Tonight as I was getting Kayla ready for bed, we had a little chat. We were sitting there across from each other and I told her it was just about time to go to sleep. She asked me if I was going to bed too, and I answered, “No, not just yet sweetie. I’ll lay with you and rub your back or run my fingers through your hair until you fall asleep, but I still have a bit of writing to do before I go to bed.” She reached out and put both of her little hands in mine and asked me what I’m going to write about (It was too cute for words). I told her I wasn’t sure yet and asked her if she had any ideas of things I should talk about.
She put on her best deep-thinking expression and after a moment of thought, said “Pictures!” To clarify, I asked her if she meant about the two of us hanging pictures in the house together tonight and she replied “Yes.” Initially, I wasn’t really sure what to say about the picture hanging we did but as I lay next to her to run my fingers through her hair, I decided to just write about what we did together and see where my thoughts took me.
After I finished up at the studio for the day, I went back home for a few minutes to let the boys out and kill a little bit of time before I had to pick Kayla up from school. While I was waiting, I pulled out the computer and browsed through some black and white photos on google to try and find a few more to frame and hang in the house to go with the new decorating style. I found a few but then had to leave to go pick her up and then we came back home.
She often likes to have a little time to play by herself after she gets home, so while she played in her room for a little bit, I found a few more photos and put them on a jump drive. After about 20 minutes, we hopped back in the truck and stopped by the print shop here in town to have the photos printed out before making a second stop to pick up some frames.
After two more quick errands, we made our way back home. After taking off the ‘cones of shame’ and letting the boys back out, we sat together on the couch and unwrapped the frames. She was very eager to help and used one of the shopping bags for the plastic wrap that covered the frames and handed me the prints one at a time. Once all the framing was done it was time to hang them up.
She, of course, was rather opinionated as to where everything should be hung so I just kind of went with it. I wasn’t so sure about her choices at first, but I figured I could always move them later if I didn’t like the placement, but after we got the first few hung, my confidence grew. She actually did pretty well! I may swap two of them out just because I’m thinking I’d rather have them in my bedroom than the living room though. That and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about having tasteful silhouettes of nude women (they’re artistic, not explicit) in the living room.
Then again, it’s just the human body and I don’t really want her to grow up feeling like her body is something shameful or that she need be embarrassed about it. Before anyone gets all offended and pissed off at me, I selected those with the intentions of putting them in either my bedroom or my office. The fact that she went right for those two first got me thinking about it a little bit though. Would it be irresponsible of me or bad parenting to leave them in one of the common areas? They aren’t women posed in sexual positions or anything and you can’t really see anything other than the general shapes.
After she fell asleep I pulled up a few more photos I may have printed but I tried to select them a bit more intentionally. I chose images that show some of my favorite parts of the body, the curve of the hip, the area where the stomach dips down slightly right below the ribs, the strength in shoulders combined with the delicate collarbone, and hands. I also made a point of not just selecting the typical American model proportions and specifically tried to find the more realistic, normal healthy sized women that the industry classifies as “plus sized” for some unknown reason. No, I didn’t select any featuring obese women, but I also kept away from those in which the women looked unhealthily thin.
I certainly don’t plan to fill my home with photos of various women I’ve never met, I also selected forest scenes, bonsai trees, buddha statues, and lotus flowers among others. As far as people go, the most common body part of focus is hands, particularly images of couples holding hands.
I feel like I may have mis-represented the proportions regarding my selections when it comes to photos of women, there are currently only the two of them. The ones I selected after she fell asleep are just on a jump drive awaiting a decision. Those two photos are, however, the only ones that give me any cause for further contemplation.
There is nothing questionable about a flower, or a buddha statue, or trees, or any of the others, so they pretty much got hung up and forgotten about. In some ways, it bothers me a bit that I even have to think about this so much and it can’t just be another image on the wall, but I’m also glad that I care enough to think about the potential impact of the images she will be exposed to and the attitude about them she will see from me.
Maybe I’m worrying entirely too much about it, I do have a tendency to overthink things after all. Of the 40 or so black and white photos I have around the house, I’m dedicating an entire evening of thought to just two. I could likely spend several more evenings continuing to think about it but, without any additional perspectives, I suspect I would just continue to think and write myself in circles. So, if you have an opinion on the subject, I would certainly appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter, especially if you happen to be female.
It’s not just because I’m a man trying to raise a young woman, I would like to think that I’d have the same quandary if I had a son, but I don’t really have any way of knowing that for sure. It’s primarily that I’m currently working with only the opinion of a male and I’d like to have a bit of balance. I’ll gladly welcome male opinions as well, but I’m particularly interested in what some of my female friends and readers have to say on the subject. Anyway, thanks for reading and thank you in advance to all that choose to offer me their own thoughts on the matter.