Family Matters: My Cousin Posted A Picture Of My 5-Year-Old In The Tub And Doesn’t Understand Why It’s Inappropriate
Do you remember when you were a kid, and all the young’ns used to bathe together?
It was supposed to be a time of bathing and playing (and a way to keep folks from wasting water on separate turns in the tub), and for some parents, it was a cute way to gather memories. So they snapped a picture of you with your siblings or your cousins and placed it in a photo album. You know, the types of albums parents keep around to blackmail and embarrass you in the future. But at the end of the day, it was all in good, clean fun, and no one saw the image except for your immediate family (and maybe your future significant other).
But in a time where people now share pictures via social media, are those harmless, “in good, clean fun” family bath photos actually a bad idea? And not just bad, but inappropriate?
That’s what a fellow gym rat and friend of mine thinks. Denise*, who is also a fan of Teen Mom 2, was recapping a recent episode of the show with me. One of the dads, who used to be a hardcore deadbeat, is finally trying to do better by his daughter–to the chagrin of the mother. And while she tries to give the guy visitation, she prefers if it’s supervised by his parents, because she just doesn’t trust him to make good decisions with their daughter on his own.
Anywho, in the recent episode, while visiting with his daughter and a younger daughter from a previous relationship, the guy gave both girls a bath. He sat them in the tub, and during their bath, he took a picture of them–and then he shared it with his thousands of followers on Instagram. The child’s mother came across the image and was livid. Denise was too, because she could relate.
“You know my cousin did some sh-t like that to my daughter,” she said. “I’m still not speaking to him over it.”
As she would relay, Denise dropped her daughter off to spend the day with her cousin’s kids (two girls, 3 and 6). They want to the park, ran around and got a little messy, so her cousin gave them a bath. During the girls’ time frolicking in the tub, her cousin took a picture of them cheesing it up (and without clothing) and posted it on Instagram, thinking it was all cute and innocent. And while it may have been, Denise came across the picture on her IG and was mortified.
“It’s just really inappropriate, man. I know he probably didn’t think anything of it, but they’re little girls. And these days you can’t just put little naked girls on social media. They’re not little, little babies anymore.”
Denise told her cousin to take down the picture. They had a disagreement about it, but he eventually ceded and removed the image. Still, she says that he maintains that he didn’t do anything wrong. In his mind, telling him to take down the picture is yet another way people are perverting the purest of acts, and that there’s a difference between protecting a child, and oversexualizing them. But Denise says he can do whatever he likes when it comes to posting pictures of his own daughters. But her child, her rules.
It is sad that so many things are now looked at through a distorted lens. A grandfather tried to post a picture of himself taking a bath with his grandchild last year (he had on bottoms), and people attacked him for it, calling him a pedophile. And the minute people post these type of pictures, some comments immediately say, “You should take this down.” Yes, the collective bathtime picture we’ve all taken before our bodies were developed is now frowned upon. But honestly, even back in the day, it wasn’t something people were sharing with their neighbors, co-workers, and complete strangers just for the hell of it. They just printed it out and kept it for family. So it should be no surprise that sharing such an image with the world via social media, just because that’s what we’re all used to doing now, is deemed improper. How well do you really know all the people who follow you after all?
I would agree that a bath — a supervised one — between siblings and young relatives is harmless, but in the world we live in now, capturing it and sharing it with the masses just isn’t.