Friday, November 11, 2011

“Mothers, Daughters, and Sexualities” Brown Bag Reflection

Author of Your Daughter's Room: Insights for Raising Confident Women, Joyce McFadden stopped by for a brown bag this week along with her fifteen year old daughter, Olivia, in order to discuss expanding honesty within mother/daughter relationships.

To start, McFadden talked about her study, which was conducted online. She read from a survey that was submitted by a Colgate graduate that dealt with feelings and practices surrounding masturbation. While the surveyer was very positive about masturbation, they admitted feeling a sudden guilt for it but could not explain the origin of that response. McFadden found that many woman-identified individuals were uncomfortable with their sexuality and that these women had not received positive attitudes surrounding sexuality from their parents.

From here, there were many different facets to discuss - from the disappearance of fathers in their daughters lives once they hit puberty to how mothers pass down their shame about their own sexuality to their daughters when they refuse to discuss it openly. The audience engaged in dialogue about how their own parents had or had not addressed sexuality in their lives, and how this affected their relationships today. 

Olivia, although a bit shy or distracted when addressed with a question, was very honest about the relationship between her and her mother, saying that talk about sexuality or the body was simply a normal part of the household. She said something along the lines of not knowing any other way to be raised so it was difficult to say whether discussion about sex had made their relationship closer. But, given the examples that McFadden uses in her book, there seems to be a knowledge that any question asked (and in whatever context) will be answered honestly.

It is this kind of freedom that McFadden advocates in her book and believes can be enacted in any child/parent relationship.

By Che J. Hatter

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