Last night, a fellow SB mama tagged me on Facebook.
“Hey Mary Evelyn Smith, isn’t this your beautiful family?”
I clicked on her comment, which led me to a cheesy Facebook meme.
Umm… What. The. What?
Our family photo, taken last May as part of my mother’s day gift, had been swiped from the blog (or maybe my FB page or Pinterest, that vile temptress of Internet trolls) and turned into a sappy meme about parenting a child with special needs. It had over 1,400 “likes” and had been shared almost a thousand times.
I was not amused.
I know it may have been well meaning, and I like to think that whoever did this simply wasn’t thinking, but I have some serious issues with the situation.
Top 5 Reasons My Undies Are in a Bunch:
- The picture was used, manipulated, and shared without permission from myself or (more importantly) the professional photographer who took this photo. That means it’s stealing, ya birdbrains.
- It makes my family, and especially my son, the poster child for someone’s cause without my permission, which feels dehumanizing. (He should not be the poster child for disability parenting BTW– he should be the poster child for Gerber because he is the cutest man-child in the world.)
- I have no control over any unkind, thoughtless, or silly comments made regarding this photo because I did not share this image and I am not the moderator of the page it was shared on.
- I don’t like inspirational meme’s— especially ones about disability (we can talk about that another time).
- It’s totes not my style, yo. What’s up with the twinkling Pinocchio star in the top right corner? Unless you think us special needs parents have stars shooting out of our heads or fairy guides telling us how to parent, it’s simply a bunch of ridiculous whimsy. That star defies all reason– and it’s not even cute.
Suffice it to say, I wasn’t cool with this.
I rallied my SB buddies and we messaged the page, asking that the image be removed.
And it was– except it wasn’t. This morning at work, a friend stopped by my desk to let me know that she had seen that photo before. On a different site…
Two months ago. (Da dun dah!!)
So it’s out there and whatever and maybe I sound like a hypocrite (after all, I DID manipulate that image of Voldemort a while back and perhaps it hurt his mother’s feelings) but I am shocked by how many parents of children like Simeon have experienced similar privacy violations with regards to their children. I have no illusions of privacy online. I know that the Internet is a wonderful, wacky, and untamable beast– but it doesn’t mean I don’t care about how images of my child’s face (and my own!) are used.
So please, if you want to use an image from this site, shoot me an email, ask me (and the photographer) for permission, and — for heaven’s sake– leave the corny stars, cheesy slogans, and froo-froo stuff out of it.