London, England–This story is so outrageous that while reading it I kept thinking, “There’s got to be more to this.” But apparently there isn’t. Men have become so stigmatized that even taking pictures of your kids on a water slide in a public park can get you into trouble. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to confront the negative images of men and fathers in the media, including in TV commercials.
These images percolate through society and have a large impact. From Father-of-three branded a ‘pervert’ – for photographing his own children in public park (Daily Mail, 7/15/08):
Family man Gary Crutchley only wanted to take a picture of his children enjoying a day out. But his innocent snaps of his sons on a slide ended with him being branded on the spot as a ‘pervert’. The woman running the inflatable slide attempted to stop Mr Crutchley from taking pictures of his two youngest children Cory, aged seven, and Miles, five. And when he pleaded his innocence, other families waiting in the queue also demanded he stop taking pictures. Mr Crutchley – who had only photographed his own children – was so enraged that he fetched two policemen to confirm he had done nothing wrong. He said today: ‘What is the world coming to when anybody seen with a camera is assumed to be doing things that they should not? ‘This parental paranoia is getting completely out of hand. I was so shocked. ‘One of the police officers told me that it was just the way society is these days. He agreed with me that it was madness.’ The 39-year-old rubber consultant and father-of-three from Reedswood, Walsall, was with wife Tracey at the Wolverhampton Show when their sons asked to go on an inflatable slide. He said: ‘I started taking photographs of them having a good time. Moments later the woman running the slide told me to stop. ‘She told me I could not take pictures of other people’s children. I explained that I was only interested in taking photographs of my own children and pointed out that this was taking place in a public park. ‘I then showed her the photos I had taken to prove my point. ‘Then another woman joined in and said her child was also on the slide and did not want me taking pictures of the youngster. I repeated that the only people being photographed were my own children. ‘She then said I could be taking pictures of just any child to put on the internet and called me a pervert’… Wolverhampton councillor Malcolm Gwinnett, whose daughter Tracey was running the ride, said: ‘Our policy is to ask people taking photographs whether they have children on the slide. If they do, then that is fine. But on this occasion another customer took exception to what the man was doing and an argument developed between those two people that continued without any further involvement from staff on the slide.’
To read the full article, click here–thanks to the many readers who sent it to me.