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Old 07-24-2006, 07:31 PM   #1
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Between Art and Child Abuse

Taking more than candy?

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STEAL a toddler's lollipop and he's bound to start bawling, was photographer Jill Greenberg's thinking. So that's just what Greenberg did to elicit tears from the 27 or so 2- and 3-year-olds featured in her latest exhibition, "End Times," recently at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles. The children's cherubic faces, illuminated against a blue-white studio backdrop, suggest abject betrayal far beyond the loss of a Tootsie Pop; sometimes tears spill onto naked shoulders and bellies.


While the political motives for photographs are somewhat childish in themselves, my question here is this:

For the sake of an image, is it appropriate or permissible to inflict an emotional trauma on an infant?

The photos themselves are fine. The method used to capture the images start down a dark road.
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:44 PM   #2
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I don't think that's abuse. What about siblings? We stole toys and such from each other every day, pushed each others' buttons.

I don't think I'd take my baby to a photoshoot like that, but I don't think that's abuse.

If "emotional trauma" is the concern, what about all the studied about the attachment stages of toddlers, where mom's leave their babies alone to see if they cry. To me it's like that. Not my idea of a good time, but not abuse.
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:45 PM   #3
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Re: Between Art and Child Abuse

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


For the sake of an image, is it appropriate or permissible to inflict an emotional trauma on an infant?

The photos themselves are fine. The method used to capture the images start down a dark road.
I'm not sure a one time taking of a lollipop really inflicts any trauma, at least any they will remember 5 minutes later when they are given the lollipop back.

What's the dark road?

Photographers have photographed crying babies for decades greeting cards, commercials, TV they've all used crying babies...I wondered why their methods have been questioned?
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:51 PM   #4
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I doubt I would do that to a kid to get a pic like that, but that's because I don't like to see them cry . I agree with Liv, I mean, there are worse situations, and we as siblings (I was the big sister from hell ), parents, "responsible" adults, do that to the kids every day, and they are capable to get over those little "dissapointments".

as fair as I know, you can't order a toodler to cry (with real tears and everything) without any reason
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:15 PM   #5
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In the LA Times article today, it was stated that at least one of the kids involved didn't even remember the incident. The kids had the sucker, they had it taken away from them for 20 seconds or so, then they were given even more suckers for their trouble.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:55 PM   #6
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I was the Big Sister From Hell. My sister and I are only 22 months apart. I once hit her in the head with a top. We survived it intact, and are very close.
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Old 07-24-2006, 09:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
In the LA Times article today, it was stated that at least one of the kids involved didn't even remember the incident. The kids had the sucker, they had it taken away from them for 20 seconds or so, then they were given even more suckers for their trouble.
I skimmed the article this morning, also.




It is hardly child abuse,
I have seen two year olds scream like that
if you won't give them more ice cream
or just say "no".

the art is interesting
the lighting, color and emotion
i won't be buying any


more examples here


the photographer may be a

monkey abuser, too. (call peta)

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Old 07-24-2006, 09:52 PM   #8
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Thank you for the responses. Some interesting measuring sticks used as reference for this situation.

If we compare this "trauma" to what we have experienced in life, is it still appropriate or permissible to poke the child with a pin to get the crying? Any physical act that does not scar?

What if you told a 5-year old that their mother just died (yet, they will see their mom in just a few minutes, so the "trauma" is brief)?
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Thank you for the responses. Some interesting measuring sticks used as reference for this situation.

If we compare this "trauma" to what we have experienced in life, is it still appropriate or permissible to poke the child with a pin to get the crying? Any physical act that does not scar?

What if you told a 5-year old that their mother just died (yet, they will see their mom in just a few minutes, so the "trauma" is brief)?
do we compare taking a lolipop away for twenty seconds

and telling a child their parent is dead?

i have seen expressions like those in the photos on all of my nieces and nephews at that age

i think most parents do


just go to a super market
where a kid is pushed down the cereal isle, they often throw fits if they don't get want they want.
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


What if you told a 5-year old that their mother just died (yet, they will see their mom in just a few minutes, so the "trauma" is brief)?
How is this comparable to a 2 year old and a lollipop?
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep


do we compare taking a lolipop away for twenty seconds

and telling a child their parent is dead?

Yeah, quite a difference.
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:41 PM   #12
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It's different because you say so? Perhaps we can go beyond just thumbs up and down on situations.

These are incriments of emotional trauma
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
It's different because you say so? Perhaps we can go beyond just thumbs up and down on situations.

These are incriments of emotional trauma
Any child psychiatrist would tell you the same.

Most 2 year olds won't even remember an incident such as this 2 minutes later.

A 5 year old would, and they would definately remember their mother missing even if it was for 24 hours.
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:06 PM   #14
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Okay, thank you for getting back to discussion.

Is it just a measure of how long someone would remember the trauma?

You didn't address the physical trauma. If young children do not remember it, is that a deciding factor?
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:17 PM   #15
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I can't get the link to work, so I may be missing the bigger picture here, but one red flag that immediately comes to mind for me is the fact that the trauma (or whatever you want to call it) being inflicted here was inflicted solely for the purpose of creating and enjoying a spectacle. And perhaps the fact that we immediately respond by rationalizing "Well, big deal, it's just a lolly and she got another one" might be a problematic way of avoiding the question of whether it's generally acceptable to use trauma to create a spectacle involving children.

If my younger son (I should say "when," as he actually just did this about an hour ago) snatches something from his little sister (who then screams bloody murder) because "I had it first!" or "That's mine!" or "She's gonna break it!", well, no biggie--I just intervene then give him a brief talk about sharing, politeness, etc. I'm not particularly worried about what such interchanges say about either of them: it's common and normal for a kid his age to react reflexively, and without thought to other kids' perceptions of his behavior; it's common and normal for a kid her age to react with intense, inarticulate rage. However--if I got the impression that my son was doing this because he considered seeing his sister cry a reward all by itself, and especially if that became a pattern, then that would worry me, and then I'd feel that perhaps a little more than brief admonitions were called for.

I don't have enough insight into what goes on in my daughter's head to know whether she'd find the latter more traumatic than the former; she's too young to express such nuanced feelings, in words, yet. Perhaps at such a young age, all minor affronts seem the same regardless of intent. But there's no doubt in my mind that if I let such a dynamic continue, and a pattern developed over the years of him picking on her for what are essentially sadistic reasons, then yes, and within just a couple years at most, she would "pick up on" his enjoyment and resent it intensely, and the damage would likely be more lasting than garden-variety sibling squabbles over who gets to choose the channel, etc. I'm certain of this because I went through it myself with my next oldest brother--he was an often angry and combative kid (now an often angry and combative adult), I was smaller than he was, and too many times to count I became the convenient object of his wish to humiliate and overpower someone. It's not like he broke bones or anything, but I did resent his behavior intensely and as a result, our adult relationship got off to a shaky start; it's taken us years to get around the various mutual distrusts and resentments stemming from that. So I can understand why, in principle if nothing else, someone might find this artist's tactics problematic. I would never let my kids do this to each other--why should I let some stranger do it to them?
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