My first experience with mom shaming

Last week, Prairie and I were visiting the home of my sweet friend Sara of @usdrifting. It was a hot day here in the Mojave, and Prairie and Sara’s daughter Stella inevitably ended up naked splashing in a tub of water. At one point Prairie put on Stella’s fairy wings and climbed up in their van to check it out. I snapped a quick pic of her little backside with her fairy wings on peering out of the van’s portal window. It was such an adorable moment and one of those serendipitous times when you just happen to pull out your phone and capture what turns out to be one of your fav pics ever.

Needless to say I was super excited to share the pic on Instagram, and more excited still when one of my favorite online mags, Mini Style, asked to repost my photo on their feed. Mini Style has a much larger audience then I do, and immediately likes and comments started pouring in- along with countless comments of how cute the scene was, out came the “concerned moms” with their judgmental comments about me showing my daughter’s butt.

Now I am of the opinion that a cute baby bum is just that- a cute bum. Naked babies are cute! I am not the first person to think that by a long shot.  Baby bottoms have helped to sell countless bottles of copper tone sunscreen. They’ve made Anne Geddes a millionaire. They’re represented in art from the days of classical painters like Raphael, all the way to classic rock album covers. The only way there’s sexual value to an innocent picture of a baby’s bottom is if you assign it that.

Now some people may disagree with me and choose not to post pictures of their children’s butts. And that’s fine of course. But to leave mean comments accusing me of “exploiting my child.” Wow. Just wow. That’s mom shaming right there and that is so not okay.

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(Above is of the many comments on mini style’s post and on my own. I even responded to one commenter but I guess she wasn’t ready to continue the dialogue beyond her concern-troll comment.)

If you see a picture of Prairie buckled into her carseat the wrong way or something else life threatening that I am inadvertently doing, then sure by all means, please send a (politely worded) heads up. I may or may not agree with your advice, but I will definitely  appreciate you taking the time to look out for me. But what exactly is life threatening in your opinion about me posting this pic? A pedophile might look at it? Are these moms some kind of pedophile experts who know that a non-sexual bum pic is gonna be way more appealing to pedophiles then a face or full body shot? Are these moms aware that there are literally millions of baby bottom pictures readily available? Hell, those pedophiles could go stock up on Nirvana and Led Zeppelin CDs to get their baby butt fix. I think people say they’re being protective but really they’re being puritanical.

 

This weekend’s firestorm made me think a lot. While I do sometimes question putting our lives out there on social media at all- I still really truly don’t feel there’s anything worse about posting her bum then her face.

I have been very lucky in that this has been my first time really experiencing mom-shaming on social media. My followers have always been very supportive of me. But I know it is very prevalent, and that is such a bummer. Why do moms not support each other, why do women not support each other, why do people not support each other? Let’s all check our judgment, or in the very least work to express our concerns in a  kind, constructive manner.

Hopefully all the people that found time to “helpfully” comment on my picture and eventually have it taken down spend as much time advocating for victims of actual crimes as they do policing the internet in their misguided efforts to prevent future ones. If any of you “concerned” commenters are reading, here’s a good place to start: Polaris Project for Freedom from Human Trafficking.

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “My first experience with mom shaming

  1. This is beautifully worded. Mamas should be the biggest supporters of other mamas because we understand best the joys, fears, and frustrations of motherhood. Also baby buns are the cutest. Can we please stop sexualizing children?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry you went through that Geneva! I agree with so much of what you said, and think it’s really a shame that children’s bodies are sexualized in that way. Just awful! But I do have to point out that I think some (certainly not all) of the commenters were genuinely concerned about Prairie’s safety/privacy regarding images being used on child pornography sites. Like you, I cannot fathom why a picture of a baby’s bottom would be circulated by pedophiles when there is other material (like the Nirvana album cover, as you mentioned), but I can’t pretend to know anything about how that sick and twisted corner of the internet works. I saw a couple of comments where moms shared their own heartbreaking and disturbing experiences with that, and I have to think that if it happened to me, I would want to warn another parent. But I also think there is a kind way to say it, and you still have every right to post a photo of your child without having to feel guilty about it. I know you must be sick of talking about this issue, but I wanted to provide perhaps a little different perspective, and show that although there was absolutely some mom shaming, and thinly veiled puritanical belief peddling going on, there might have been more moms that were totally on your side and just wanted to help you protect your daughter. But at the end of it all, I hope your confidence was in no way shaken, and that you always know how amazing of a mother you are. Even from the little glimpses we get through Instagram, it is so clear!

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