There is currently a media frenzy going on surrounding Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson after he posted a photo of his 3-year-old jumping into the pool without any clothes on. He posted the photo on Instagram to share his pride and joy of his daughter taking her first swimming lessons. In the photo, there weren’t any particular parts of her body that were displayed and the photo itself was not overtly revealing. This didn’t matter, however, because the internet went wild over the fact that she wasn’t wearing a swimsuit in the photo. Needless to say, Johnson soon took the photo down.
Why are adults so angry when they see a photo taken and shared by a parent of their toddler or baby without clothing—especially if private parts aren’t revealed in the picture? It is clear that the child’s body is underdeveloped and can’t possibly lead anyone to believe that there is something sexual about the image itself. Is it that we as adults have our own personal issues about our bodies that we extend onto other parents when we see that they don’t share these hang-ups?
The International OCD Foundation reported that 1 in 50 people suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), which is characterized by a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in their appearance—which is unnoticeable to others. Basically, we humans grow up to ultimately hate something about our own bodies. According to the International OCD Foundation, some of us are ashamed of our bodies and, as a result, we tend to be ashamed of the bodies of others. This is unfortunate when we place this disorder onto children because we are teaching them how to feel the same anxiety and shame about themselves that we feel.
Johnson was truly embarrassed about the reaction that he received from over 3 million people! He truly believed that his photo was a prideful moment for he and his family, yet the lack of security others felt about themselves somehow changed all of that. There is no doubt that he posted the photo thinking that others would find the photo just as adorable as he did, especially since the photo only revealed the child’s side profile. Too bad that the photo only revealed exactly how many fans he had that suffered from BDD.
There is a thin line on morality and decency, and sometimes the lines get a bit blurry when everyone attempts to state their position as the right one. We all believe that what we feel to be decent is correct, yet we fail to understand that the definition of decency changes depending on who is doing the defining. This is the main reason why we as a society can’t come together and communicate honestly without fearing backlash.
We expect everyone to be politically correct, even if it means lying. It seems as if we only want to ensure that our satisfaction of defining roles are met to our standards, rather than just accepting the fact that everyone has a standard that rings true for them, and them alone. True, we all have to have a basic underlying agreement on what’s acceptable behavior because it is the key to our remaining consistent as one community. However, this does not mean that we should ignore the individual innocence that is shared by a parent who is merely proud of their small child’s achievement.