Back in April Channel 4 released a short TV series called "Naked Education". Today I was able to finally watch the last episode, and I still stand by with my review I posted on IMDB back then after first 2 episodes: we NEED such shows.
Back in April the show received a lot of backlash (1297 complaints in a couple of days according to Independent). Why? Because of nudity shown to teens. Because, apparently, this depraves children. Silly and completely ungrounded pedophilia accusations aside... Say what? In the wake of radical body positivity, that forgets completely about health, we are suddenly afraid to show natural bodies? What's this ridiculousness?
The show has very important points, that it tries to deliver across: human bodies are different, every body is unique, everybody struggles with self-image and modern (often unrealistic) standards only add to those struggles. We see perfect bodies achieved by excessive dieting or activities, by plastic surgery or CGI showing themselves off in all the social media, movies, TV shows, comics, ads, you name it. Everything is screaming at us "this is how you need to look like". Which is wrong. And sometimes we hear similar things from doctors, too, which is even worse.
Of course, they are certain standards of how a healthy body should look like, but those standards have ranges of values, and not just one, and they accept deviations, whether because of lifestyle or genes or whatever conditions or disabilities, that may affect you. Body-positivity movement started exactly from attempting to normalize the idea of these ranges, that there is no one-size-fits-all, and this show is about that. This is what good body-positivity is. This show is about accepting your own situation and striving for a balance between your both your bodily and mental health.
Yes, teens here saw some penises and vaginas. But they saw them on real life humans and definitely not in a sexual context. In fact, I think it was the very 1st episode where they were asked if they have seen porn and everyone said "yes", and shared some of their expectations. And those expectations were not met: teens were often surprised how different bodies (or their parts) looked like. Yes, maybe some reactions were staged, but probably more in the sense of filtering out some reactions for the camera, rather than removing candidness entirely.
Remember biology lessons? The ones about anatomy? This was like those, but instead of poorly drawn idealistic picture you could see something real and diverse. If anything this would help curb the oversexualization of bodies, which is a good thing. Kids who grew up in cultures with public (possibly even mixed) saunas generally have lower expectations both from themselves and others. They won't be taken a back by pubic or armpit hair on a woman. They may still have a preference for lack of that hair, but they will be completely fine if it is there.
Aside from this "contentious" segment of the show, it showed people's journey of accepting themselves and their body. It talked about body dysmorphia, it talked about transitioning, it talked about aging, it talked about disabilities, it talked about various conditions, that can affect how we look or how we feel about ourselves. It showed people who got passed their fears and insecurities or who were only starting their journey of acceptance and wanted advise. There were some quite powerful moments in the show, that were muddled only by the constant up-beat music and lighting. Or by the show jumping from topic to topic.
I do not think there should necessarily be a second season, but if I had kids, and their school would be considering showing these 6 episodes as part of biology classes, I would be approve that and be really happy for them. Because I did not get such a chance as a kid, and I had issues with self-image and still have them, even though I am in a much better place right now. This show is what we "tell" kids in cartoon and sometimes movies, but put into a more grounded and realistic wrapper.