A children's television show in Denmark has turned heads after the New York Times wrote a glowing profile of the show's practice of exposing kids to naked adults ostensibly as a way to prevent futures full of body shaming.
The show is called "Ultra Strips Down," and features literal nude adults in front of an audience of 11-13-year-olds who are expected to ask questions of the naked strangers as though nothing was wrong.
The "award-winning" program, now in its second season, as explained by the New York Times:
The show’s producers say the program is meant as an educational tool to fight body shaming and encourage body positivity. And so first reluctantly, later enthusiastically, the children from the Orestad School in Copenhagen asked the adults questions like: “At what age did you grow hair on the lower part of your body?” “Do you consider removing your tattoos?” “Are you pleased with your private parts?”
One of the adults, Martin, answered that he had never had “negative thoughts” about his private parts. Another adult, also named Martin, admitted that when he was young he had worried about size. “But the relationship with myself has changed over time,” he said.
With serious looks on their faces, the children nodded.
The program is now in its second season, and while perhaps a shock to non-Danes, it is highly popular in Denmark.
The NYT and the producers of "Ultra Strips Down" want the world to think that such programming is only considered abhorrent to those living in deeply backward, insulated communities. They present the very clearly problematic circumstance of nude adults with preteen children as totally normal unless you're a Christian or conservative who refuses to lighten up.
But there is nothing normal about this show. There is no reason middle schoolers need to ask questions of live, nude, adults to learn things about human anatomy.
The show claims that their content flies in the face of unrealistic images of the human image often seen on the internet and television. They say that by exposing the children to more average looking people, they'll grow up less likely to be ashamed of their own bodies, or perhaps less likely to shame others with less than perfect physiques.
But what about showing a room of 11-13 year-olds naked grown-ups is supposed to steer children in a direction of tempered expectations? Certainly, every child would respond differently to such a shock, but there is no way for this TV show to psychologically predict the reaction of a forming mind to such staggeringly inappropriate content.
The NYT authors say for people in Denmark, this is no big deal because nude beaches exist.
"For the most part, though, Danes have long been comfortable with nudity, at public beaches, for instance," they say.
What they did not say, is that like all other countries with clothing-optional public beaches, those areas are specifically designated and easy to avoid for those who do not want their young children to be exposed to fully nude adults.
Completely ignoring the human instinct for dignity and self-preservation, the TV show's host Jannik Schow said that any discomfort children felt around naked bodies other than their own was totally due to the evils of social media.
During the recording, when one of the Martins told the children that when he was their age, boys and girls used to share the same locker room and showers, Mr. Schow intervened, asking them if they would find that awkward.
“Yessss,” they all responded. “It feels more safe to shower with others of the same gender,” a boy explained on camera.
Shame of being imperfect comes from social media, Mr. Schow said.
“Ninety percent of the bodies you see on social media are perfect, but that is not how 90 percent of the world looks,” he said. “We have extra fat, or hair, or pimples. We want to show children from an early age that this is fine.”
Even in Denmark, as "enlightened" as the sycophantic NYT writers of this article want you to believe, there is plenty of pushback on the TV show.
"Shouldn't we just let children be children?" Danish politician Peter Skaarup told BT, who also said the programming was "depraving" children who were far too young to be exposed to adult genitalia. "It corrupts our children, who at that age already have many things running around in their heads. There is no need for these things on top of that."
The international recognition of "Ultra Stripped Down" comes on the heels of outrage over the French film "Cuties," which features pre-pubescent girls grinding and imitating sex throughout the film. Calls for a boycott of the movie and its host streaming service Netflix have been persistent since its release earlier this month.