Post # 1
The “naked bathtub baby on Facebook” and other similiar threads in the past few months got me thinking: Are Americans prudes? Do people from other countries think we are prudish?
I remember when I traveled to Germany, there was an outdoor fountain with kids playing in it, in the middle of a public square. The kids were all naked, clear up to age 5/6 or so! That would never fly in the USA, people would completely freak out. I also attended the Munich Ballet, very classy, people in the audience dressed to the 9s; one part of the ballet the dancers were all topless, nobody was phased. And most of the hostels I stayed in were in red-light districts, but there seemed to be very normal people walking down the street, didn’t seem like a big deal to anybody.
Even just watching BBC versus American programming, things like sex seem much less taboo and more matter-of-fact.
I’d especially love to hear what people from other countries think: Are we Americans very prudish / conservative compared to your country?
Edit to add: Breastfeeding too! Lots of people freak out about people breastfeeding in public. I read a couple months ago about someone chewing out the singer Pink for breastfeeding her baby under a cover! (On a side note, if I was going to attack someone for this, which I never would, I certainly wouldn’t pick a notoriously out-spoken rock star!) One of my friends is from Malawi, Africa, she says there nobody uses covers or hides; they just whip it out and feed the baby because that’s what you’re supposed to do!
Post # 3
Nudity (when it comes to adult stuff) doens’t bother me in the slightest.
Now do I want MY kids prancing around naked when there is the potential for pedophiles to be around? No.
Do I want to see naked bathtub pics of some kid on facebook? No. For the exact same reason. There’s a lot of sick freaks in this world who get off on looking at little kids.
I’d rather be called a prude than have some of the children in my family be fodder for some sick freak.
Post # 4
I’m an American, and I’m a prude. I do think Americans tend to be more prudish than European countries. I blame that on history though. I mean look at who founded the country, the puritans.
Post # 5
- Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House
Definitely. IMO americans should be freaked out by violence more than by sex, but that unfortunately isn’t the case.
Post # 6
I don’t want to generalize entire populations, but I’ll admit that I’m a prude.
ETA: But I’m also super uncomfortable with intense/graphic violence onscreen.
Post # 8
In short, yes. Americans are prudes. Some way more than others.
ETA: I don’t necessarily think of myself as a prude, but I probably am compared to some Europeans.
Post # 9
Absolutely. Why can a film get an NC-17 rating for sex scenes, but not for violence? Why is violence acceptable but not sex? It’s like sex is the WORST THING IN THE WORLD. It’s because of Puritans, I bet, or the Christian Crazies/Right who think the body (especially the female body) is a no-zone.
And the whole fountain thing, or the kids in the bathtub thing…um, how many pedophiles are there, anyway? I wonder if that’s a fear because of the American media.
Post # 10
I think America is a strange contradiction. In a lot of ways our culture is overly sexual and yet we are prude. But nudity is a big deal here and in my experience people in other countries just seem more relaxed about it.
You would most likely never see naked kids running around on a beach or the pool. Yet I go other places no one bats an eye.
I also think movies and shows in Europe and Australia also have more nudity not would not allowed on tv here.
I also noticed when I went out to nightclubs in Australia no one does the excessive grinding and dry humping. In fact whenever I travel if I see some girls grinding and dancing on a table I assume they are American and most of the time if I am close enough to hear them speak my assumption is correct.
Post # 11
@JaneyDcat: I think you are on to something there – maybe there’s a higher amount of child pornography/pedophiles in the U.S. and that’s why people seem more ‘prudish’ about that kind of stuff?
I would agree with OP that as a whole, this country tries/seems to be a lot more P.C. and I guess you can call it “prudish” than other countries. When I was in Spain there seemed to be a lot more ‘free-spirits,’ but I guess it all depends on where you are and who you are exposed to.
Post # 12
@TwoCityBride: +1, you are totally right about our culture being a contradiction. Re: the nightclubs in other countries – that’s so true! I didn’t even think about that until you mentioned it. In Spain they did NOT dance like that either!
Post # 13
@abbyful: Oh yes, North Americans (I’m in Canada and it’s largely the same here) are definitely more prudish when it comes to these sorts of things!
My parents are European and I lived there for a while when I was younger. My mom has always said that it’s ridiculous how a little girl needs to wear a bikini top, and how all my friends were like WTF at the artwork we had in our home when I was growing up (many topless ladies in the paintings).
I think it’s all what you’re used to, though. It’s not like one culture is right or wrong, I don’t think. The only bad thing IMO is that in Europe people are more open w. their bodies/nudity so they don’t have a lot of the self esteem issues that many people here do. I think people in North America in general should be more accepting of nudity because they’d be happier/more secure overall. It’s like nudity is shameful. Nudity doesn’t have to be taboo/sexual. Women routinely go topless on beaches in some parts of Europe and it’s perfectly normal.
I admit that despite being raised in a European home, I’ve been influenced by the North American culture more, I think. It doesn’t really bug me… it’s just what I know/am used to.
The prudishness extends to other things as well… like alcohol. Many European families let the kid have a beer at home at age 14. This is to prevent the kid turning 18 (or 21 in the US) and going crazy, not knowing how to handle it, and dying of alcohol poisoning etc. Europeans are just more open about those sorts of things. If you make something off limits, it becomes more enticing.
Post # 14
@E_Lynne615: A few places in europe I seen in london a little bit I see some but it’s never close to close body contact, but never to the level of what I seen in America. I’ve also never seen that spain.
Post # 15
@TwoCityBride: I totally agree with you here. I think it’s the sex thing we’re more prudes about than the nudity itself, because American culture associates nudity with sex and promiscuity, which many see as a very bad thing.
I think the American perception of what is and isn’t conservative is.. complicated. It’s perfectly okay to wear a swimsuit, which is, let’s face it, pretty much like underwear most of the time, but then if you wear booty shorts and a crop top that’s somehow different and makes you immoral? Lots of men look at breasts in their spare time, but when a woman wants to pull them out to feed a baby with them, which is what they’re meant for, they’re suddenly icky?
We’re screwed up about it, I think, lol.
I say it’s sexual oppression.
Post # 16
Yes. America comes across as somewhat prudish. It also comes across as a mass of contradictions, particularly with sex vs violence in movies.
The UK is somewhere in the middle of the USA and Europe in terms of prudishness and alcohol issues, so we’ve still got a long way to go.