Navigating social media is hard for every parent. But for celebrity moms, every post or share is up for discussion — and often that discussion verges on shaming.
The latest celebrity mom to run into trouble on social media is actress Jenna Dewan Tatum. Dewan Tatum, mother of a four-year old daughter with her husband actor Channing Tatum, posted a picture on Instagram of herself from behind wearing black lingerie with the caption, “Cheeky balcony series.”
The photo set off a firestorm of comments from her followers. Many other mothers felt the photo was inappropriate and let her know with comments such as “You have a kid … Shame on you” and “She’s a mother and married. SMH, disappointed at Jenna.”
But not everyone disapproved. Some commenters left supportive comments like “You look fabulous!” and “Stunning,” praising her terrific figure. Many people even spoke out against the mommy shaming itself, saying, “Get it!!!!!! Body confidence is beautiful” and “You can still rock it all you want!”
Dewan Tatum has made it clear that she is very comfortable with her body. Although she didn't directly respond to any of the comments on her photo post, she did post an image to Instagram the next day with the quote, “You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building up one another instead of letting each other down.”
I have never been that comfortable with my body — and it’s not because I’m a mother. I wouldn’t have posted a photo of my naked booty because I am more self-conscious than Dewan Tatum. She looks incredible and clearly has good genes, eats well and does a lot of squats. Would I post it if I looked as good as she does? I really can’t answer that.
Dewan Tatum’s daughter is only four years old. Does what she does now really have an impact on her daughter’s future self esteem? I'm not sure it does. Dewan Tatum is an actress and her line of work will probably result in her being photographed in outfits that are way more provocative than this was. Maybe when her daughter is older, it will be more of an issue — but I’m still not convinced.
What is definitely problematic is the hate this woman received simply for posting a photo of herself in her underwear. Is it really okay for other mothers to publicly condemn her or question whether or not she is a good mother based on a single photo?
Sue Scheff, author of “Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate,” says no. “Jenna's decision to post that image is her choice,” Scheff says. “Those that decide to throw insults and shame her are the ones acting like children.”
Worse yet, those parents are modeling the type of bullying behavior that we try to combat in our kids. “We tell our children not to be mean to each other and that if they have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” says Scheff. "This is especially true with online comments where what you say is permanently on display. Our failure to instill empathy has created a culture of cruel.”
Contrary to what some people seem to believe, there is no such thing as perfect parenting. “Mom shaming is only someone flexing their insecurities online,” says Scheff. “If they cared about you, they would either give you a constructive message or privately email you with words of wisdom not criticism.”
Was it wrong of Dewan Tatum to post these photos because she is a mother and it sets a bad example? Or is the mommy shaming that these pictures solicited the real problem? Share your perspective in the comments.