Pixie Curtis is Australia’s most famous four-year-old. Obviously that’s not an official title but I can’t think of another Australian tot who could rival her profile.
She is the daughter of PR queen Roxy Jacenko, has over 100,000 followers on Instagram and has her own booming business selling super-cute bows. She flies around the world several times a year, travels in private jets, stays in hotels where breakfast probably costs more than my weekly rent and apparently earns a tidy sum for a single Instagram pic (her mother told The Project that the money raised from Pixie’s business is held in trust for when she comes of age).
A lot — and I mean A LOT — has been written and said about this arrangement. Is Pixie being exploited by her parents? Is it right for a child’s life to be so public?
Watch Mia Freedman discuss some of the pressures of parenting and motherhood below (post continues after video).
The reality is that child stars have been around forever. Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Drew Barrymore, the Olsen twins, Jodie Foster, Macaulay Culkin, Brooke Shields, Shirley Temple…the list goes on.
The medium might be quite different now but a child being famous isn’t new. This isn’t to say it’s an easy, popular or advisable path. It might not be the decision you would make for your children or your family, and that is absolutely fine. But. Even if it’s not the decision you would make, doctoring images of a 4 year old into lewd photographs is not acceptable.
News broke today that Sydney police are investigating a series of explicit photographs allegedly altered to include Pixie Curtis, that were circulated among fashion circles. “It sickens me to think that grown men, within the same industry, could possibly find any humour in superimposing my four-year-old daughter, or anyone’s child for that matter, into lewd and explicit situations,” Pixie‘s mother Jacenko told News Limited.
In response to this story I have read and heard the same responses over and over today.
What did she expect?
Serves her right.
Probably a PR stunt!
Well if she didn’t post photos of her, this wouldn’t have happened.
I get that a famous child irks a lot of people, I really do. But it does not make this alleged crime ok. It doesn’t diminish it, it doesn’t excuse it. As with any other criminal behaviour the actions of the victim are irrelevant. Your wife made you mad? Not grounds for hitting her. A young girl was drunk? Not grounds for raping her. A child is famous? No ground for her being photoshopped into sexualised images.
Sisters. What can I say. Special. Does this chick think the hallway is her own personal runway. Oh geez. @pixiecurtis A photo posted by Hunter Curtis (@huntercurtis14) on Feb 5, 2016 at 8:41pm PST
Yes this incident underscores the fact that there is danger in posting images of children online. But the crime is not in the sharing of images of children online.
Whilst few of us have a fully-fledged Instagram icon on our hands, how many of us share pictures of our children on Facebook and Instagram? Plenty of us do. Sure, we might adopt different security settings and we might have our own boundaries for what we will and won’t post.
Whatever decision a parent makes though, putting a photo of their child online is not an invitation for criminal behaviour, any more than wearing a short skirt is an invitation to be harassed.
Back in the day sharing photos of kids online wasn’t a risk parents even needed to contemplate. Today it is.
And there’s no point pretending this is going to change. There is no putting the internet back in its box. Or Facebook, or SnapChat or Instagram. They are part of the world we live in. Participating in that world by sharing pictures does not make a person complicit in a crime. A person doctoring an image of a child into something explicit is complicit in a crime.
So, whether you love or loathe them, Pixie Curtis’ parents aren’t responsible for her being at the centre of a creepy internet scandal. The blame lies firmly with whoever created and distributed them.