ANOTHER VIEW; An exposure of prurience

Share
Related Topics
The case of Julia Somerville appals me. The mere idea that anyone with serious intentions of taking pornographic photographs of their children would then send them to Boots The Chemist for processing is so ludicrous it is bizarre - it is like a scenario out of the worst kind of television comedy show.

What is the world coming to if we react to the nudity of small children with such disgust and suspicion? Even in a sexually explicit age, children's nudity is an innocent thing, celebrated quite rightly by parents proud of their children's beautiful bodies. There is no erotic content in the sort of pictures taken by parents every day - and the innocent sight of babies' bottoms is used on our television screens to sell nappies without anyone being arrested and questioned by Scotland Yard. When I look through my family's photograph album, I see pictures of my children nude on the beach, in the bath, in the garden. I would guess that there isn't a parent in the country who hasn't got similar pictures.

We currently seem to have difficulty in recognising the difference between healthy, natural nudity and sexual display. Pride and Prejudice was a huge hit recently- yet it contained heaving almost-naked bosoms in every other shot. No one complained about that - it is only nakedness that seems to upset people. Clothes, in fact, can be far more worrying than nudity. The sight of a three-year-old girl dressed for the beach in a bikini top, apeing adult sexuality is surely obscene. Yet pictures like that would presumably not raise a flicker in the fundamentalist photographic processing department department at Boots The Chemist.

Parents must not play along with this sort of hysteria. It runs against all normal human instincts, and must be resisted. It reminds me of the moral panic that persuaded social workers that Satanic abuse was sweeping the country - and all the suffering to families that ensued. I feel desperately sorry for Julia Somerville who, despite being in the public eye, has always maintained her dignity and her privacy. How offensive this must be to her, and how devastating that her children have been named in the papers and will surely be teased and questioned at school on Monday. I hope Ms Somerville will sue Boots and the police for the distress caused to her whole family.

As for the rest of us, there is a simple way that parents can make a stand against this kind of behaviour. We mustn't fall into the trap of over-caution, of being afraid to act naturally with our children for fear of being carted off to Scotland Yard. Tonight I hope every parent in Britain takes pictures of their beautiful children in the bath, and floods Boots' department of prurient processing with them. That is the proper response to idiocy of this kind.

The writer is a former agony aunt, a broadcaster, journalist and novelist.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
 

Any chance the other parties will run their election campaigns without any deceit or nastiness?

Nigel Farage
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee