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16th May 2016

Are people right to criticise this image of a father comforting his child on Facebook?

A family has come under fire for posting an image of a father and his son on Facebook.

Photographer Heather Whitten posted the image of her son Fox being comforted by his father when he has suffered food poisoning.

The image was originally posted in 2014 but Whitten has republished it, now fully explaining the story and meaning behind the image.

She writes:

“This was November of 2014, Fox would be hospitalized that night for salmonella poisoning.”

“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.”
“It was a powerful moment for us as parents. Our intuition was starting to fire off that this was much more serious than just a virus but we’ve had much more experience with over reacting than not so we were trying to hold off.”
“As I sat in the shower with the two of them I was just overwhelmed with the scene in front of me. This man. This husband and partner and father. He was so patient and so loving and so strong with our tiny son in his lap. His whispers of reassurance to Fox, that he would be ok and that Thomas would take care of him were so steady and so honest.”

To them, it was a beautiful comforting moment but many commenters are questioning the reason for the nudity and the image.

There are over 19,000 comments on the photo, some of which are aggressive and slanderous.

“I consider myself a great dad and have comforted my children many times when they’ve been ill including cleaning them up after vomiting but never once sat them on my naked penis to do so. I just don’t understand the need for the nudity other than for creating a buzz on social media. At least wear some swimming trunks, jackass!” writes one father.”

Whitten defends the image.

She writes:

“My family may be different than yours. But, that doesn’t make your way right or my way wrong. You may never take images of your family like I do… you may never share images of your family like I do. But, that doesn’t give you the right to silence my voice. To take away my right to share our experiences in an uncensored way.”
“There is nothing sexual or exploitative about this image. There aren’t even any “private parts” showing.”

Reaction to the image continues to be mixed. Let us know what you think in the comments.