Why A Photo Shoot By The Pool Made Me Feel So Uncomfortable
As I sit pool side on this stunning Greek Summer’s day I find myself drawn to stare at a young girl who is no more than 11 or 12 years old. With cascading long blonde hair and a figure that has yet to hit puberty she is on the cusp of womanhood. Her eyes have a perfect flick of black eyeliner and she walks with a confidence that is well beyond her age.
I smile secretly to myself as I too can relate to this stage in a girl’s life. Your body is changing and there are emotions stirring inside you that are both exciting and scary at the same time. And there’s no place better than the intoxicating Greek islands to come into your own as a young woman,
As this girl walks past me my smile turns into a look of disappointment. Her bikini bottom leaves nothing to the imagination. She’s wearing a g-string and a nervous smile.
Behind her walks her mother in a sequinned bikini holding her phone in preparation for what’s about to come. The mother instructs her daughter to get into the pool and look at the camera. Not in a cute, wave to grandma kind of way – but a pose that a young girl has no business knowing.
She jumps in the pool and pulls herself up just enough so that her butt is in full view on top of the water. Her mum I assume is saying ‘higher, higher’ in an eastern European language that is both familiar and foreign to me.
As the young girl lifts her butt higher she looks into the phone with a seductive look and pushes her developing chest out. Her mother continues to take snap after snap and gives her instructions of how to smile, pout and pose.
Across from the young girl sits her father, in the pool also. Instead of stopping this disturbing scene which is unfolding in front of a small crowd at the hotel pool, he too is guiding the daughter on how to pose.
Under the instruction of both her mother and father this young girl is now lifting her butt out of the pool, wetting her hair and posing for the camera in ways that are making everyone around them feel extremely uncomfortable.
Playing in the water at the same time is another girl the same age who looks awkwardly cute as she plays Marco Polo with her brother in the pool. In stark contrast she’s wearing a colourful one piece with a ‘My Little Pony’ image emblazoned on the front.
There are so many things that worry me about this ‘photoshoot’- like where on earth are these photos going to end up? They are definitely not your average holiday snap that will be shared with friends and family on Facebook or Instagram. In my opinion they are images that scream ‘pedophilia’ and ‘child abuse.’
My first instinct was to yell at the mother and tell her how disgusting she was to be sexualising her daughter in such a way. but I held my tongue. The young girl looked happy and comfortable in her teeny tiny bikini and I soon realised this was not a one off event. This girl had been groomed from a very young age to work her body in a sexual way for people to admire. She probably saw nothing wrong with her outfit or the way her mother made her stick out her butt for the photos. She was probably used to men leering at her and women whispering how pretty she was behind her back.
I just hope she is given the power and opportunity in the future to do more with her body and mind than just pose seductively for ‘God knows who.’ It’s our responsibility as parents to give our children the tools they need to live a happy and fulfilling life. I shudder to think what life lessons this poor innocent girl is being taught by her parents.