Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ugh. (Warning: Rant Ahead)

I know, this is a Knit Blog, not an Issues Blog. But I'm fired up, and it's knitting-related, in a round-about way...

Perusing the Ravelry discussion boards, I stumbled onto the discussion of the latest Magknits and a little controversy that bubbled up over a photo of a pretty little girl in a cute little sweater that her mother designed; apparently, some overly astute individual complained that the photo was disgustingly suggestive.

The exchange and results (the photo removed from the issue) just make me a little ill. Honestly, are we going to get to a point where we can't even photograph our own children in their own clothes anymore? This little girl gets to wear a sweater her mom designed for her, and her mom even lets her pick out her own outfit to wear for the photo shoot, and then she gets to see herself on the cover of a 'net knit mag, and then someone craps all over the sweet girl's parade by trotting out the child pornography accusations? Not to downplay the severity or gravity of those issues, but are we supposed to force our children into burkhas? By the time I have a child, will I be expected to wrap her in papier mache? They're KIDS. Are there armies of Concerned Citizens also diligently patroling American coastlines, chastising parents for daring to allow their children to frolic in the ocean wearing little more than a BATHING SUIT?! The horror!

I know, I should never begrudge anyone their opinion or fault someone for erring on the side of caution, and I know that person was just expressing his or her views, which is within their rights - it's a to-each-his-own world, but I feel like this is just such overkill. I mean, to go to an editor and accuse a parent of exploiting her own child for the purposes of ...

Wait, let me address that for a second. This individual accused a MOTHER of exploting her OWN CHILD for the purpose of providing a CHILD'S KNIT SWEATER PATTERN to a bunch of KNITTERS. For FREE. Man, nothing better than child exploitation to sell - er, rather, give away - a knit pattern to the sorts of people who would be likely to knit a sweater for a young girl. Because, "Hey little girl, want a handknit sweater?" is the new "There's candy in the back of my van."

I am in no way making light of the seriousness of an actual offense of this nature. But am I crazy to be really upset about this particular event? When does this stop??? I guess there's no chance I'll ever share pictures of my children on the Internet - both for their protection, and for my own. Sad.

Oh, and thank God the photo that was used in its stead on the cover isn't suggestive at all. I'm sorry - I had to chuckle.

Edit 8/9/2007: Let me clarify something, because I think the responses are valid and I don't want anyone to think I advocate igorning your gut response to something or that I'm not interested in protecting our children.

I can understand this person's concerns; I think it was a lousy approach, though. (If you didn't read the letter in Amanda's post, it's tough to know what I'm getting at.) I know it may well have been coming from a place of deep hurt or personal scarring, or this is just a protective and aware parent, and I wouldn't slam anyone for just being concerned - but it was the incendiary, accusatory tone and the shame-on-you approach the letter took that really bothered me. I totally get wanting to protect a child and her parent from the sorts of weirdos that might find a picture like this and enjoy it...but I think a letter worded more like "Dear Editor; I'm certain it was unintentional, and having viewed other photos of the child, I know she's not purposefully being photographed in this manner, and I realize the photographer meant no harm, but I think it would be wise to remove or replace this image with something less suggestive, however inadvertent," that sort of thing. But instead the letter basically accused the child's mother of low-level pornography to further her own interests, and accused the editor, a mother of three herself, of playing it up. I thought it was very disrespectful and incredibly insulting to immediately start pointing fingers and accusing everyone of exploiting this child.

Mine was more a problem with the approach. I don't think immediately of what a filthy-minded person might do with this photo - especially as I'm not yet a parent - and I'm glad someone out there does. But if they do, I wish they'd take a more delicate approach to it, rather than accusing parents and editors and everyone else within earshot of being horrible and disgusting.