Being a parent isn’t always easy – especially when you add fame into the mix. No matter how influential a person may be, they can still receive criticism. But sometimes, the unwanted advice crosses the line into plain old shaming. Just ask Jessica Simpson, who in July 2019 faced a backlash after posting a snap of her daughter on Instagram. And when fellow celeb Pink heard about the haters, she jumped in to have her say.
It’s fair to say that singer Pink isn’t known for holding back her opinions. Take her 2006 track “Stupid Girls,” for instance, which pokes fun at several other stars – Jessica Simpson included. But when Simpson was judged for a parenting decision in 2019, Pink immediately jumped into action.
Unfortunately, mom-shaming seems to be relatively common on the internet. Famous parents who post pictures of their children on social media can expect to receive cascades of negative feedback. But while some commenters simply want to offer advice – however unsolicited it is – others can be downright cruel.
One person who’s all too familiar with this is Chrissy Teigen. Yes, the model has had criticism aimed her way several times – and she’s made no secret of how sick of it she is, either. In 2017, for instance, after seeing complaints on Instagram about what her daughter was wearing, she wrote, “Imagine being this miserable. We are fine, thanks.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Teigen’s husband, John Legend, is tired of the shaming as well. In 2018 the singer told Entertainment Tonight, “People… see one photo, and they want to make judgments about how people live their [lives]. And I think the best advice for all of us is let parents be parents, and don’t criticize on what you see on social media.”
But alas, some people don’t seem to have listened to Legend’s sage suggestion. In 2018, for example, Gabrielle Union was told off by social media users for giving her daughter a peck on the mouth. And the actress – who’d suffered through several miscarriages before having her child, Kaavia, via a surrogate – responded with a poignant comment of her own.
Union wrote on Instagram, “I appreciate all the concern about kisses on the mouth and labored breathing. I am blessed enough to have a nurse here with us while at work. Kaav is healthy, and I don’t even touch her without washing and sanitizing myself and everything and everyone that comes into contact with her.”
That’s right: even the most natural of acts can rile up the trolls, it seems. In 2016 actress Mila Kunis spoke to Vanity Fair about being judged for breastfeeding her daughter. She said, “Why did I do it in public? Because I had to feed my child. She’s hungry. I need to feed her, whether it’s out of a bottle or out of my boob – no matter where I was.”
Apparently, you see, onlookers had sent Kunis some “shameful” glances while she’d been nursing her child. She went on, “I think it’s unfortunate that people are so hard on women who choose to [breastfeed] and do it in public. In the States and in our culture, we sexualize the breast so much that… people just don’t know how to wrap their heads around the idea of showing your breast in public.”
Meanwhile, some mothers have been called out simply because of what their kids wear. And children dressing outside of their assigned genders appears to be a particularly hot-button issue. Charlize Theron, for instance, has received abuse on social media for her son sporting a frock. So has Transformers star Megan Fox to boot, whose little boy Noah apparently likes to dress as Elsa from Frozen.
It’s important to note, though, that fathers – not just mothers – can get criticized in the parenting department. For example, in June 2015 a snap of Ryan Reynolds carrying his daughter in a baby sling went around the web. And commenters subsequently slammed the dad for apparently having the little girl in the wrong position. A month later, Reynolds told Today, “I’m a first-time dad, and that is not the first mistake I’ve made, and I can guarantee it won’t be the last.”
Yes, sometimes the targets of online criticism are guilty of nothing more than minor mistakes, it seems. But while mom-shaming and dad-shaming aren’t anything new, social media has made it incredibly easy for people to blow small missteps out of proportion.
In 2018 writer Liz Greene penned an article for the website Role Reboot called, “Parent-Shaming Is Changing the Way We Raise Children. Here’s Why It Needs to Stop.” And in it, she noted, “These observations aren’t meant to encourage a beneficial change; they’re meant to belittle other parents and make the shamer feel superior.”
Other commentators have also spoken about the parent-slamming trend. In 2016 ABC News interviewed sociologist Dr. Christine Carter, for example. And she said, “Clearly, if a child is in immediate danger or is being openly abused, you can’t let that go. [But] usually, when we do something [that] intends to shame someone and can’t possibly help them learn anything, it’s really just an attempt to make ourselves feel better.”
Someone who’s no stranger to this form of criticism is reality star and mom Jessica Simpson. Currently, she has three children: daughter Maxwell, who was born in 2012, middle child Ace, who arrived a year later and a little girl called Birdie, whom she gave birth to in March 2019. And Simpson raises her kids with her husband: Eric Johnson.
Incidentally, Simpson welcomed both Maxwell and Ace in the space of just over a year. And in 2013 she opened up to Parents.com about the experience. She explained, “Because I had just had Max, so much was familiar to me, and that really helped me through my second pregnancy. Eric and I are calm and supportive. We take parenthood one day at a time, but sometimes we have to reassure each other and say, ‘We’ve got this.’”
And in July 2019 Simpson talked to People magazine about some of the struggles of being a mother. “Three kids is no joke,” she said. “It is definitely constant, and the biggest challenge for me is trying to be present when I am pulled in so many directions. They are all in such different phases now.”
But despite Simpson seemingly trying her best to be a good mom, she has faced criticism over certain parenting decisions. People have complained about her son, Ace, wearing his hair too long, for instance, about Maxwell donning bikini tops, and so on. And at one point, the negativity apparently got so bad that Simpson removed some pictures of her kids from her Instagram account.
Meanwhile, Pink – a.k.a. Alecia Moore – seems to have experienced similar issues, too. In 2018 the singer told People, “The thing about parenting is you never know if anything you’re doing is working. That’s been the most humbling thing for me.” Pink has two children with ex-motorcyclist Carey Hart: daughter Willow Sage and son Jameson Moon.
And when it comes to unwanted parenting advice, outspoken Pink isn’t here for it. This was evident in July 2019 when she posted a snap of her daughter. Along with the image, the pop artist shared a rather sarcastic caption. She wrote, “Here’s a picture of my child running through water. It wasn’t even filtered. What a waste of water. And no helmet? I hope she had sunscreen. If she slips and falls, she may be traumatized for life.”
Pink continued, “And her mother wasn’t even there. I was….. gasp…. working!!!! In another country!” The performer closed off her post with an emoji giving the middle finger and the words, “F*** the parenting police… If you feel like unfollowing, please, God, do it quickly.”
Given Pink’s history, then, it’s perhaps not surprising that she reacted when fellow mom Simpson faced the wrath of the ‘parenting police,’ too. What was the actress’ offence, you ask? Well, she’d taken her seven-year-old daughter, Maxwell, to Los Angeles hair salon Nine Zero One and had allowed her to have the ends of her blonde hair colored.
Apparently, Maxwell had wanted to dye her hair after seeing Dove Cameron’s purple locks in Disney’s Descendants. And while the movie’s official social media account had tweeted its appreciation, other people had been – let’s just say – less than happy. “Why start ruining her hair so young?” one commenter had written, for instance.
You see, Maxwell’s age seemed to be the source of most of the judgement, with people posting comments such as, “Isn’t she too young to have her hair dyed?” and, “The new color makes her look older than her age.” Another Instagram user announced, meanwhile, “This is toxic, and it causes damage to the hair.”
Actually, there is almost no harm in dying a child’s hair, according to professionals – as long as it’s being done properly in a salon, of course. And this was indeed the case with Simpson and her daughter. Obviously, there is always the risk of allergic reactions, but good stylists will check for this on small portions of the hair or skin.
It’s important to note, though, that some followers did come to Simpson’s defense on the post. One commenter wrote, “It’s not like Jessica allowed her to do drugs; it’s a little hair color. Haters, grow the heck up.” And another said, “I let my daughter dye her hair ends blue at the start of [the] school year when she was younger. It gave her so much confidence.”
But Simpson’s most high-profile defender was Pink. On August 2, you see, Pink stuck up for her fellow celeb mom by posting some pictures on Instagram of her dying her own daughter’s locks. Plus, she wrote, “I heard people were bummed on Jessica Simpson for letting her seven-year-old get her hair colored. So we thought we’d share what we did yesterday.”
However, it was Pink’s hashtags at the end of the post that sent the most powerful message to any haters. They read in order, “Blue hair don’t care,” “Get your own kids,” “Parent police are actually just lonely, sad people,” “I’ll dye your hair, too, losers” and finally, “Oh look ma no comments.” If you were wondering, this last hashtag was there because Pink had disabled the comments for that post.
In fact, Pink seemed to have turned comments off for all of her Instagram posts that contain snaps of her family. Pleasant pictures of her partner and brood on holiday in Italy and Switzerland, for instance, are available for all to see, but nobody can write anything below them – only hit the like button.
But unfortunately, even the power of Pink wasn’t quite enough to hold back the tide of mom-shamers. Later on in August, Simpson posted a picture of little Birdie in a buckled seat. She wrote beneath the snap, “This bird couldn’t be more adorable.” And straight away, the star came under fire once again.
One person commented, “That hard buckle should be on [Birdie’s] sternum instead of her belly to be optimally effective and not cause more harm if a car accident would happen (God forbid!)” And another wrote, “Straps on this car seat do not provide correct support.” But while presumably well-intended, these comments were unwarranted.
You see, Simpson’s daughter wasn’t actually in a car seat: she was strapped into a stroller. And as a result, multiple people sprang to the actress’ defense – just like Pink had done the previous time. “I came here specifically for the parent police comments and was not disappointed,” one person wrote alongside a rolling-eyes emoji and a middle finger one.
Other commenters, meanwhile, were even less impressed. One Instagram user wrote, “It concerns me that people are unable to tell the difference between a car seat and a stroller. Some of y’all should have kids.” And another pointed out, “People are soooo quick to correct someone. It’s a damn stroller – not a car seat. How ignorant.”
Despite the support from some of her followers, however, Simpson had seemingly had enough with the trolls. Yes, it looks as though the reality TV star followed in Pink’s footsteps and turned the comments feature off on her Instagram post of Birdie sitting in the stroller.
In a way, Pink standing up for Simpson is a little surprising. That’s because back in 2006 the singer released “Stupid Girls” – a track that lampoons several big female stars of the time. In the music video, the pop singer spoofs Paris Hilton’s infamous sex tape, for example, and impersonates Lindsay Lohan hitting people with her car.
Simpson, who at that point in her career was infamous for her sexy appearance in the 2005 movie The Dukes of Hazzard and a public split from singer Nick Lachey, was another one of the targets in “Stupid Girls.” In the song’s video, Pink washes a car in Simpson-inspired Daisy Dukes, while singing the lyrics “Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?”
And this isn’t even the only musical slam that Pink has delivered towards Simpson. In the punk-pop singer’s 2008 track “So What” from the album Funhouse, she sings, “The waiter just took my table and gave it to Jessica Simps. I guess I’ll go sit with drum boy – at least he’ll know how to hit.”
However, Pink insisted that the song’s words aren’t meant to insult Simpson. Back in 2008 she told website PopEater.com, “Everyone thinks I’m trashing Jessica Simpson, but I’m actually not at all. I’m actually saying that she’s cooler than me because the waiter keeps taking my table and giving it to her.”
But if any bad blood did exist between the two celebrities, Pink coming to Simpson’s aid in 2019 suggests that that’s no longer the case. Plus, Pink seems to believe that all females should support one another. The pop star said to E! in 2017 about the Harvey Weinstein case, for example, “The silver lining is that women are having [one another’s] backs.”
And Pink definitely believes in solidarity between mothers. In 2017, for instance, she wrote on Twitter that a fellow mom had approached her in a grocery store and had told her that she feels empowered by her parenting. Why? Because Pink “isn’t afraid to f*** up in public.” The singer added, “I wish us mamas could give ourselves and [one another] a break.” Yep, that says it all.