Taking photos of children you don’t know for money is f**king gross and it needs to stop
Jayde Atchison // Staff Writer
Sarah Haglund // Illustrator
I am wrapped up in my coziest jacket holding a large double double, watching my little sister play her first game of soccer. She is five years old. It is a balmy April Sunday morning and I am laughing along with the other adults on the sidelines over how unorganized and adorable the players look. The last thing I would want to see while watching the game that would lead to her inevitable athletic career is a strange man with a heavy duty camera taking photos of children he has no association with.
This exact situation happened to Hilary Duff in February, while watching her seven-year-old son’s football game. The Lizzie McGuire icon filmed an interaction with a paparazzi photographer asking him who he was with and requested that he stop and leave as she was uncomfortable. The man insisted that his actions were “legal” instead of apologizing for attempting to make money from the pictures of Duff’s child.
When we go to the grocery store each week we are bombarded by tabloids filled with photos of celebrities trying to live their everyday life. We see bad angles, sweats and the mundane. People get paid for taking photos of our favourite stars in vulnerable moments. We are conditioned to see this tacky and obnoxious behaviour as normal. The magazine publishers and photographers seemingly do not often take into account the privacy of anyone in the public eye.
I certainly do not want my photo taken while I am taking a trip to Shoppers Drug Mart for tampons and Gatorade. I especially wouldn’t want my sweatpants-clad trek posted online for the masses. I can only imagine the unease of having every moment captured by strangers hoping to make a few dollars. Being unable to leave your own house without the worry of someone getting too close or photographing your insecurities seems like the eighth level of hell.
Regardless of how we feel about adult celebrities being followed and photographed, I think we should all stand together against the manipulation of children. There is no way these minors can consent to being filmed, photographed and spoken to by strange people. In most cases, a consent form needs to be signed by a parent or guardian in order for photographs of children to be published. This practice is not implemented for Hollywood’s stars and their children, and people are paying their bills with tainted money.
We have seen severe outcomes that came from children being in the limelight, and led to mental breakdowns, drug abuse and inappropriate social behaviour. This is not to say that all children are going to spiral down a toxic path from getting public attention from a young age, but the pressure to be “on” all the time must be crushing.
Celebrities, like any parents, should have control over when their children are photographed for the purpose of being posted. The whole paparazzi industry needs to be reevaluated and perhaps society needs to let tabloids and companies like TMZ should evaporate into oblivion. This is probably a pipe dream, but the children of famous people deserve a world where they can play football without their fumbles or touchdowns being subjected to criticism. Ultimately, it is creepy and obscene to take photos of children without express permission from a guardian; especially when it is for monetary gain. People need to stop creating photo, film or written stories about minors and consumers need to stop supporting the magazines, accounts, tabloids and television programs that publish them.