Kim Kardashian’s daughter North West is just like any other two year old – so why are grown men allowed to take photos of her?

This week I watched a video that disturbed me. That wasn’t the intent of the video, it was actually meant to be cute and funny, but instead it left me feeling concerned and compelled to write about it.

It was a video of a little two-year-old girl in her tutu on her way to ballet class. This little girl was surrounded by about twenty grown men calling out to her, taking her photo and filming her when she clearly didn’t want to be filmed. She can be heard saying, “I said no photos” and putting her hands up.

As the mother of a two year girl this video makes my skin crawl as I’m sure it would most other parents. How is taking a photo or video of somebody’s child without their permission ok? Even more so when the child clearly doesn’t want their photo taken.

Now, if I told you that little girl was North West, daughter of the world’s most famous celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and the grown men with cameras were paparazzi would that change anything? Should it? Just because North’s parents choose to be famous, does that mean that she should be hounded and harassed by grown men? I wouldn’t think so. There is no registration to be a paparazzo so how does know the names of these men following a two year old? We know the great lengths they will go to take the photos – but who are they selling them to?

Imagine your child dealing with this every day
Imagine your child dealing with this every day

In 2013 Senate Bill 606 was passed in California, which made it illegal for any person to intentionally harass a child due to their parent’s occupation. The Bill was supported by high profile celebrities Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry, who have reported times where paparazzi, aka adult men, have sat outside their children’s school waiting for the child to come out. Whist the Bill seems like a step in the right direction, especially in a state where a high majority of celebrities reside, you have to wonder what effort would be required to actually prosecute under this law.

We’ve seen similar issues here in Australia recently, with Lara Bingle and husband Sam Worthington calling the police on paparazzi that were taking photos of their infant son. I can assure you that if a man were taking photos of my two-year-old daughter, having the police called would be the least of his problems!

Kim Kardashian with daughter North West. Pic Credit: Instagram
Kim Kardashian with daughter North West. Pic Credit: Instagram

The main argument from the paparazzi about taking photos of the children of celebrities is that ‘the public wants to see them’ which may be right, but shouldn’t we leave the decision of what photos are shared up to the parents? Kim Kardashian and her family share plenty about their lives, including photos of their children, and this should be enough to satisfy public curiosity. I for one do not want to see the video of a little girl being harassed by grown men on her way to a ballet class.

Next time you go to buy a magazine with photos of a celebrity’s child inside, consider how you would feel if that were your child. Perhaps if we stop feeding the beast, it might just stop snapping.

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Simone

Most of us look back fondly on our childhood and I have wonderful memories of growing up in Grace Street with an amazing group of friends. Over the years I lost contact with a lot of these friends, but it doesn’t change the memories that I have of them, and I kind of like that they’re frozen in time.

I received the tragic news last week that one of my childhood friends, Simone, disappeared and human remains believed to be hers have recently been located. This is hard to fathom when my memories of her are as a pre-teen playing with her dogs and eating condensed milk (we used to eat it out of the tin back in the day). Unfortunately life can take some truly awful turns and my heart goes out to Simone’s family and her two young sons.

I understand that the final years of Simone’s life may not have been her best, but that is not how I remember my childhood friend and I am fortunate to have treasured memories of the fun times that we had. Simone has two sons and I think it’s important that they know about their mum when she was a child, and a friend to many. We are often told that it is not the dates on a headstone that matter, but the ‘dash’ in between, and that is certainly true. We should not only think of how a person was in adulthood, but also how they were as a child and a friend. These are my memories of Simone.

Simone’s family had a flock of pigeons, which would fly in formation over our street each afternoon. We found it incredible that they didn’t try to fly away and every time I see a pigeon now I am reminded of these ones.

There is no doubt that, being the only daughter, Simone was gifted with everything she could possibly want and she generously shared this with my sisters and I. Simone would go to the Royal Melbourne Show each year and bring home just about every show bag they had, and would invite us over to share the Bertie Beetles with her.

She was an avid dancer, and her costumes were incredible. I would attend some of the concerts with her and we would spend most of our time running around the hall before she had to get her hair and make up done. She leaped into any task with a huge smile on her face – she thoroughly enjoyed life.

There was the time her parents hired a spa, I can’t remember what party this was for or if it was simply because they felt like it, but we had so much fun in that spa! Even when our skin was wrinkly and we were freezing cold we didn’t want to get out.

Simone had a kind nature and absolutely loved animals. Her small dogs had pups and she hated the thought of giving them away, they became her babies. We would play for hours with those pups that would share a bed with Simone. When a dear school friend of mine passed away at age 12, Simone was there for me. I can recall one time when a song came on the radio that was played at my friend’s funeral and Simone was quick to change the station as she knew it would upset me.

We spent most of our time outdoors (until Simone got a Sega and we obsessed over Sonic the Hedgehog), riding our bikes at ‘the jump’ – the block of land down the street that we turned into a bmx track – or at the park swinging as high as we possibly could on the swings.

I imagine that those who knew Simone as an adult would probably say that her caring and fun loving nature carried into adulthood. This is how I will remember Simone.

Simone’s family have organized a fundraiser for her young boys to access when they are 21. You can donate to the cause here.