While we may not be living in the dystopian 1985 surveillance world George Orwell feared so much, we certainly aren’t as far from it as we like to think. With social media and everything from banking to food delivery being done at the tap of a button, it is easy for our every move to be tracked. However, this feeling of constant surveillance is amplified for the famous, not only can their friends and family see every move they make, but so can the whole world. While we have some control over the photos and words we post online celebrities do not, and their children have even less. This stripping of autonomy and self-control is the result of decades of media outlets hounding celebrities for a glimpse of them at their worst, best, and everything in between.
Between paparazzi hiding in bushes just to get a glimpse of Blake Lively’s baby bump to people chasing after North West just to get paid for a blurry photograph, people have become obsessed with watching every move of these A-list celebrities. Many mask this obsession with admiration, but when children are legitimately being stalked for the pleasure of consumption by the general public it can never be labeled as admiration. However, what needs to be considered is whether we are the problem or is it the media. Perhaps it’s both.
Gigi Hadid’s reluctance to show her daughter Khai’s face has brought some negative light onto the supermodel. While most mothers would be respected for their personal preferences in how they raise their children, Hadid is often slandered for how little she exposes her daughter to the world. In May of last year, Hadid posted a picture with her daughter for mothers day, with Khai’s face blurred or hidden in all of them. Despite the loving gesture, heartfelt caption, and clear evidence of Hadid being a loving mother people still managed to paint her as a villain for obscuring her child’s face. Some comments called into question the young mother’s love for her child, one commenter even saying that Hadid ‘Shouldn’t show her baby at all. It’s like ur craving attention’. But one must ask why we feel privileged to take a look into a very intimate aspect of someone’s life simply because they are famous. Additionally, even if we did get to see this very important part of Khai’s identity what is stopping the internet from ripping it apart and damaging a young child’s self-esteem before they are even three years old? Furthermore, Khai is the daughter of a woman who has been in the limelight since she was very young, and even now people are criticizing who she was at 14, 15, and 16 years old. Perhaps, like most parents, Hadid is simply trying to protect her daughter from going through the same difficulties she had to face as a child in the spotlight.
Maybe if we let go of this control and ownership we feel we have over children that aren’t ours, celebrities would feel more inclined to share these aspects of their lives with us, or maybe they wouldn’t. Either way, it isn’t anyone’s place to monetize, obsess or degrade children simply because their parents are famous.