Garbage Pail Parenting 1970s Style

Keeping An Eye On Your Child

photograph by Ricardo J Ferro St. Petersburg Times 1970

I was trying to think what people would say if they saw a scene like this in a park today.

Would they call the police? Would they confront the woman?

Probably not directly. They would just take use their cellphone and take a video or photos, share it on social media and shame the woman. Then the public outcry would lead authorities to track her down and charge her with “child abuse.” Geesh.

Certainly times have changed. Garbage pails are no longer considered appropriate playpens.

The photograph titled “Is This Your Litter, Lady?” was taken by Ricardo J Ferro of the St. Petersburg Times. The photograph won first prize in the 1970 National Press Photographers Association annual competition for feature photography.

After some contemplation there are two other things that crossed my mind. If the mother of the child saw this in the newspaper when it was published, did she buy multiple copies as keepsakes? Finally does the child who is now 50 years old or so, know of the existence of this photograph?

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3 thoughts on “Garbage Pail Parenting 1970s Style

  1. Brian

    Although this photo is surely a joke, I can attest that parenting was far more lax in the 70s. I had parents who were considered overprotective at the time, yet I had freedoms that today’s kids couldn’t imagine.

  2. Anthony

    This must be staged. The “mother” would have certainly noticed a photographer kneeling just feet away. The basket is too clean, and no trash is lying around, which would have been the case if the mom had emptied it and turned it over. Even then trash bins would not be somehow fixed so they could not be stolen or knocked over.


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