The Measure of Indecency

This post was originally posted here.

Hello! Up here! My eyes. You’ve been so busy staring elsewhere that you probably haven’t even noticed I have eyes let alone looked in them long enough to tell me what color they are. I admit, the color of my eyes can be hard to nail down, it really depends on what I’m wearing or the color of the frames on my glasses provided I’m wearing any. Glasses! I always wear socks with sneakers, I was talking about glasses. Ugh, why must you only see me for that? As though that’s all I’m good for. It’s not like they are new, they’ve been around as long as humans have and most everyone has them.

Excuse me, it bothers you when I walk? You do realize that the primary function of my ankles is to help me walk on my feet, don’t you? I see, seeing them used in a different way is gross. Uh-huh. Would you rather I just sit around with my feet up, my ankles hidden discretely beneath my pants or skirt until they are to be viewed and touched for pleasure? Hmmmm, this could complicate things, like my life. And caring for my children. So it makes other people uncomfortable to see a woman’s ankles when she’s chasing her children around, keeping them safe, providing them with the best opportunities and using her ankles as, oh, I don’t know, how they are intended to be used? I should be worried about offending other people? Interesting. I’m really far more concerned about doing the best I can for my children. Research shows that mothers that are able to should let their children run and be active and for that to happen best a mother needs her ankles to chase after them. Saving them only for her partner’s pleasure would get in the way of her children’s health! Oh, I can use them, you just want me to cover them up. With a blanket. Or one of those fashionable things made just for that.

Wow. That really makes it difficult not to mention, uncomfortable and likely dangerous. What exactly would be adequate coverage? Adequate and safe? When I’m using them to care for my children, how much can you actually see anyway? I know socks that reveal more and ankles are plastered all over magazines, billboards, TV, and movies to sell everything from sports drinks to cars to furniture. Honestly. I’m not showing any more than what you’d see watching a sitcom. Probably less, actually. And if you think that’s shocking, what about flip-flops and open toe shoes that reveal ankles AND toe cleavage? Nobody is insisting those be covered up. But a mother running around caring for her children, now that is disgusting. Please tell me, what is the measure of indecency we hold as standard? But another man seeing my ankles while I run after kids could be a turn on? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. A woman doing the best she can caring for her children, using her body as it is intended is going to be an indecent turn on? Now who is disgusting? But there could be a slip and they might SEE something! Gasp! Oh dear, what will we do! Mothers around the world are seducing men left and right using their ankles as they take care of their children! What is the world coming to?!

Now you’re saying that it is ok to use them but not only do you not want to see them used “that way” but it should stop once the child is one? How exactly does that make sense? Excuse me, but my child still needs me and it is encouraged by the experts that mothers continue to chase after their children as long as it is mutually beneficial and both parties are comfortable with it. Seriously, I don’t see how there is a magic switch that is flipped when a child turns one that she would no longer need me to walk after her. She may not even be ready to walk herself yet at that point. No, there is nothing inappropriate about me continuing to care for my child that way and I’m offended that you would say there is. It doesn’t excite me sexually, I’m not that one-dimensional, thanks. I may run around and use my ankles in a fashion only appropriate with my husband in our private times alone but trust me, I couldn’t even begin to compare caring for my children to making love with my husband. Kind of gross that you’d make such a comparison, what’s wrong with you sexualizing a child in that way? I am not abusing my child by continuing to trot after them. My ankles have more than one purpose and I can differentiate between their functions, it isn’t that difficult actually and I already do it with other areas of my body so why should this be any different?

Honestly, I am sorry it makes you uncomfortable but I really can’t help but wonder if that reflects more on your issues than my ankles and my mothering. Your issues don’t have much weight in my caring for my children, sorry. If other women feel uncomfortable with their ankles so exposed while they care for their children, fine. It doesn’t bother me and if they can figure out how to gallop around after kids while hiding under a blanket then more power to them. In fact, I’m impressed, I just can’t get it to work. So I’m going to continue doing what is best for my children and while I’m not going to parade around with my ankles just hanging out there all the time for the world to see, I’m not going to hide me or my children just to make you feel better. There is nothing wrong with what I’m doing, I’m not ashamed of my ankles or using them to race around after my children. Not every woman can, I’m blessed to be able to. And no, I’m not going to cover to protect your sensibilities. Maybe your sensibilities aren’t that sensible. It is, after all, only natural for a mother to hasten to protect and give her children her best. This is my best. If you don’t like it then put a blanket over your head!

Once upon a time in a bygone era, ankles were considered a sexually indecent part of the body for a woman to show, a flamboyant display of indecency if they were revealed. Other era’s featured fashion that regularly revealed the breast mostly bare including the nipples showing while covering most every other part of the body with clothing. What some consider indecent now was at one time the height of fashion and accepted by the majority of society. Likewise, what has been considered inappropriate and immodest exposure in the past are now considered commonplace even in most of the extremely conservative circles. This post was inspired by some online conversations I’ve had. It is intended as satire regarding breastfeeding in public and “extended breastfeeding.” Not that I need to explain but for the record my husband completely supports me breastfeeding our children. Also, no ankle or foot fetish here. But aren’t these shoes amazing? I love them. Well, love to look at them. Wearing them, not so much.


  1. Betty says

    Nice shoes!
    Thank you for your comments on my SITS DAY!

  2. This is a brilliant analogy! Thank you for this.

  3. MonkeyMama says

    love this analogy!

  4. Love it!
    and yes those are some pretty awesome shoes. Not that I was looking at your ankles or anything… ; )

  5. Love it, and this gives me new things to tell people, I haave totally forgotten ankles were forbidden sexy body parts till now…but its true..even in the dark ages showing Bust was normal but ankles and even toes showing was heathen. Funny how things change…but thank you for this!

  6. I followed this link off Twitter and am a new visitor to your blog. First off, TLB: Wow! What a fantastic name! Love it!!
    I loved your satirical post about breast feeding (I tried not to stare at the cool pumps…) It is so interesting to me as a mother how charged the topic of breast feeding is – I moved from Calif. to the E. Coast and was so used to everything being open and welcoming to nursing moms – what a shock I got when, in a restaurant, a waiter rushed over to me to say “We appreciate your discretion greatly” – this happened twice! It wasn’t like my boob was hanging out or anything, I was practically hibernating in a tent-sized frigging blanket! So I got scared – society wasn’t supportive of nursing as I was used to – and then mostly went underground, breastfeeding in my car or at home.
    And you know what? THAT SUCKS!!!
    Your post really got me going! Thanks – bye for now

  7. Yes! Yes yes yes!

    It’s hilarious and ridiculous once you put some perspective on breastfeeding vs just about anything else. We’re the only mammal on earth that makes such a fuss about nursing, complicating it and creating problems rather than just relaxing and doing what nature intended.


  8. Totally and entirely awesome. I don’t think I could have handled my first two years with my daughter with my ‘ankles’ covered. I was ‘discrete’ with the girls when out in public but damned if someone tried to tell me to cover up or tell me what I was doing was inappropriate. And now that my wee girl is four…I can run across a playground in 4 inch pink heels faster than any of the other moms I know. btw…LOVE your shoes!!!!!


  1. […] about breastfeeding in public and for days it bothered me.  Eventually I sat down and wrote this post as a satirical response.  I posted it on my now terribly neglected personal blog and got an interesting and enthusiastic […]