In a society where men are still described as ‘babysitting’ their own kids when mum’s away, it’s perhaps unsurprising reactionary types would balk at the sight of a proud dad showing affection to his daughter.
However, the reaction to a simple peck on the lips between David Beckham and his daughter Harper has been blown out of any reasonable proportion; sullying the most innocent of gestures.
TV presenters and Twitter commentators alike have waded in to create debates out of thin air; defining without invitation the parameters of decency and decorum which surround kissing your own child. Can it be directly on the lips? Can they be over the age of five years old? And so on and so forth it went.
The big question appeared to be among certain curtain twitchers, should he have kissed his own daughter at all? With the implication, of course, that he absolutely shouldn’t have done.
Slipped between comments which praised David’s parenting skills and bond with his daughter were comments of a more sinister nature; which brought unnecessary shadows to the sweet moment.
What was notable however was the number of parents who rushed to David’s defence, sharing their own joy at showing their little ones affection and expressing shock at the prism through which the picture was being viewed.
Many even shared pictures of their own, which showed them proudly kissing their own babies and children on the mouth.
As one father put it:
I kiss my boy each and every day and thank god this gift of life was given to me. It’s called a father’s love.
What a lovely picture. My girls when they where little would place both hands on my face and kiss me.
Of course, the problem really lay with the sort of people – and the sort of world – which sexualises even the slightest of mouth-to-mouth kisses; projecting layers of innuendo where there aren’t any.
Harper Beckham is only seven years old and her mouth and her kisses should not be viewed under any circumstances as being romantic or sexualised. It isn’t fair or healthy to bring connotations to this kiss beyond what a seven-year-old child would be able to understand.
Why then has it become fair game to scrutinise this picture for anything ‘creepy’ or untoward? And what is it about lip-to-lip contact between a parent and a young child which causes such discomfort? These are the real questions we should be asking ourselves.
There are as many different types of kisses as there are ways to greet a friend or begin a conversation. You can kiss a pet between the ears, a grandparent on the cheek.
There are of course passionate kisses between lovers, but such acts are far removed from kissing your child, with no comparison made whatsoever.
Anyone offended by David Beckham kissing his daughter on the lips is simply a twat. #DavidBeckham
— Gaz Walmsley (@gazwalmsley) November 27, 2018
— Jo Jones Photography (@JoJonesPhotogr1) November 27, 2018
This sort of overblown reaction is particularly damaging for the confidence of fathers, who might all too often already feel ill at ease with expressing affection for their children.
Mothers are expected to cuddle and mollycoddle their children, while fathers are all still taught to keep their distance; to provide for their family and remain stoic.
David Beckham has long been one of the world’s most public examples of a hands-on parent; eager to spend quality time with his children and unafraid to show his love for them.
To all the bellends that are complaining about David Beckham kissing his daughter on the lips… get a fucking life you absolute snow flake c**ts!
— Kevin Slade (SD&CC) (@KevinSladeSDCC) November 27, 2018
I don’t get why David Beckham is getting slated for kissing his daughter. What’s the world coming to u can’t even kiss you’re own child. What u supposed to do high five them?! It’s a joke
— David Cotterill (@cotterill_david) November 27, 2018
Of course, it would be easy to relegate the sneers and disgust aimed at the Beckhams to particularly gruesome internet trolls on the very fringes of society.
However, David’s Instagram pic quickly made it to mainstream media sources, ‘debated’ over with open repulsion and mockery on Good Morning Britain.
Piers Morgan – who has previously described Daniel Craig as ’emasculated’ for carrying his baby daughter in a papoose – ridiculed the kiss as being ‘creepy’ and ‘weird’, even accusing David of deliberately trying to cause outrage.
David Beckham getting shit for kissing his little girl on the lips?! You having a laugh?! If you see something sick or wrong in that it’s YOU that needs to check yourself and watch what’s going on in your mind 🤦🏻♂️ Christ.. it’s not someone else’s daughter and she’s like 3 not 33
— Nick Nevern (@NickNevern) November 27, 2018
— Laurie (@Laurie_Fryer) November 27, 2018
How are fathers in the world supposed to feel when such simple gestures of affection are treated with such suspicion and disdain on such a public platform?
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.