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?
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!
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.