Imagine what it must be like for a four-year-old little girl on her way home from school to have men you don’t know with cameras yelling at you to smile. How terrifying would it be to have all that constant attention and chaos any time you leave the house?
Halle Berry was just trying to do what plenty of other American mothers do every weekday. She was picking her daughter up from school. Unfortunately, paparazzi seemed to think that this activity merited photographic coverage. Poor little Nahla was visibly upset with the photogs, pointing them out and scowling. As her mother tried to ignore the cameras, Nahla stuck out her tongue, only ensuring that the pictures would make their way onto the internet.
Celebrity children get constantly critiqued in the media. Websites feature “Who wore it best?” segments for little boys and girls who haven’t even hit double digits. We have to assume that as they get older, this scrutiny could lead to more than a couple sessions with a psychologist.
But pictures like these remind me that it’s not just the commentary of celebrity gossip sites that hurt Hollywood kids. The mere presence of photographers following you everywhere has to be pretty unsettling for young children. The idea that you can’t leave the house without a procession of camera crews following you around is one that this new generation of celebrity children must be very familiar with. And it’s a little sad to think about the effect this might have on the kids as they grow up.
We often explain away the lack of privacy afforded to celebrities by saying that they chose to put themselves in the public eye. By acting in movies and television, they signed up for press and media. But their children never get the choice to opt out of a public life. Nahla is the same age as my own daughter, and while she might have to worry about something ridiculous she says making it into my Twitter feed, she doesn’t have to be concerned that grown adults will critique her outfits on a weekly basis. She doesn’t have to worry about strangers with cameras yelling her name on her way home from school.
I realize that this picture was just meant to be a silly moment of cuteness from an admittedly adorable curly-haired celebri-tot, but it reminds me of just how unfair the current media system is. I can completely understand why children like Suri Cruise, Harper Beckham and the Jolie-Pitt crew might very well hate the paparazzi before they’re even able to spell the word. Lots of children are scared of the bogeyman in the closet, these kids must have the quite-possible terror of a man with a camera in the bushes.