freedom, embarrassment and gambolling babies

Facebook recently took down a photo of a five-year-old and her younger sister play-acting at nursing. Their mother was banned from facebook for a week. There is no law against embarrassing mums and nor should there be. Mums can now embarrass their kids on the world stage, kids can embarrass themselves on the world stage and kids can embarrass their mums on the world stage. It’s a fact that’s not going away and it’s not up to facebook to police embarrassment.

Was the photo inappropriate? It’s possible it might be enjoyed by a paedophile. And then what would happen? What?? This got me to thinking about the relative scarcity of naked babies on our beaches these days.

If I take my baby to the beach and he plays nude on the sand, a creep might see him. Might even take a photo and post it for other creeps. What does this mean for my baby? Has he lost his innocence? Is he in danger? Sadly, babies are in far worse danger from abuse in their own homes. In response to the media coverage of paedophilia children’s nude bodies are being perceived as sexual. But they are still children. I say put some sunscreen on them and let them gambol like the little lambikins they are.

How about for grown ups who really are posting suggestive images of themselves? This is becoming more of an issue online as people use their profile images to express their sexuality. If I wear a tight dress and a man looks at my body on the street am I sullied on some level by his private thoughts? I say no. Others might say yes. What if he has a hardcore ankle fetish? Should I cover my ankles? Should I wear a sack in case someone a bit icky finds me attractive or photographs me or misuses my image? Should I never dress to impress the person I love in case someone else is caught in the crossfire? Perhaps I should never express any sexual exuberance or energy at all?

Adults need to decide what images of themselves they are comfortable with sharing and what images are going to cost them their jobs. We need to police ourselves for the embarrassment factor, but let’s not crush our own adult exuberance and let’s enjoy the gorgeous innocence of our children. We’re only here for a short time, shall we be afraid, or celebrate?



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