Photographer Heather Bays thought her Instagram account had been suspended over a photo of her breastfeeding her 20-month-old daughter. Hey, it's happened before, right? But when she contacted the picture sharing site, the reason she was given was even more absurd.
It wasn't mom's chest that had folks upset. It was her toddler daughter's. Yes, "topless" photos of a 20-month-old have now been deemed too risque for the Internet.
According to Bays, it started with a negative comment on a photo of her breastfeeding, then came the account suspension. She tried contacting the company several times, and when she finally got through, she says she was told "that any photo that has a child even showing their torso is called child pornography."
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By that logic, wouldn't 99 percent of parents therefore be in possession of child porn? After all, how many photos do you have of your young children wearing nothing but a diaper? Or even less if they're in the bathtub?
Granted, we don't all share these photos with the world via social media, but plenty of folks do! Moms. Dads. Celebrities. Heck, even child models are seen "topless" in advertisements on nearly a daily basis.
Should we kick the commercials off TV now? Ban shirtless babies from plugging diapers? Tell moms their shirtless toddlers playing in the sprinkler are lewd and lascivious?
You don't REALLY need the answer to those questions, do you?
Child nudity and child pornography are two very different animals. In fact, according to the US Justice Department, child pornography is "any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age)."
Children who aren't wearing clothes are not inherently sexual. They just are. Children who are posed in a sexually explicit or sexually suggestive manner, on the other hand, well ... that's child porn. And that's wrong, and it must be stopped.
But anyone with a lick of common sense can see the difference.
So next time you're freaked out by a shirtless toddler, ask yourself ... who is the one with a problem?
When are kids too old to go shirtless? When are they too old for you to share their photos with others?
Image via Phalinn Ooi/Flickr