The ‘Coppertone’ Redux and Facebook’s Reaction

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So we’ve all seen it: Coppertone’s illustration of a girl in a swim suit whose puppy is tugging on her bikini bottoms and showing off her tan line. When it first appeared years ago in Coppertone’s marketing toolbox, it was harmless. For one, it was an illustration. Secondly, it was a different time in society. That’s not to say perverts didn’t exist at that time, but the Internet and Facebook didn’t, so it wasn’t as easy for images of children to be exploited. Even Coppertone seems to recognize this, having created a new Water BABIES® logo illustration that shows a child clothed with a dog tugging on the edge of her suit – no skin exposed.

Though it is a shame that our society has to have so many protective barriers in place to keep kids safe, and keep them safe from complete strangers in cyberspace, it’s necessary. That’s why Facebook banned a picture of two girls on the beach that was taken and posted by their photographer mom who lives in N.C. The picture is supposed to be a recreation of the Coppertone ad, but one big different, it’s another little girl tugging on the bikini bottoms rather than a puppy. The mom is outraged and feels Facebook has no right to ban her and the photo. 

I see both sides of the argument, but in the age of weirdos online, I lean to the protective side. I don’t even like to name my child on Facebook, and my husband surely doesn’t want me too. Not to mention that one day that little girl in the photo her mom posted will grow up and someone might track that picture down, which could be a wee bit embarrassing to her. I think it just makes sense to save those kids of cute photos for the family and close friends. Set your privacy settings, or better yet don’t share them on Facebook, use another method of sharing online. I know for one that I often forget who I’ve friended, and I don’t necessarily want all the people that I’m connected with to see everything I post about my child.

So what do you think? Is it OK for this mom to be mad and feel she’s not in the wrong, or should the image be censored?