Paedophilia? Loving father comforting sick son…

BBC Trending: Is this picture disgusting or beautiful?

Shows how much better educated we need to be.

Embed from Getty Images
This can cause far more damage… pushy parents, youngest kid asleep from boredom, seeing what’s ahead of him, vowing never to be any good at music…  

The opening line of this article alone has me in a purple and red fury. In some ways the picture appears to show a fairly everyday scene. It’s not an everyday scene for parents. But the use of the word ‘appears’ paves the way for the idiocy of some of the comments. Balanced reporting?

Though in the minority, the suggestion there’s abuse involved shows how much further we have to go in understanding what abuse is. This isn’t it.

Read the article and tell me you think there’s some sort of abuse here.

Even as a victim of abuse myself, I’m moved and warmed by this image. It shows vulnerability on the father’s and child’s side.

To me, the image shows neither an abusive parent nor a child victim nor even the seeds of abuse. Were the father to be abusing his son, it’s unlikely there would be no images.

How else is the father going to soothe his young son? Get in the shower fully clothed? Point a hose at the boy while he stands outside the cubicle? This would illicit the masses raising their hands up in horror shouting, Callous father!

I’m seriously beginning to doubt anyone really knows what paedophilia is. Ooh, a long word, that’ll make me look smart.

There’s a trend today where those who don’t know want to seem like they know. Throw in a medical term here; fling in some technical jargon there. He presto! I know stuff! Yes, I devoted an entire blog to these people. I’m afraid The ones who casually diagnose other people’s children as ADHD, OCD, on the autistic spectrum… That kind of tripe.

But I’m seriously beginning to doubt anyone really knows what paedophilia is. Ooh, a long word, that’ll make me look smart.

Educate yourself. Work with abused people. Read. Learn and then you might be qualified to use the word.

If we can stop focusing on the easy targets, (images like this) we stand a good chance of tackling real abuse.

There’s so much in this image that touches my feelings – about the true devotion of some parents. The sad desperation when your child is hurt or ill. The element of water, I think says so much. For the parents, symbolising literally a wash of tears and for the boy, just the helpless feeling of being bathed in the parent’s flowing love .

If we can stop focusing on the easy targets, (images like this) we stand a good chance of tackling real abuse.

But I think for many people, that’s just too much dammed trouble… A lot easier to bandy about words that will incite and look like you care.


A world full of princesses: the new feminism?



Princess car stickers, princess T-shirts and baseball caps, princess lunchboxes, booster seats, luggage… Stop! We’re not all royals!

In Britain (how is it in the rest of the world?) parents douse their daughters in this sickly pink, totally false and irritating fantasy. Every month, some innovative manufacturer designs a new childhood accessory which can be ‘princessified’.

I have to ask why.

A few things strike me.

1.     Why don’t boys get the same treatment?

2.     What do parents have planned for their girls?

3.     If our Kate and William have a girl, will they have this paraphernalia?

I fear those parents might be raising the most self-centred, boorish people. After all, as laypeople, how do we perceive royalty? That they get everything they want. Is this how these glittery pink girls live?

Hoards of princesses now populate the UK. Will they all end up vying for power and kingdoms in their virtual world of monarchy? Millions of girls who’ve been brought up thinking they’re princesses because they’ve got a plastic tiara and some daft plastic shoes. (I wouldn’t have my daughter wearing those…) will one day have to make the transition from royalty to subject.

Something grates on me when I see a girl in a silly T-shirt claiming to be a princess. I want to know what’s behind it.

Is it simply attention-seeking? If so, who’s the attention for? Is it the latent wish of parents (maybe Mums more so, though I hate to point the finger) to dress up as a princess? Be treated as special?

Do parents hope their little one will get red carpet treatment? Is the subtext for this, ‘Please treat me nicely, I’ve been neglected all my life’? I suspect so. Or is it to show the world that if they have a special daughter, they too must be special (Kings and Queens, we assume…)

In fact I think they’re two sides of the same coin. The equation looks something like this: neglect as child = hunger for love in adulthood = craving for attention to substitute lack of real love (including through one’s own offspring) = lost and desperate buying of shiny, bright princess stuff for daughters… It’s just an educated guess.

It reminds me of Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules instilling in the orphans that they were loved, wanted, special: ‘Goodnight, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.’

But I take it even further. What kind of philosophy does this teach girls? That they can only marry princes (rich guys) or that they’re too good for anyone! (Come on parents, time to get those ‘prince on board’ stickers on your car.)

I’m not a great one for banging on about women’s rights: people need right and that’s that. But I feel slightly frightened about what these boa-wearing, blinged-out, precocious girls will grow up believing about the world.

Is this a parent’s way of opting out of the whole issue?

I think some of it is rooted in the lack of time parents have for their children (boys and girls). So the princess culture is a sort of wholesale, easy, throwing all the elements of good parenting at their daughters in a feather-ridden, diamante, netting-flounced heap. There! Now be a good girl…

Well I’ll watch with interest as a generation of girls realise somewhere in their teens that

  1. there are millions of other princesses out there and
  2. a princess sticker doth not a princess make

If anyone needs royalty status, it’s boys today. My God! Surrounded by waves of these overblown, proud girls who are too good for everyone! Boys, better watch out!

I didn’t realise anyone cared enough to sponsor me

P&G – proud sponsors of Mums”

I was hoping to learn that as a mother, I could apply to them for funds spent on spa breaks (to catch up on those years of lost sleep – feeding, rocking, soothing, mopping brows, holding hands, making up comforting stories at 3.10 in the morning about unicorns who breathed magic sleep spells on wakeful children…)

Or a course of manicures (years scraping things of school uniform minutes before we’re due to leave the house).

I’m due some serious osteopathy from carrying children and pushing pushchairs laden with child plus as many groceries as the basket will carry. There are other treatments and services I could apply for but why can’t I find a form on their website? ‘Mums: apply for funds here’ sort of thing.

Is their site unfinished? Or broken? Have I missed some deadline?


When they say, ‘Proud sponsors of Mums’ they means they put a couple of us on TV (in ads selling their products no doubt) and have done with it.

I’ve trawled their site and can’t find anything more ‘sponsor-like’ than this element. A marketing nod at the people who probably buy most their stuff. Ta, P&G but you can keep it.

I think ‘sponsor’ is the wrong word. ‘Acknowledger’ or ‘mentioner’ or even ‘Proud to have a few Mums appear for free on TV and save us from hiring a professional to sell our big brands-er’

This feels more like ridiculing mothers.

Get P&G’s name out there, give the impression that they value mothers and … well… get their name out there. Feeble marketing. And mothers aren’t stupid.

Give us real things that help us in our job as mothers and we might start telling our rich and powerful friends (other marvellous mothers) that P&G is a good brand.

There’s no denying we’re great; but once big companies get incolved, it’s a case of payinglip service to who they think is their target audience (P&G’s main brands cover make up and cleaning chemicals).

Give me a break (At Ragdale Hall spa please…)