I always chuckle to myself when people say that my wife, a stay-at-home mother of three, “doesn’t work.” In fact, I’m quick to say, “Oh, she works — and I think she works harder than I do.”
I mean it, too. When you consider all the value moms create — the mouths they feed, the educations they steer, the endlessly important financial decisions they make — you understand that they steer society itself.
That’s why the social-media phenomenon of mom-shaming is so abominable. Surely you’ve encountered it: Strangers take it upon themselves to lecture mothers who’ve posted largely innocent snaps of their families online.
Tori Spelling experienced it this year when she shared a picture of her four children heading back to class on their first day of school. Random commenters soon flooded the post with criticisms of the kids’ physiques and how Spelling had dressed them.
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“What I see ‘wrong’ is the T-shirts look old, the necks are completely over stretched, plus they’re not ironed,” debbieblatt_16 said, according to USA Today. Janfitmom added, “She needs to feed them (tons of protein).”
But even if Spelling and her children had looked like a million bucks, I suspect that online “experts” would’ve found something to complain about. Model Chrissy Teigen has faced plenty of shaming from randos on the internet.
According to Brit + Co, people once critiqued the way in which she held her baby in a snapshot, saying she was lugging the youngster “like a handbag.” Other images drew ire for her failure to properly layer the child’s clothes before going out.
People even critiqued the infant’s supposed lack of emotion in pictures. “Imagine being this miserable,” Teigen wryly wrote in a tweet, posting a screen cap of some of the most egregious comments.
Yet if Teigen thought clothing choices could prompt anger in others, she should know it was nothing compared to what Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” was about to face. What was her crime?
Did she show an image that evidenced obvious neglect of her children? Did she share a snap of some controversial kind of discipline?
Not at all. Instead, Gaines posted a photo on Instagram of her new baby, Crew, laying on a pediatrician’s examination table. “Weigh in day at the doctor,” she wrote.
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The comment section exploded. Why? Well, everyone suddenly thought it was a great opportunity to share his opinion on vaccines with Gaines.
“Please don’t vaccinate!” one individual wrote, according to Romper. “Vaccines contain glyphosate and many other toxic ingredients that cause cancer and other side effects like asthma, autoimmune disease, and SIDS!”
Another stated, “Vaccines are dangerous, and if people love their kids, they won’t inject them with these poisons!” Now, it’s certainly fine to have a strong opinion about vaccines one way or another.
But when did it become acceptable for complete strangers to insinuate that a mother of five doesn’t love her children if she pursues a particular course of action? It isn’t acceptable, and it never has been.
Herein lies the main problem with social media mom shaming. Mothers work hard, and our speech should be seasoned with grace — both offline and online.
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