Thursday, January 22, 2009

Petunia Faceless

At first I was pissed at you. Then I hated myself. Now I'm just mad at the world.

It started with the photos I posted of Zoey wearing just her tutu and a pirate hat. A few people questioned the safety of putting *t0ple$s photos of my daughter on the internet. I thought that was silly. Is there such a thing as a two year old t0ple$s?? I mean, really? Would people question photos of a tw0 year old b0y without his shirt on? Because it's basically the same thing. I scoffed, and yes, maybe I felt a little stung (okay, a lot), but I forged on. I thought of the Coppertone girl getting her bottoms pulled down by the dog--was that really Jodie Foster or is that just an urban myth?--and then I thought, whatever.
But then I posted a photo of Zoey in the tub surrounded by her My Pretty Ponies. The picture was taken from above. You could see the top of her head, shoulders, arms, a peek of tummy and chubby legs. Nothing else. I was more concerned about showing the www the amount of bath scum in my tub than my daughter. But I was wrong, because immediately Anonymous (who else?) lashed out at me to stop posting nekkid f0t0s of my daughter on my bl0g. I reeled from that comment. Nekkid f0t0s? Of my daughter??? WTF? I felt as if I'd been socked in the gut, spat on, as if I was being called a bad mother, a pervert myself. And so I cropped Zoey out of the photo and just showed the bath scum.
But I cannot stop thinking about it; I cannot stop being angry. I started this blog to get myself writing again, and because I had so much to say about how much I love my daughter. And much of that love is cl0thed in just a diaper, sometimes even le$s. I could go on and on about the purity of children, the innocence, about how I do not want to foist shame upon my daughter, not now, not yet. But what I ultimately realized is that none of that matters. And that's why I'm angry. What matters--what has taken precedence over the natural innocence of children--is the fear and very real danger in the world. The fuckers who do cruise the internet looking for--God, I can't even type it. The fuckers who don't see the tutu and the pirate hat, who don't see the arms flung wide open in unabashed glee but see something else. Something that is not there.
And so I have taken those photos down. Not because there is anything wrong with them. Not because there is anything wrong with me for posting them. And certainly not because there is anything wrong with my daughter being nekkid or "t0ple$s." I have taken them down because there is something wrong with the world.
And now I am off to scour the scum from my bathtub. You do what you can...
*Please note: I have not lost all spelling prowess, nor am I going all Prince on U. I am intentionally misspelling words that might be provocative as I do not want any pervert$ to find my blog by searching for certain words or phrases. Fuckers.

51 comments:

MrsEm said...

I loved both photos. Do what ever you want with your own blog. The internet is - to me at least - much more a source of goodness and friendship than perversion.

hej said...

Amen, Daughter.

Unfortunately, there is scum beyond the bathtub.

scarletvirago said...

Good for you for knowing where to place the blame. I, for one, will miss gleeful arms girl, but as a parent understand the whole, err on the side of caution thing. Stupid, wrong things/fuckers.

Jenn said...

I, personally, loved those photos. Not in any wrong way, but in that way that makes my uninhabited uterus long painfully for a tenant. For a child to love and want to share with the world. Then I have to beat my uterus back and remind it that we just got married, and children will come in due time.

It's sad that the pervesions of the world rob us of such wonderful glimpses into a little girl's daily life. But your words - well, they're almost a beautiful enough substitute.

Regardez Moi said...

Oh man. I'm so sorry that some asscheese posted those comments on your blog. Ugh. I hate that you "can't" post pictures of your kid - I mean, she's a baby. Who even thinks it's inappropriate? But I guess you're right? :( This is awful. You're totally right for being mad.

Sorry, that was the least eloquent comment ever, but it's all I could muster up.

Jen said...

I loved those photos too and only made an innocent comment because you said something before about how Bryan didn't want you posting pics of Zoey in the tub. Sorry for that rude anonymous person out there!

I love how you describe the love you have for your daughter. You put my feelings and thoughts in to words in a way I never could!

Jessie said...

I was thinking about this VERY topic while driving home yesterday... makes me sick to think about who's "out there" watching.

JennyLo said...

I personally did not see any "nakedness" in those photos. She is a baby and the photos were harmless imo. Still, I think you are being a smart mama and staying on the side of caution.

Charlee said...

I innocently placed many videos of my daughter on Youtube (it linked to our blog page) of her in her bathing suit singing happy birthday, swimming, tying her shoe, etc. She is about 5 years old in most of the videos. I received so many weird and creepy emails from all over the world on how beautiful she was and could they be our "friends". When you looked at other videos they were viewing young girls that were half dressed. It's sad, but a true state of pedophiles that have access to our kids, even in the most innocent of circumstances.

zakary said...

WTF is wrong with people? I'm sorry about this. Truly.

ToRi and cReW said...

I occasionally come over and check your blog out--we don't know each other. I love your blog for your writing and your outlook on the world.
The perverts who can not see the PURE joy that little girl brings you are so messed up.
Keep blogging, but as a mom I understand the emotion that comes with realizing the world is full of dirtbags.

Carolyn said...

I'm the mother of an almost 2 yr old myself. I certainly found there to be absolutely nothing offensive or inappropriate in those darling pictures. Geez.

Some people seem to have nothing better to do than nit pick over NOTHING. Sad. I wish people like "anonymous" would just bugger off and not read if they don't "like" something they see. Also, I hate it when people shroud their identity under "anonymous" when leaving a comment like that. Strap on some balls.

You didn't do anything wrong and I love reading your blog.

Misplaced Country Girl said...

I'm sorry that someone made you feel like that. Those pictures were full of joy and glee and I will miss them.

Melanie said...

I loved those photos too. So innocent, you captured the innocence of childhood in those photos. My feeling is that people who see shame or feel shame in what they see there... well, I have to agree with hej. They are scum, thinking scummy thoughts. So sad to make childhood innocence a dIR+y thing. I hate that word almost as much as I hate the word hate.

You say lovely things about your daughter. Don't stop doing that.

Robin said...

Cursing the fuckers right along with you and also mourning the sweet Zoey photos we will not get to see because of the sickos out there.

MoxieMamaKC said...

Ridiculous. I blame the Puritans. I thought it was adorable and reminds me of my daughter and I playing Ponies at bathtime. I'm so sorry you got hasseled for it...

Jessica said...

Those pictures were nothing short of precious. People are ridiculous.

Petunia said...

I feel very sad for you today. The realization that there are people who will look at pictures of your daughter and see something other than a beautiful innocent child deserves the anger I read in your post. The days of the Coppertone baby are gone along with the days of children playing outside unattended. The Internet has opened up new frontier for the pedophile. He can now anonymously lurk around the edges of our lives and steal, unbeknownst to us, all that is precious. We recognize the stanger in real life. We know what to do with him. It's horrifying to think of all the strangers here in this other world that approach our children without us even knowing it. The only way to prevent that is to not give them something to steal. The internet has given us so much and at the same time, created a new underworld of shit.

Vanessa said...

I don't think any of us actually thought you were a bad mother. I found the pictures to be adorable and never would imagine it came from anywhere other than a totally loving place. Unfortunately bastards that see kids for something they are not are a reality.
I hope this hasn't put you off blogging. I look forward to your blog every day!

monkey said...

i was sexually abused starting at the age of seven so know firsthand that, yes, there are bastards who see things that aren't there. who take the freedom of innocence and fondle it with their greasy fingers and leave permanent stains.
and they have fucked it all up for the rest of us, that we even have to acknowledge that there are legions of people out there who make a photo of a BABY in a bathtub something we need to worry about.
i hate them.
and, although i do believe anonymous is right, i wish it didn't come down as an admonishment on you. the blame is not yours.
pictures do not abuse little girls. assholes abuse little girls.
*remember, people, i said anonymous was right...it doesn't mean i have to be happy about it*

Jules said...

There are many pictures I have wanted to post on my own blog, but I haven't. True story: I am the assistant manager of an online birthmark support group. The members, myself included, had posted many pictures of our children in albums on the site. One day, a member was tipped off that some of the photos had been lifted and were in a member only forum for [insert worst thought here.]

Even on Flickr there are groups named...a word for an ending that is enjoyable...and if you look at it, they are mainly pictures of children.

Unfathonable, but true.

PalagiGirl said...

Sounds like anonymous has some issues all their own. I was pissed off yesterday when I read that comment and even more so today after I see how much that comment hurt you. Your blog is a ray of sunshine in my day. Don't let anyone tell you how to write your blog. Especially not someone who is too chicken shit to even post their name.

mamacita said...

I hope you'll reconsider. You can't let the bad guys win. As long as you don't give any specific information about where you live, I don't see what harm can come of it.

plumeria said...

Ah man. I get it, too, but damn those fuckers!

The thing is, I don't have children, and through your writing and simple pics of a sweet little human being, I have a little peak into what the world of motherhood feels like. I hope if/when I become a mother, I take the time to adore my little girl like you do, because you are sure inspiring.

I guess like everything it's a balance. But damn those effin' perves and the anonymous poster that tried to shame you.

Now, please write that book! And start thinking about the sweet photo of your little girl that will grace it's jacket...

Petunia Face said...

Thank you all for your support :) Makes me a little less angry at the world.

And just to be clear--I'll still post pics of Zoey, just none without her shirt! (Or pants, shoes, jacket, socks, gloves, scarf, hat, burqua...)

Anonymous said...

i'm pretty sure you're loosing your mind.

Erin said...

People are creeps. That's the bottom line of it. But maybe it's better to know that they've come and creepily looked at the photos than to not know, right?

Petunia Face said...

Dear Anonymous @ 1:18pm,
You misspelled losing.
Love,
Susannah

Margo said...

I like how you didn't misspell 'fuckers' ;)

Judy said...

I have a strong feeling that "this" Anon is the same Anon that blasted me..."the first comments you should delete are your Mom's" and "Why doesn't she get her own friends instead of poaching yours"...and more...all under the guise of an "intelligent" kind of Anon some posts back. This feels the same to me. Consider the source-especially if the original Anon who toasted you for Z pixs is the same as todays..."I'm pretty sure you're loosing (sic) your mind". Surely that person's opinion can't be any sort of reference point or of any value in any way to you!

As to Z. pixs, you know what I think. It's what you think that's important and if only posting totally covered, "non-provocative" in any way photos is what you feel you must do, then sadly, you must. But where does it stop? If you post a photo of Z. that's completely adorable and beautiful (and isn't that the only kind she takes?), what's to stop the Fuckers from using those for "unpure reasons"? How much can you control? How much do you want to self-censor?

Do what you feel will make you feel safest for Z. But DON'T do it because some asshole too chicken-shit to even use their name makes a stupid comment!

Your mind is beautiful and in no danger of getting "loose".

Love,
Mom

Lara@Paper Doll said...

I loved the pics of Zoey in her tutu and pirate hat! Unfortunately, you never know who lurks in the scummy corners of the www.

monkey said...

i heart your mom.

Richie Designs said...

people are freaks. there was nothing showing AT ALL
unless you count super-cuteness and innocence.

flipping the bird to this person now.

BIRD!!

LoSan said...

I'm sorry, but did I just read from Anonymous, "...you're loosing your mind"??? Fuck you, Anonymous, and I'd suggest spell check before you post your hurtful nonsense.

Susannah, I love your mind. Keep doing what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

oh my god, you know what? i think you should just put the photos back up on your blog. why not? all the nice mommies out there think they're great!

it is no judgement on you, why would you even take it that way?

it is SO unbelievable that anyone would post a naked photo of a little girl on the internet, and then be shocked when someone points out the danger of doing so.

Anonymous said...

oh, and ps..judy? i am not the same anon who blasted you, but i am the same one who wrote the first comment about posting the photos of zoey.

so, there you go.

Petunia Face said...

Anonymous--chill out. This post was about me realizing that you are right, that there are awful people out there. I was naive. I believe I even thanked you after your first comment on Horse Latitudes (even though your comment did come across as rude, however you meant it).

The problem with remaining anonymous is that you do get lumped into all of the anonymeans out there, even if you don't feel like you're being mean. Sadly, when I see an anonymous comment now? My stomach does a flip flop.

Creme de la Mode said...

The Coppertone baby was drew barrymore, I'm pretty certain. You're daughter is gorgeous and sweet and innocent. Anonymouses are cowards.

Weitzell4 said...

That this discussion has to happen is a really sad thing, but I am glad it has because it has made me stop and think about my own pictures floating out there in www land. It made me request that my MIL remove the naked pics of my (then) 17 month old from her facebook page, bc god knows that neither she nor I are tech. savvy enough to know who really has access to those pics! People suck.

Patois said...

I'm not sure when I saw the photo of the ponies. I don't recall thinking about anything other than the ponies. Maybe it was after you felt compelled to crop. Or maybe it was just that I was seeing what you meant me to see.

As for what someone else might want to see? It bites. It does. I'm sorry.

And, your mom? She is too good. And you? You're too good, too.

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

It's so sad that our world is coming to this. Susannah, your love for Zoe radiates through your blog and every word you write about her. I know that you would never do anything to put her in harm's way.

Michele said...

my daughter Charlotte (2 1/2) loves to see the pictures of Zoey, she thinks they're friends....like Mother like daughter I guess. I think they represent joy... hers at life, and yours at sharing it. The pirate photos inspired us to play dress up that day too. Are there bad people on the web? Sure, but I still want to believe that the majority of people who read Petunia Face love your wit, your writing, feel your pain & share your joy. Your well placed beautiful pictures help to convey what you are commenting on any given day. I get where your Mom (love you Judy!) and even anon. are coming from... I just hate that the freaks out there have made us scaredy-cats.

JackeeG4glamorous said...

You get it out! That anger will keep you passionate! Are you angry at "Anon" or at the nasty perverted world that lurks in the internet. That Petunia Faced baby girl is as precious as any we in blogerville has seen! Your blog friends that wait all day for your posts will help fight your fights, however...
Write Susannah, write, we love to read. Be inspired, and give us a morsel.

Aartee said...

oh the pirate ones were TOO cute...but I guess it's better safe then sorry!

muchmorethanmommy said...

Minus the strong language (because I'm a Goody Two Shoes), I couldn't agree with your post more. I hate that I cringed when a family friend took a picture of my girls and their cousin in the bathtub. I hate that on my family blog, I have even started to question the use of tags because I learned how the freaks and perverts search.

And I hate that when I saw the sweet pictures of your Pirate Petunia Face, the first thing I thought about was the time you wrote about the seemingly homeless man who came up and touched her face. I wondered... What if he, or anyone, came up and freaked you out, but added to the freak out by mentioning something he'd read on the blog?

And then I considered taking out my girls' names on our family blog.

Creepy people suck.

Sarah said...

To Anonymous: Keep your sanctimonious bullshit to yourself.
Also,not all of us are "mommies" who read this blog so quit being so condescending.
If you don't like Suzanna you can always stop visiting here.
To Suzanna: Rock on! Don't let them get you down!

beachbungalow8 said...

I love getting to relive your first baby as a toddler feelings. It makes me remember, and that's so necessary. But because you would never consider the creepiness that lurks out there, you had no idea.

I've considered it when I post photos of my kids (or don't actually) It's too bad but the internet is available to any perv.

amber {daisy chain} said...

aarghh - that just sucks!

Anonymous said...

Please don't let your surprise over the fact that creeps do exist keep you from celebrating your love for your daughter in this open-doored community. The pics you have posted are a far cry from inappropriate. Little topless girl, still baby-fatted, still with the cheeks, the dimple backed hands. Please. She's no Bratz Doll. And you're an amazing writer and mother. Your judgement is, has been just fine. Fuck the fuckers. Amen.

Oh Brother! said...

Once you've seen one "Anonymous" you've seen them all :)

-bro

meinkc said...

The only thing I thought of when I saw those pictures was 'Look at the way she rocked that hat!' I mean, who would think anything else?

I suppose there are random sick people who would. And I suppose there are also random sick people who would be sent into some sort of erotic frenzy if you posted a picture of what you had for breakfast, or the stuff you vacuumed out of the cushions of your couch, or whatever. But what can you do?

As a mom myself, I know it's important to be Wary. But still. At some point you have to just live your life in a way that's joyous and true (for you and your family), or it gets too Howard Hughes-ish. Meaning, the fear of the possibility of infection leads to a life built around avoiding it.

You're a wonderful mother. Trust yourself and your instincts. :)