When Olivia Wilde shared a photo that showed her toddler son’s naked bum, she faced criticism and prompted a discussion about the kinds of photos parents post on social media.
On Monday, Wilde posted an Instagram photo of 19-month-old Otis from behind. She captioned the picture “Naked Cowboy.” The post received tens of thousands of likes and positive comments calling the photo “adorable” and “too cute for words.”
Some users, however, criticized the actress’ decision to share this particular image. “More people will ‘like’ that than you wish,” wrote one commenter. “Your naked child is nothing you upload in the world wide web where it stays forever…”
In response to the criticism, many users rushed to Wilde’s defense, shaming the naysayers for “sexualizing a baby.”
“If anyone can look at this picture and see anything other [than] the innocence of a naked baby, you are what is wrong with the world!” reads one comment.
“Please don’t listen to these ridiculous attacks. People should not be shaming you for this pic… they should be ashamed for thinking this pic is in any way sexual. Wtf is wrong with people,” wrote another commenter.
Wilde eventually edited the caption to add “(Apparently unsuitable for those unaware that humans have butts).” Chiming into the discussion, one of the initial critics maintained their viewpoint — “It’s a cute pic of her son, but maybe keep it for the private photo album… (It’s a decision every parent has to make though.) Have you women ever heard of the dangers of the internet?”
In an article on SheKnows, mom Theresa Edwards weighed in on the debate. Noting that it’s possible a stranger on the Internet might find a photo of your nude or bathing suit-clad child online, she wrote:
“[Y]ou know what? That is disturbing. But if you really want to never sleep at night, consider this: Every time you, your kids or even your dog go out in public, your right to privacy is compromised. Someone, somewhere, could be lurking near the bath linens aisle at Target, the children’s section at the library or the gate at the dog park, just waiting for their “type” to walk by so they have something to fantasize about later. It’s best not to even think about your local public pool, where it’s almost universally legal for any weird rando to take pictures of your bikini-clad toddler splashing around in the pee-warmed shallow end.
“Yet despite knowing this, we all manage to carry on with our lives as usual, because the social code demands that we not acknowledge the fact that you can’t legally demand someone to never picture you naked.
“And yet, when it comes to the Internet, all similar logic flies out the window. Sure, more people have access to your images, but the normal person-to-pervert ratio remains about the same. It’s ridiculous that the first place people go when they see a cute picture of a baby is “that’s sick” instead of “that’s cute.”
While the overall discussion does not appear to have resulted in a clear conclusion, this much remains true: Whatever their opinion on the matter may be, a parent’s decision to share these sorts of baby photos is ultimately just that – the parent’s decision.
What do you think, guys? 🙂 Sound off in the comments section.