself Howcroft mentioned that many 20-year-old men had never seen women with pubic hair, "except their mothers". Cue stunned giggling, clapping, and an awkward "what are you saying, Russell"? About an hour ago @GruenHQ tweeted "If you were stopped dead by the line about mothers and pubic hair, consider the fact that Russel's mum was actually in the studio audience."
Is it really that controversial to suggest someone might have seen their parents naked? Honestly.
This is maybe the biggest culture gap I've noticed in my time in Australia: here, nudity almost invariably equals sex, so if nudity somehow involves children - as the naked ones or, as in this case, as the ones observing nudity - then we're in outright weirdo territory. In Finland, where saunas are a way of life, you just see naked people as a matter of course. Your parents, your siblings, your friends, your colleagues. Nudity is, or can be, social. The great equaliser, even.
You may remember the Bill Henson controversy a couple of years ago. The photographer's work was pulled from an exhibition and widely condemned for showing naked children. Even the Prime Minister saw it fit to declare the images "absolutely revolting" (had he actually seen them? I can't remember), but eventually the photos were "given a PG rating by the Australian Classification Board, suggesting viewing by children under the age of 16 is suitable with parental guidance." So that's how utterly disgusting they were. I haven't seen the offending pictures - some Henson work is available online, but everyone is at least slightly clothed, and I am not game to specifically google for naked teenagers - but given that didn't stop many people condemning them then, it shouldn't stop me now, telling Australia to relax, sunshine.
People are naked. That's the one thing we all have in common. Is it any wonder people develop body image issues if we get all jittery and creeped out by something that should be so utterly banal?