Monday, March 30, 2015

Haters Gonna Hate…or, What Not to Not Wear (according to you)

I’m going to veer off my “ABC’s of child modeling” path for a little bit today.  I’m going to tackle something BIG.  And by BIG, I mean…something along the lines of breast vs bottle, two-state solution, vaxxing…let’s just say, those HUGE controversial topics you see on the internet and either jump in with your two cents (or $20) or hide that person’s posts because it gets old.  This one is really sensitive, though, because it’s about our own children.  And we are all fiercely protective of our own children.

A few months ago, the mother of 9-year-old child supermodel Kristina Pimenova (“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”) took to the media to shame the people who criticized her daughter’s photos.  Many people are SO QUICK to jump on the – and I really don’t know a better term for this, so help me out if you can better name it – “slut-shaming” train and call out parents whose children pose for pictures in outfits that some may feel to be overly revealing.  Or, some may object to the pose itself as too sultry or something like that.

A few days ago, a photographer did some work with a beautiful group of NYC child models and posted a picture on the internet.  The photo was beautifully styled, the girls looked gorgeous – but the girls were dressed in ways that caused some major-duty haters to spew some major-duty hate.  The photo and the kids themselves aren’t significant here, because this can happen at any time to any kids.  We model moms, however, do have kids in the public spotlight – so maybe you’re thinking we deserve the public criticism?  Like, maybe it’s okay to slut-shame Kim Kardashian because she made a sex tape, so all bets for respect for privacy are off?  But let’s add kids into the equation here – face it, we choose their path in this industry – and now it becomes open season for attack on parenting, and I’m going to circle back to the whole breast vs bottle here, and suddenly EVERYONE KNOWS BETTER THAN THE PARENTS THEMSELVES.

I happen to know many of the moms of the girls in the photo of issue, and I know that these are really great moms who really love their girls and want the best for them.  I’m not going to offer up any of my own reactions to the specific outfits because if I really wanted to, I would direct anything I wanted to say personally and privately to the mothers.  Where I’m going with this…and I realize that I’m not being entirely clear as it’s Monday and thankfully I don’t have an editor flailing over my head telling me my writing is crap today…why do people need to be such a$$holes as to call out moms and CHILDREN they do not know, in the name of imposing THEIR OWN values on someone else?

My wife and I (yes, I said wife, and if that’s an issue for you I hear plane tickets to Indiana are cheap this week) have some pretty clear opinions about what our daughter should and shouldn’t wear in photographs.  No panties visible, no bare chest, and for the most part, a general rule of thumb to be “age appropriate.”  I’m on the fence with bathing suits, but if Hanna or J.Crew wanted to put us on a plane to a random tropical island to shoot bathing suits?  HELLO!  Yes, we’d be happy to come!  (As an aside, if your child is in the industry, get a passport NOW because we were caught without one when my daughter got a hold for a shoot in COSTA RICA and I had to pay all the overnight mail and expedite fees and then stressed about not getting it on time…but she didn’t book…but I won’t have to worry about that again.)

Bottom line?  If you don’t like what you see, don’t look at it.  Don’t hide behind the veil of the internet and the precarious anonymity it provides to send hateful messages and comments to people you do not know.  You are not better than they are and they do not need you complicating the monumental challenge of parenting any more than the challenge already presents.  If you believe you see pictures somewhere that are bona fide exploitation or abuse of children, address those through proper channels.  If you see pictures of child models that make you think, huh, would I let my kid do that?  Have a dinner table discussion.  Decide your own boundaries for your family.  If you feel burning passion to follow up, get involved with a cause that actively protects children from sex crimes – I read a pretty harrowing op-ed piece on that the other day and I can say for certain, THAT is a cause that needs some attention.  Call out the ACTUAL pimps who exploit young teen girls.

And…take a moment to reflect on your own parenting.  Read a few extra pages tonight.  Throw an extra carrot in the lunchbox.  Snuggle a few more minutes at bed time.  Actually look at that thing your kid did on minecraft and has been prattling on about for an hour.  Just turn around your feelings against some other parent and use the energy to be a little more parental to your own kids instead.

Very fairly, a couple of my friends just called ME out for this, saying HEY, DI, YOUUUU did talk about this picture with us!  And I realized that I do not want to come off as a hypocrite -- yes, I did talk about it.  But you know what?  It was a discussion among friends.  Would we -- would we not -- and we all had stuff to say.  We agreed on several points.  But for the most part, we all know and respect those moms enough to handle anything we wanted to say in an appropriate and civil manner.  And again, my point perhaps didn't come through very well.  But here is my opinion:  DO NOT try to shame people you do not know.  DO NOT jump on bandwagons of HATE just because it's dangling out there in front of you.  And that's all MY opinion.  Maybe I'm being overbearing here?

Tell me if you disagree.  I'm really curious to hear multiple perspectives.  I'll be happy to publish your reactions.  Comment here, on The Bizzy Mama on facebook, or drop me an email at

Next time...NO!  REVISION!  I'm going to publish multiple an open and civil manner...please share your own!

Later this week: our first go-see.

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