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Childrearing

Blogger Who Must Not Have Gone To Middle School Posts Instagram Pic Of Toddler With Vibrator

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Silly and embarrassing pictures of our children are one of life’s great joys. Posting those pictures to an Instagram account with a few thousand followers, however, may not be quite as joyful for everybody involved. If you don’t think posting a picture of your child holding one of your sex toys against her face is going to embarrass the hell out of her once she gets to school, I have to ask you: how was that turnip truck you fell off of yesterday?

Jenna Andersen, a blogger and photographer, who uses the Instagram handle of thatwife, posted this picture to her account, which I’m not going to post here, because, just no: her two children sitting in her bed, with her 21-month-old daughter squishing her face against mom’s vibrator while her 4-year-old son looks on and laughs, with this caption:

Blogger Who Must Not Have Gone To Middle School Posts Instagram Pic Of Toddler With Vibrator jenna andersen robot massager game instagram png(Instagram)

According to Salon, the post originally appeared with the hashtag #sterilized, too, which is a relief, I guess?

Andersen’s been heavily moderating the comments on the photo, which I can’t really blame her for, since along with the people who want to suggest that posting a picture like this is, um, Maybe Not An Awesome Idea, there are plenty of others who want to cuss her out for it, too. But she seems a bit clueless when engaging with commenters who are trying to argue in good faith that posting a photo like this has more long-term effects than she might have expected. On the Instagram photo, commenters jedeves and abernsy point out that other kids can be cruel and that Andersen’s children should probably get to have a say in when photos like this are released. Andersen’s reply?

@jedeves @abernsy interesting! Are you two implying that you might put it in a wedding slide show, but want to wait until post teenage days and puberty for it to be public?

When you’re done watching the point sail over Andersen’s head, contemplate this: Middle school is hard enough as it is. Maybe this photo will be long since forgotten by then, or maybe it’ll turn up just in time for the eighth grade dance. The Internet may not be forever, but it’s for a long, long, long time. Do you want to take that gamble on your kid’s behalf? Can you imagine going to middle school as “that kid whose mom took a picture of you with a Hitachi jammed into your eyeball”? I can, and it’s horrifying. Sure, kids are going to find something to pick on a kid about no matter what – but does it have to be such ripe fodder?

Sure, as Andersen argues, sex is a normal thing that people shouldn’t get into a moral panic over. However, I would heartily disagree that publicly posting a picture of toddlers unwittingly engaged in play with sex toys is the way to go about normalizing sexuality. I don’t expect that kind of societal change to be carried out by someone for whom middle school isn’t even on the radar yet. Take all the embarrassing photos of your kids you want, sex toys or not (as long as they’re #sterilized, please), send them to your best friend or your sister or whoever. But maybe, before you post them somewhere online where the whole world can see, think about what a sixth-grade version of yourself would have wanted plastered on the front door of the middle school. And then, hopefully, click ‘cancel’ before the upload finishes.

(Photo: Alexey Shinkevich/Shutterstock)

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