Poor North West cannot catch a break from the paparazzi. The pint-sized Kardashian-West is so over the constant clicking of cameras in her face, whether she’s just trying to go to ballet class or sprawl out on a couch in a fur coat. And recently, she went to the Museum of Ice Cream with her famous mum Kim, where the photographers were waiting for the famous fam as they made their way to their car. Tiny North screams at the paps, with all her might, “No pictures!,” while she’s holding her ice cream. She’s really not having it and has no qualms about making that known. She looks annoyed, sounds even more distressed, and regardless of how adorable she is, it’s absolutely heartbreaking to see a child so upset.
Look, just because Nori’s parents are famous does not mean that she is on public exhibit. Her parents’ choice of career should not infringe on her ability to go outside undisturbed and simply be a kid. What kind of impact will this maniacal intrusion onto her personal space have on her as she develops? She is a child, she is literally only four years old, and for her entire short life she’s always known the flash of cameras following her everywhere she goes. How can she develop a sense of self in her body? How will this add to the stress of adolescence as she ages?
These questions helped form the basis of 2013 California law that fines paparazzo for taking photos of celebrity children, and how it constitutes harassment. Unfortunately, the photographers still follow North West, the Jolie-Pitt children, and Suri Cruise, trying to snap an image that will pay them thousands. Breaking the law is enticing when the potential payout is so lucrative.
Many people shift the blame onto her parents, specifically her mother Kim Kardashian West, but to do so absolves the paparazzi — and indeed, ourselves, as the consumers of these images — of culpability. Kim may enjoy having her photo taken, but North clearly does not. Kim is also an adult and can consent to pictures, while North cannot. At her age, she may not even understand why the cameras are following her around in the first place. North’s bodily autonomy deserves to be respected. In a world where femme-identifying bodies are already seen as entitled public property, North should be allowed to grow up free to define her autonomy as she sees fit. Chalking this up to a “Kanye moment” further takes away her agency. Given that she’s repeatedly voiced displeasure at having her photo taken, we’d like to see the paparazzi respect her wishes.
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