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This Mom Discovered Her Baby's Photos Had Been Stolen And Edited To Change Her Eye Color To Blue

Jayden's photo is one example of a growing community of Instagram users who search for cute photos of people's children, alter certain facial features, and then lead public voting on the different features.

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Caroline Enterfeldt is the 27-year-old mother of two children: a boy named Maximilian, 4, and a baby girl named Jayden, 1. She also runs an Instagram page that primarily features cute photos of Jayden, with occasional 'grams of the entire family.

Caroline's account for Jayden (@Lilcocooo) has already gained a following of over 10,000, with a handful of close, enamored followers.

Nearly every photo of the 1-year-old is flooded with heart-eye emojis and gushy comments.

Jayden's photos are frequently reposted to aggregator accounts by strangers. After she shared this photo a few weeks ago, Caroline told BuzzFeed News she noticed several photoshopped images of her daughter cropping up over and over on different accounts.

instagram.com

Caroline said the account @chrysusbitch was the first to tag Jayden's account with an alteration of her eye color from brown to blue. The account also posted the original image. "First, I didn't think so much about the edit," Caroline said.

Instagram: @chrysusbitch

"I'm so confident with my daughter's beauty, and for me she's perfect as she is," the mother added.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to @chrysusbitch — who has watermarked this photoshop — for comment.

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Caroline grew concerned when she saw that she'd been tagged in numerous random accounts with the same altered version of Jayden's eye color. "I've been tagged many times on the pic," she explained. "When it turned out to be this big, I'm starting to think why they edited it and for what purpose."

Instagram: @shqip

The photoshopping eventually gained the attention of YouTuber Laila Loves, who criticized the accounts for what she believed were attempts to make babies "cuter" online.

I'm SICK of seeing people edit pictures of babies to what they believe social media will find "cuter". She's beauti… https://t.co/22Dee1Ogjh

Her tweet inspired conversations of "fetishization" and systemic "colorism," drawing arguments that some people believe certain features are more desirable than others.

@Lailaloves It's so weird. People fetishise kids waaay too much.

Mostly, the practice has creeped a lot of people out.

OMG this is weird AF! Some random page took that beautiful baby's photo and edited it themselves? It's making me ir… https://t.co/S7S80uRVpY

Caroline told BuzzFeed News she does not take too much offense to the photoshopping, but she is irked by how much the blue-eyed edit of her daughter has been posted. "I'm just annoyed that the photo is everywhere," she admitted.

I find this so repugnant and disgusting https://t.co/Kv0HGltsBi

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The Instagram account that Loves called out eventually removed the edited picture of Jayden, and re-uploaded the original. (But they've since deleted their account). When contacted, the woman who ran the account told BuzzFeed News she was "shocked" to see all of the backlash, but she understood the criticisms and tried to rectify the issue.

Instagram: @curls_and_braids

The woman, who's based in France, identified herself by the pseudonym "Lafricaine." She said she created the account to share photos of "women with curly or braided hair...which please me and which can please my subscribers."

She said she saw the photoshopped version of Jayden first, and did not realize her eye color had been changed.

So when she realized she had been blamed for the photoshopping, she deleted the photo.

"It was not my goal. It was a mistake which I learned from," Lafricaine said. "People thought that it was me who had made the editing, or that I approved the photoshop on a baby."

She explained that she's black, and her only goal was to share images of women of color and their hairstyles.

Jayden's photo seems to be one example of a growing community of Instagram users who search for cute photos of people's children, alter certain facial features, and then lead public voting on the different features.

Lafricaine pointed BuzzFeed News to another Instagram account called @dailyshqip, where she said she stumbled upon the photoshopped image of Jayden. The account, which has over 7,000 followers, appears to be a curated page of altered images of strangers — and their children.

Instagram

This account takes on the same model as the others, often lightening the color of children's eyes. In the caption, the account encourages people to choose between the different versions.

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The edits also seem to extend beyond eye color. This series of edits from @chrysusbitch also include a version in which freckles are added to a child named Maya (who does not have freckles).

Instagram

Maya's mother told BuzzFeed News she does not "necessarily mind" the edits. But she does think this Instagram culture promotes unhealthy standards of beauty.

"I am not a fan when pages ask viewers to vote on 'which one is prettier'," she said. "It is unrealistic and silly to compare artificial edits to real life."

"These type of comparisons contribute to the self-esteem issues we see plaguing many young girls today," Maya's mom adds. "There are real, every day people behind these photos."

Instagram: @ohmy_maya_

Some users claim this image of a child has both been photoshopped with a new eye color and had eye makeup layered on.

Instagram
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One account called @exquistebae has tried to retaliate against the naysayers, writing in a heated caption that they see nothing wrong with the practice. "HATERS WILL GET BLOCKED," they wrote alongside one photo of a child.

UPDATE

The post has been updated to include responses from the mother of a child whose image had been stolen and photoshopped by the Instagram account @chrysusbitch.

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

Contact Tanya Chen at tanya.chen@buzzfeed.com.

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