I was at a party a couple of days ago and mentioned The Blog Thing to my friends. Strangely enough, they are excited to see what I'm writing.
One friend was...um...stunned...when they asked if I was putting pictures of Caitlin on the web and I responded with Yes. Let's take a sec and talk about that.
I am trying, somewhat, to remain anonymous on The Blog. No last names, you won't see me refer to my actual name and no locations are given other than Colorado. The only folks that can blow that would be those that know me. However, I consider you a discreet lot. (That's a hint, there, that is!) These actions should make me a little harder to find by the creepy stalker types. Oh, and the fact that I'm completely unknown in the blogging world, no one (other than friends and family) is reading this (at the moment), thus no creepy people are likely to show up either.
So what are the issues surrounding putting pictures of The Beebs up on the web?
Well, there's the possibility of creepy stalker types coming to try to grab her. I, in my normal state, wander around paranoid as hell that someone is going to try to grab her. She is ridiculously beautiful, you know she is, so my anxiety is already high on that score. She doesn't play alone in the front yard and when she's in the front because I'm gardening, I don't let her out of my sight. She can't even go to the end of our block where I can't see her without my getting a tightness in my chest and holler for her to come back. I constantly keep an eye on her.
Doesn't make for the most zen gardening sessions, either.
However, as we know via research, the greatest danger to The Beebs is not strangers, but people she knows. According to the Prevent Abuse Now site's Child Abuse Research and Statistics, about 95% of victims know their abusers. There is that remaining 5% that are assaulted by strangers, but let me assure you, should anyone wish to harm my child they will not survive it when I find them. And I will.
There's also the possibility of creepy people ogling her pictures for disgusting uses. I won't go into detail here, just so I can avoid showing up on a weird Google search. You know exactly what I mean. These folks will find pictures of children everywhere to have disgusting thoughts about. As it is, we don't stay closeted in the house all day, every day, either. We do go out in public, where the great unwashed masses can see me and my daughter in public, in real life. There are likely to be creepy scary people that have disgusting thoughts then and I cannot stop them. I can't stop people on the internet and I cannot stop random strangers that see us in person, therefore I do not consider it a reason to panic. I cannot live my life fearing all of the unknowns of the stranger/male gaze. Those people exist, I agree. So long as they do not approach us we will all be fine.
What would my alternatives be? To never go into public again with my child? That's unrealistic. Wear a burqa? Absolutely not.
The Religious Right is already working madly to remove women from public view. I will not give in to them and their song of fear and even my own paranoia about men coming to take my daughter. Those are the contents of my worst nightmares and have been ever since she was born. However, it doesn't mean those nightmares will come true and I cannot teach her to be afraid.
My job is to teach her to be strong. To be self reliant. To know her true value. To be able to defend herself. To kick ass and take names. To fight back.
Besides, to limit myself and my self expression on this blog (such as it is), to keep from posting pictures of one of the largest parts of my life? How could I do that? She would become That Which Can't Be Named. Completely and utterly bizarre. This is not a one topic blog, like a political blog. This is my space to talk about completely random things. One of the biggest "things" in my life is Caitlin. And Eric. And gardening. And my cats. And (especially) photography. I can't help but photograph her, write about her and share those thoughts and pictures with you.
I love Caitlin more than I can ever possibly express to you and I need to share that. To share the stories of What She's Done Lately, the good and the bad. I always have. This place is just the next logical outlet.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Trust in me. I will not let such harm come to my child.