What is your reaction to this photo?

via Imgur

via Imgur

This photograph of a father holding his son in the shower has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook in the last fortnight. But over the same period it’s also also been taken down by the social media platform more than once before ultimately being reinstated each time. Why?

In some ways the picture appears to show a fairly everyday scene. A dad cradling his severely sick child in his arms. Except in this instance, they are in the shower and both naked. The picture was posted on social media by the photographer Heather Whitten who lives in Arizona in the US. It shows her son Fox and her husband, the boy’s father Thomas Whitten.

For many [readers] the image is a touching portrait of parental care and affection. The reason that father and son were naked was because Fox had Salmonella poisoning for which he would soon after be hospitalised. “Thomas had spent hours in the shower with him, trying to keep his fever down and letting the vomit and diarrhea rinse off of them both as it came,” Whitten wrote in her post accompanying the photo. “He was so patient and so loving and so strong with our tiny son in his lap… I stepped out and grabbed my camera and came back to snap a few images of it and, of course shared them.”

But for some people the image is inappropriate at best and at worst has undertones of paedophilia. Whitten has been surprised by this reaction and was shocked when people posted negative comments about what was for her a beautiful moment. “There is nothing sexual or exploitative about this image,” she wrote in the initial post.

“I was taken aback by how many people missed the story or didn’t even look past the nudity to find the story.”

This story gives me a gut ache in the same sense that an elderly man walking past a school or a playground and watching the kids have fun is immediately seen as a potential threat to the childrens’ safety.


– Imgur


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  • Greg M

    It’s an incredibly moving picture of a good man looking after his sick child. That’s what real men do.

  • Nige.

    First thing i thought was “poor kid” I could tell the kid was sick from first glance.

    Reminds me of when my girls were small. Have to be so careful in the shower with them because they can slip away from you with all the soap.

    They also tend to fall asleep in there too.

  • EpochNZ

    I would question whether the people doing the complaining are parents themselves? As a parent, you just do what ya gotta do…and I’ve been in this situation, so I can appreciate the image.

  • willtin

    I’ve got a photo of me with each of our boys in the shower, so from my perspective, this picture is totally natural. However, he’s a braver man than me given the poor kid’s illness – I suspect I would be throwing up myself in that situation.

  • Wheninrome

    An indictment on society when the first reaction is horror, rather than appreciation of what is happening. Unfortunately social media was perhaps not the best place, however with this generation there is an instant instinct to share precious moments, in fact it seems all moments.

    • Nige.

      I think a reaction of horror is a window to the soul of the individual.

      I often wonder what I SHOULD be looking for in terms of a reaction from a predator for a picture like this.

      Perhaps the two are the same reaction?

  • SlightlyStrange

    One of the most interesting things with the response, is there is a nearly identical image of a mother and child doing the same thing in the shower. Which absolutely no-one has objected to in any way. Yet another case of tarring all men with the same brush? I don’t know. It makes me sad that people can see revoltingness in this.

  • sarahmw

    Beautiful. What was he supposed to do? Sit in the shower with all his clothes on. God save us from fools and stupid people. Sadly they seem to have the upper hand at times.

  • intelligentes candida diva

    I think the mother saw the moment as a photographer.

    On one hand I applaud her sense of capturing a moment, on the other I wonder why when her child is very sick she saw a story for her in the form of a photo, leave work alone sometimes.

    There is no real sense of emotion attached to this to me as the viewer, the child’s face is shown but the overall photo lacks emotion, had the fathers face been shown it might create a different sense.
    As a mother who is involved in the media sharing world I think she is naiive to be surprised some may thing it inappropriate, based on what can be seen and what goes on out there in cyber world.

    I am cautious about what personal photos are shown on social media because of how others may use them

    Was the personal story attached to the photo?

  • Sticktotheknitting

    I think it is a totally private moment and doesn’t need to be shared on public media. I wonder why the mum felt it necessary to share it.

    • Spiker

      Ive no issue with the photo, first reaction is whats wrong with bub? That said not everything needs to go on the internet.

    • She’s a photographer, that’s what they do.

  • kereru

    In the circumstances I’d have been far too concerned about getting some medical help for my child than stopping to take a photo, far less sharing it on social media. As the toddler was losing so much fluid, I’d have been makiing sure he had plenty of water, with added glucose, to keep him hydrated. The fact that he had to be hospitalised shows this was no ordinary tummy upset.

    Though the photo shows loving concern from the father, surely not everything that happens in your private life has to be shared with strangers?

    • STAG

      You have to take into account “American Hyperbole” with these sorts of posts

  • WBC

    I don’t see anything wrong with the photo or the act of caring for the child (it is such a pity that the feral breeders have made us so immediately suspicious of intent when we see scenes like this).

    But the act of putting it on social media removes any decency it had. It is precisely the opposite of what the photo portrays, it is an act of selfish aggrandisement and worse then that it is forever at the expense of the child’s privacy.

    So no. Overall I think it speaks poorly of the parents.

  • Nessie

    You see what you are looking for –

    • Miss Phit

      Or we see what we are conditioned to see. Unfortunately.

      If it had been a mum, we would have seen a loving parent, but because its a male we are conditioned by the feminazis to see something else.

  • Rick H

    Naked in the shower, what?
    What other type of dress-code is required?

    When my kids were very young, I often showered them by holding them when I was having my shower. So did my wife.
    It’s the best and easiest way.

    Any suggestion of “Pedo” shows just how deluded/sick-minded the “suggester” is.

    • Sceptic59

      Good for you

      Natural is natural

      I’m just about more tired of the ones condemning natural behavior than the sickos who step over the line

  • Vutekno

    Reminds me of one evening when one of my sons had a very bad run of diarrhoea in his nappy. Only me and my Dad were home. Son wandered around us and we picked up the distinctive smell!

    On inspection, dad and I decided that a shower cleanup was required. So me and son got in the shower stripped and cleaned up. Son enjoyed every moment of it.

    Clothes in the washing machine all done.

    Wife and my mother kept straight faces as we explained how Dad and I had managed this crisis! Then fell over laughing! I still think we did good.

    Now adult son doesn’t remember it. Good family story even now.

  • Mav E Rick

    I remember when I was late catching an AIR NZ domestic flight – one of the last to get on . I was stopped at the gate as their was an unaccompanied child to get on and he had been placed to sit by me – a white male, mid 40’s years of age. I am a Gold card traveler, and normally sit near the front of the plane, places reserved for gold card members. This child was required to sit in the front where he could be kept an eye on by the air hostesses. Because it would mean that he would have to sit by males who all seemed to occupy the front few rows, there had to be a rearrangement of people to make sure the young lad wouldn’t sit by male. They brought a couple of female passengers from other parts of the plane and two males (one being me) had to occupy the seats previously occupied by the females. It was disgusting, shameful, and gender racism. We were being discriminated against because of our gender. As if anything inappropriate would have happened on the front row of a plane.
    I’m not sure if Air NZ still has that policy. Imagine the fuss if I had been shifted because of my race, religion or perhaps a disability. Because of social engineering, all men were classified as being Pedo’s!! It was very humiliating,even the women who had to swap places feeling very uncomfortable about it.