A Danish comedian set off an Internet powder keg when he posted a Facebook photo of himself in the bath with his young daughter.
Danish comedian Torben Chris set off a tempest in a bathtub this week when he posted a photo of himself taking a bath with his two-year-old daughter, and some commenters actually accused him of pedophilia. Rather than pulling the photos and running away, however, Chris hit back at the critics, pointing out that it is ridiculous to call the photo “gross” or worse, because he and his daughter obviously have no problem with it, and the only people perceiving anything sexual about the situation are strangers on the Internet.
“Listen: Children and adults can be naked together,” Chris wrote on Facebook, according to Metro UK. “There is nothing wrong with a father who washes his daughter’s bottom and vagina when she’s a child. On the contrary, it is bloody disgusting if nobody does it, and unfair if only the mother does it.”
He’s right. It’s ridiculous that anyone would suggest that diaper and bathing duties belong only to the mother because they would be somehow untoward coming from a father. Fathers bathing with daughters is not inappropriate. Mothers aren’t safer than fathers, and it is irrational and unfair to treat fathers as automatically suspect.
Lots of people bathe with their small children, and it is completely normal and harmless. Toddlers have to get clean, and bathing together can be an excellent time-saver. And a lot of kids love bathing with their parents, just ask any mother who can’t take a bath by herself because the kids come barrelling down the hall the second they hear the water running.
As Parent Educator and Early Childhood Specialist Karen Deerwater writes in a hand-out on bathing, bodies, and privacy from Andorra Pediatrics, small children are not adults, and they do not look at nudity or bodies the way adults do. She says that as long as small children and fathers are comfortable with the situation, bathing and showering together is fine.
“Showering with Dad is perfectly all right at this age,” Deerwater explains in the case of another 2-year-old girl showering with her father. “… The time to stop showering together will always be relative to beliefs about nudity and attitudes about our bodies. Each family is different. Some people are not comfortable around nudity at any age while others don’t have a second thought about it.”
Posting the bathtime photo to Facebook might not have been the best idea Chris has ever had, though. It’s the sort of photo that might be OK in a family setting but potentially quite weird or embarrassing in public, and until Facebook gives us a way to filter out photos of hairy strangers in bathtubs, it’s probably not the sort of thing a lot of people are prepared to see popping up on their feeds. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with Chris’ bathing with his daughter, and accusations of pedophilia are completely uncalled for.