Some parents can’t handle animated penises and vulvas

Body parts are body parts, right? Maybe not. A Swedish television program aimed at kids is catching some heat because one video aimed at 3- to 6-year-olds features a dancing penis and vulva.
If you have small children, at some point they are going to poke around and be curious about their own genitalia. To a little one, a penis, scrotum or vulva is nothing more than another body part, much like ears or toes. The Swedish program, called Bacillakuten, aims to help young kids learn about these body parts (and others!) with adorable animations and a peppy tune.

However, the cutesy penises and vulvas are too much for many parents in Sweden, and as the video (which currently has over 3 million YouTube views) has gone viral, parents around the world are weighing in, saying it’s way too over the top for their kids to watch.

However, I don’t see what the huge deal is. Mariana, whose husband is Swedish, agrees and says that while it was controversial in Sweden, she’d definitely let their kids watch it. “The cartoon was cute and very nonsexualized,” she says. “We both agree that it’s good for children to be able to talk about and view their genitals in a matter-of-fact way. How else are they supposed to be comfortable with their bodies?”

There is no way a little kid is going to look at this video and think it’s any stranger than a video about feet, unless his parent is standing there looking uncomfortable or saying negative things about it. Mariana also tells me that the words used in the song for “penis” and “vulva” were specifically created by Swedish scholars. “The words were introduced into the language with the sole purpose of having words for penis and vulva/vagina that are in no way sexually charged,” she shares.

A healthy body image starts in the home, and if a child can view and discuss her own genitalia with ease and comfort, then she’s off to a great start. There is nothing dirty or inappropriate about this little clip. I think boycotting the channel, like some Swedish moms and dads have announced they’re planning to do, is an overreaction. Kids learn so many things from their parents — shame and embarrassment over body parts and bodily functions is one of them. This show is harmless.

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