baby

The reason behind this year's change to the Bonds Baby Search says everything about the internet in 2019.

Babies are one of the rare types of humans where no matter what they do, you don’t really have a justification to hate them.

They’re all chubby with stupid feet that serve no purpose, teeth that can’t chew yet, a neck that isn’t… real, elbows that don’t exist and faces that are fundamentally silly.

They always look surprised even when nothing is happening.

So in what world would a competition designed to celebrate the cuteness of babies descend into such a cesspit of hate that the rules have to be officially changed?

This. World.

Australia. 2019.

Welcome.

What.
What.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the widely popular Bonds Baby Search will be markedly different in 2019.

The competition, open to babies from birth to three years old, had traditionally been decided by a public vote, with winners receiving a photo shoot and the chance to be the face of a future Bonds campaign.

In an effort to secure votes from family and friends, parents typically share photos of their babies on their own social media platforms. But this year, the brand have chosen to shut down the voting component of the search.

In a post on Facebook, Bonds explained: "The all new Bonds Baby Search is a celebration of love, that means no more voting."

Now, a daily winner will be chosen at random, with two Wonderbub winners selected by Bonds.

The reason for the change, it seems, is the cruelty that has taken place on social media in the last few years.

In a statement to the Herald Sun, Bonds marketing manager Emily Small said the aim is to make this year's competition a more "inclusive celebration of babies".

Back in April 2014, the announcement of the Bonds Baby Search winners triggered a number of offensive comments, even after site moderators reminded people to be "positive and respectful".

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Comments called the babies "hideous" and "ugly," with one woman writing that the competition was "obviously not going by looks".

Two of the winners were babies with Down syndrome.

In the years since, the issue of cruel comments hasn't disappeared, which explains Bonds' decision.

Image via Bonds.
Image via Bonds.

But, pause.

Why... are people insulting babies.

What kind of angry, bitter person is lurking on Facebook, waiting to give their opinion about the physical appearance of an infant who a) can't read, b) doesn't... care, and c) IS AN INFANT?

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this behaviour, however, is that it's not at all surprising. Of course you can't widely share photos of babies without receiving comments so vile you couldn't have even imagined them if you tried.

Because this is the state of the internet in 2019.

A place where having an opinion apparently warrants rape and death threats.

A place where people gather in groups and threads to tear apart individuals for their work or their voice or their mannerisms or their appearance.

A place of kneejerk reactions and 140-character arguments.

Of course babies - the most innocent, inoffensive, uncontroversial individuals on the planet - are a target.

That's just where we are.

Less than 20 years ago, the internet gave a voice to people who might not have one otherwise. It democratised opinion, and it started conversations.

And now, in 2019, we're having to shut them down. Because apparently even the soft, bald, slightly sweaty appearance of a baby is worthy of outrage.

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