Monday, September 17, 2007

Ninth Circle Morality Quiz

What would your reaction be if, while browsing through random public photos on Flickr, you came across a closeup of a baby's genitals that someone had posted along with numerous other fully-clothed photos of the child?

Is this appropriate? Inappropriate? Illegal? Freak-out worthy? Reportable? Artistic?

Tell me your thoughts, and then I'll explain.

UPDATE, 9/25/07:
Well, clearly and unfortunately, this wasn't a made-up scenario. I posted about it because, based on my fucked up background, I have a tendency to be overly sensitive about such things, and I wanted to gauge whether I was doing so in this case. Thing is, though, that this was unquestionably a close-up shot of a baby's undiapered lower half, and it was at very least inappropriate. I don't want to think too much about what it was at worst. I was also struck by the fact that the child in question was Asian and all the adults in the photos were Caucasian; it appears as if someone adopted this kid and is now posting exploitative photos of him. That's just fucking great.

Problem is, now flickr won't respond to my inquiries to let me know that they've followed up on it. I'm pissed enough about that to consider dumping my flickr account. If anyone has suggestions on how to contact the flickr folks more directly than via their totally unhelpful help system, let me know. I tried calling Yahoo's customer care, but it's an endless network of pointless pre-recorded bullshit. Not surprising, but irritating nonetheless.

If, by chance, anyone from flickr or Yahoo happens along me, you assholes.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never liked the idea of having a baby and their bottoms photographed or any other nude parts shot of them.


10:18 AM  
Blogger Big Dan said...

I think it makes me want to shoot someone in the face.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Big Dan said...


11:06 AM  
Anonymous tater said...

An interesting subject... If the poster were Sally Mann, it would be an art piece. If it were posted by Uncle Fester who likes to give horsey rides on his lap, then it is child porn. The line is too hard to draw between the two, unless there is context to help sort out the motives for posting it. My gut reaction is that it is inappropriate to post such images on the web with few if any exceptions. A close-up of baby genitalia is very wrong. If it were a shot of a naked baby, posted for friends and family (and password protected) I have no problems with it. Close ups though? WRONG. Publicly posted close-ups? Possible jail time, and definitely wrong. Was your question about a sense of obligation to confront the person or notify authorities? Is this poster known to you, or a stranger? More information please!

11:37 AM  
Anonymous js said...

Another Question: We took photos of our kids first poops. Would it be wrong to post them on flicker?

1:13 PM  
Blogger RG said...

Just reading the short post my first reaction is: Ewwwww.

2:54 PM  
Blogger David said...

Depends on who posted them. If it's the baby's parents, then that's family business and I just shrug. If these were pictures that a friend took that the parents authorized and OKed for use on the web, again I might shurg. If they were unauthorized, then it's into bad person territory.

5:07 PM  
Blogger David said...

Oops. Didn't see the part about the close-up. I was assuming these were pictures of a baby that included the genitalia.

In that case, unless this is a medical website, it's a no-go.

5:08 PM  
Blogger GayProf said...

First, if it's just a picture of the genitalia, I think it is weird no matter what. I am pretty sure that the parents would not appreciate somebody posting pictures of their genitalia on-line, so why do they feel entitled to do so on their kid's behalf?

Posting naked pictures of your kids on the internet also seems like a remarkably bad idea for safety reasons.

I am eager to learn what prompted all of this, though.

5:46 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

OK, that's just not appropriate. I am an open minded girl, and not hung up about nudity, but I went round and round about under what conditions this could be considered healthy and ok.

If it were one of those nekkid baby pics on the bear skin rug that everyone's parents seem to have (and trot out on your first date) that's one thing. But close ups? Published on the Internets where nasty pervmeisters cruise? I just can't think of a situation -- except the medical site that someone mentioned -- where this would be appropriate.

11:41 PM  
Blogger said...


I don't know, I have a pic my mom took of me in the bath as a baby -- I don't like it -- but it was like an innocent thing.

I guess I'd have to see it.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Lachlan said...

It's not good- for two reasons.

1. The photographer is providing an image that would likely be classified as child porn by both the authorities and pedophiles.

2. The Internet is public, not private! The kid deserves better. Pure and simple.

3:25 PM  
Blogger rodger said...

First reaction? I'd freak out a little. After all's Flickr, not a medical website and you can easily allow only family or friends to see the pic.'s a close up and shouldn't be shared in a public forum even with family. Show them at home or send a personal e-mail.

Damn...I'd be afraid they'd track my visit and arrest me for looking...even if it were accidental.

Now...make us laugh at ourselves...tell us the 'baby' is their dog. 'Cause I'd so take a picture of my dogs genitals! (okay...have taken)

6:26 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

Regardless of context, that is just plain creepy.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Becky C. said...

ohh thats quite sick--but since I don't report stuff I'd most likely keep my mouth shut--depending on my mood.


7:26 PM  
Blogger Da Nator said...

Oh, I bet now you're going to come after me for the the naked cats.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I have several innocent shots of my son in the bathtub...but I most certainly don't have any of his genitals. I don't like the sound of it, personally. I hope there's an innocent explanation.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

I dunno ... the only context in which this isn't totally creepy is if the parents are young and the dad took a picture of his kid's "equipment" to send to his stupid frat boy friends as if to say "hung just like his daddy." I mean, stupid and irreverent and, and ... STUPID -- but not the work of a pornographer, per se.

Still, worthy of a report; you have good reason to be concerned.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Mrs. G said...

I say both d) and e): freak-out worthy and reportable. and glad you mentioned it to flickr, but flickr just hasn't been the same since the sellout to yahoo.

1:29 AM  

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