A few days ago, I wrote about a series of tweets by Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell calling for a boycott on magazines that buy photos of celebrity children (click here for a refresher). It made a lot of headlines, with some people taking up the cause for “save the children (who aren’t in any serious danger)” while others wondered if the whole crusade was an exercise for Dax and Kristen’s ego.
To expand on his position and answer to the “hateful” feedback he’s received, Dax wrote an essay for Huffington Post – read it here. You know what else I found on Huffington Post after a quick search? Paparazzi photos of celebrity children. The Huffington Post has an entire category called “Celebrity Babies” – click here to see it!
Fine, he wants to control the message even if he can’t control the medium. I don’t think Dax is wrong for wanting privacy for his kid. But I do think he’s incredibly biased towards his fellow actors and simplistic in his casting of the “boogie man” photographer.
Dax starts his argument by bringing out the big guns: he’s advocating for what other celebrities like Halle and Jennifer Garner have asked for. Will privacy legislation help create a calmer, more peaceful environment for kids like it does in the UK and France? Dax isn’t sure legislation is the way to go because, as he points out, it only addresses the supply and not the demand.
But while Dax and Kristen are tut-tutting, they’re still missing a key component of it: the suppliers are not just the paparazzi. Celebrities are also suppliers.
Dax doesn’t quite believe this is true, but if it is, he thinks we should stop rewarding that behviour. We should be able to recognize when, for example, a celebrity is using her children to help her equally famous husband campaign for an Oscar.
Even if paparazzi set-ups were miraculously banned, what about the many other ways some celebrities use their children? Baby photos require cooperation between weeklies and famous parents. So… start with that. And then tackle celebrities who use their kid to promote their lifestyle businesses, have their kids cast in movies, post photos on social media, pose with their kids at personal appearances, bring their kids to premieres, and generally use any opportunity to ensure we notice their family, which in turn keeps them in the media and in the running for jobs.
But the behavior on the celebrity side is barely acknowledged by Dax. He’s incredulous we would even suggest this is a thing. And if we can’t talk about all the players, how can we change the rules of the game?
Truthfully, I don’t think Dax is full of sh-t in his intentions. Quite the opposite. But I do think he has his head up his ass. He knows it’s naïve to try to change the behavior of millions of readers, but he’s crazy enough to try you guys! He and Kristen are just that passionate about their privacy. On Twitter.
There was one other thing I didn’t quite get about his argument - Dax chose to focus on print magazines and completely ignores blogs. I guess that’s because Kristen prefers to scold bloggers over Twitter – take a look through her timeline and you’ll see what I mean.
And she has a hashtag now, too: #pedorazzi. Expect every actress, mocktress and formerly-famous-but-still-secretly-yearns-for-attention mom to jump on this one. (You know who won’t touch it? A proper A-lister… like Jennifer Garner.)
I could give Kristen the benefit of the doubt and assume “pedorazzi“ is her way of describing someone who takes pictures of children. Or I could be a realist and infer that she is comparing paparazzi to pedophiles. In which case a giant ARE YOU F-CKING KIDDING ME? is due. Celebrities have to stop comparing being photographed to being sexually violated, abused, raped etc. You are not protecting your child from a pedophile, you are protecting him/her from a photo. It is in no, way, shape or form the same thing. It is a ridiculously insensitive and offensive and self-serving analogy. It is an insult to survivors of abuse. It’s f-cking dumb.
So let’s end this with more wise words from Kristen Bell:
“Guys, I’m a mama bear now. If you mess with my cub, you’re gonna get the horns. #nokidpolicy”
Bears have horns?