It’s moments like these that remind us how beautiful and powerful the naked body really is.
A couple of weeks ago, photographer Heather Whitten posted a photo to Facebook worth more than a thousand words. The photo shows Whitten’s husband Thomas naked, holding their son, Fox, who was sick at the time and also naked, as both Thomas and Fox take a shower together.
The image sparked controversy on Facebook, who reportedly took it down on more than one occasion, but has since put it back up. “This photo was mistakenly removed by our team and does not violate our Community Standards,” a spokesperson for Facebook reportedly said of the photo. “We are sorry for this mistake and have restored the photo to the page.”
Whitten’s original post reveals that at the time of the photo, taken in 2014, Fox had been suffering from salmonella poisoning. “Fox would be hospitalized that night,” she writes, adding that Thomas “spent hours” in the shower with Fox, who sadly had liquids coming out of both ends of his body. Below, the full post.
“My family may be different than yours,” Whitten writes. “But, that doesn’t make your way right or my way wrong. You may never take images of your family like I do… you may never share images of your family like I do. But, that doesn’t give you the right to silence my voice,” she continued, adding that there’s nothing “sexual or exploitative” about the photo. And yet, people tried to sexualize it.
“Looks like pedophilia and child molestation,” one user commented.
“The male better be wearing some swim trunks cause if.he’s not he’s a creep!” another said.
“We were getting into the shower!” Thomas replied. “Why am I going to let my puking son puke for a minute or two extra while I go find my swimming trunks?” He also suggested that people wouldn’t “think twice” if the photo had been of a mother and daughter in the shower. “For guys, it’s a little more forbidden,” he said.
Whitten’s photo comes at a time when the Internet is still figuring out what to do with naked pictures. We have Kim Kardashian posting nude selfies, Chelsea Handler showing us her boobs over and over again and of course, eggplant pics aplenty. But not all forms of nudity are sexual.
If it hasn’t already, Whitten’s photo should put it all into perspective for you. In a beautiful, eye-opening way, this father-son image reminds us that the human body in its natural form is a source of comfort, healing and nurture.
Sometimes, our bodies don’t have to be sexual at all. They can just be.
Is it empowering when Kim Kardashian, Chelsea Handle and other celebrities post nudes to social media? Find out what some of us here at VH1 think in the following clip.