Somewhere out there on the Internet is probably a forum for paedophiles to go and chat about the pressing issues in the world of paedophiling.
It’s not a stretch to imagine that one of them might take a camera with them on holiday. See a young girl. Make comments about the bikini she was wearing, and comparing her with her mother. Watching her getting in and out of the swimming pool. Sitting at a distance and using the zoom feature on his camera to get in close to take pictures of her. The little girl – five or so years old – has no idea that she’s even being watched, as she looks at her red painted fingernails. The man with the camera, watching, he’s noticed them. He zooms in to take a photo of them.
Okay, that was horrendously creepy and all kinds of wrong. But it is – give or take – exactly what happened. Except it wasn’t on a paedophile forum, it was in the Daily Mail. The girl was Suri Cruise, photographed extensively on her dad’s 49th birthday.
There’s nothing new here – the Mail have had an unhealthy interest in the life of this child since at least 2008, when she was just two, in a piece containing the caption “Suri wore a red dress co-ordinating with her mum’s tartan tunic”. As though Suri had picked it out herself.
Since then, they’ve written literally hundreds of articles, in which she:
Whether or not her life is newsworthy (it’s not), this is an absolutely mad situation, as the Mail’s own Alison Boshoff explains:
Because this is no ordinary five-year-old — this is Suri Cruise, and the helicopters contain paparazzi desperate to get a shot of the little girl who is surely becoming the most photographed child in the world.
The Mail is, of course, complicit in all of this. The articles contain reference after reference to her looks and clothes in a horrible, horrible attempt to sexualise her. The headline above – Now little lady Suri Cruise stops traffic in a pair of dress-up heels – is about a three year old. We all know what the implication of “stopping traffic” is.
The article continues: “She topped off the girlie look with a rah-rah skirt, pink T-shirt and a clam-shell handbag.” The “girlie look”. It’s not a “look” when you’re three, for fuck’s sake.
Predictably, they want it both ways, with a further article complaining:
Girls as young as three are being offered high heels by fashion stores despite growing concerns over the sexualisation of children.
They may argue that because Suri has famous parents, she’s in the public eye and the press are fine to take photos. The useless and widely ignored PCC Guidelines stop that, by stating:
v) Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child’s private life.
In cases involving children under 16, editors must demonstrate an exceptional public interest to over-ride the normally paramount interest of the child.
We’d also like to point out that other famous kids, like Brad Pitt’s spooneristic daughter Shiloh, don’t get much of a look in. Could it be that Shiloh is a tomboy, while Suri has a cutesy, playing-dress-up look? Couldn’t possibly be.
At the time of writing, their Suri Cruise archive (a one-stop shop for all your pictures of a child in a skirt, in heels, in make-up, in a crop top and so on) runs to NINE pages. From the paper that’s staunchly against the sexual exploitation of kids.
Final word goes to the Mail, who blame their obsession on the Cruises – for not stopping the paper from buying agency photos of the child:
The little girl – already one of the world’s most photographed children – seems destined to always be the centre of attention, and the Cruises seem happy to ignore for now the problems that may bring in later life.
Turns out that it’s not the Mail’s fault at all!