When you have naturally red hair, people seem to think it makes it OK for them to do certain really annoying things. Women constantly grab strands of your hair, hold them up to the light and exclaim about how people pay all of the money to get that hair color and so you should never, ever complain about anything in your life because you couldn’t possibly have problems because you have naturally red hair. Men, particularly in places where alcohol is served and/or on the middle school basketball court, ask if the carpet matches the drapes.
As a relatively well-adjusted adult, I find myself able to brush these things off as minor annoyances. But as an incredibly shy child, they pretty much ruined my life on the regular.
Enter Ariel from The Little Mermaid, who was a strong, independent woman and who had the voice of an angel and whose hair looked just like mine. Suffice it to say, Ariel was a pretty important figure in my childhood life. Normally, when it comes to casting movies, even if I don’t agree with the actors who land the roles, I shrug and move on with life because there are more important things to worry about. But when it comes to Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, the idea of Lindsay Lohan in the title role simply will not stand.
Lohan posted a side-by-side comparison of herself and Ariel to Instagram, presumably because she’s pitching herself for the role.
Lindsay Lohan wants to play Ariel in Little Mermaid 2
Lindsay Lohan wants to play Ariel in Little Mermaid 2
Lohan definitely looks the part, which is great. If this were based on looks alone, she would nail it, and I would shut up and happily buy my tickets to see the movie. But there is one really, really big problem with the idea of Lohan playing Ariel. She can’t sing Ariel’s music. I know that saying that is going to irritate some Lohan fans out there because she did take a respectable stab at a music career. But Lohan simply doesn’t have the right sound for the delicate soprano songs that Ariel sings. I don’t want a pop-punk version of Ariel. I want the songs I used to dance around the kitchen singing as a little girl. I don’t think Lohan can deliver that.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the previews that have come out for Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast remake, it’s that the music cannot be an afterthought to casting a famous face for the role. Emma Watson is an incredible actress, but her extremely heavily auto-tuned version of “Something There” is an irritating mess of a great song. Disney, don’t make the same mistake twice.
Welcome back to Parental Advisory, where I answer all of your social media and IRL parenting etiquette questions. This week, let’s talk about “baby bump” pictures on Facebook.
I’m 8 months pregnant. Let me start out by saying that I am not that person that uses social media as a cry for help/sympathy, political stances, or to say “never forget.” I just use it for fun. You won’t find many selfies of me. My pics are mostly of the city or my dog, and once I have my baby girl, I’m sure there will be pics, but in most of them she will have a stupid hat on, or adult sunglasses. I never wanted to put pics up of my ultrasound, the same way I never wanted to put engagement pics up, or even have them taken. It’s the same reason why I won’t put up a bump pic. Actually, I’m lying, I do want to do one because at this point, my husband and I have just about the same size gut, but he’s not going for it. I would just do it in jest or in a self-deprecating way, because why not?
People ask me, actually ask me, “Where are the bump pics?” There is one picture of me 5 months pregnant from my cousin’s engagement party. I posted it because I was wearing a great dress. I’m 5’9′ so I didn’t really start to show until about almost 7 months. I had someone comment, who was at the party with me, and ask why she hadn’t seen any other “bump pics.” I told her it was because I don’t want to put them on Facebook. Mind you, I can appreciate the excitement, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Mommie Dearest type, but it’s just not in me to react the way she wanted me to, or the way she would have. Maybe I don’t like the attention, maybe I just don’t want it. I’m not about crying out, “Look at me, I’m pregnant!” I definitely have some pictures that I have taken, but those are for me to send to my husband or sister, family, etc…privately.
When people have questioned me, I am proud to tell them that I don’t feel the need to do it. Maybe it’s out of spite for every idiot that I have to deal with on Facebook on an almost daily basis, pregnant or not. You always hope that people would respect your answer and opinion and I stupidly think that people will share my thinking, that it’s a breath of fresh air that I am not caving in, but no, it’s where the shaming begins. “Why not?” “You have to!” “Don’t you want everyone to know?” My question is: When did Facebook become the end all/be all? When did people start living their lives by it, as well as the lives of their unborn child? I missed that train.
In many ways, K., your questions are a reflection of what so many of us are thinking but dare not say on Facebook. To criticize how people use Facebook today is to admit that you’re not entirely comfortable with the highly performative aspects of social media, which is a sentiment that drifts further and further away from acceptability. Perhaps 10 years ago, Facebook didn’t so closely resemble a theatrical production, with everyone “playing their parts,” but it’s since blossomed into, essentially, a 24/7 soap opera in which we are all the players. Some people have leading roles – we all know who they are – while the rest of us remain in minor roles until something big comes along, like a job promotion, a cross-country move, an engagement, a wedding or – everyone’s favorite! – a baby announcement.
Most people are bit players in the never-ending Facebook production of our lives, and they seize the opportunity to rise in the ranks. They’ve been meagerly liked, always anticipating a big announcement or “reveal” of some kind, and they’ve been waiting for their time to shine. They want the likes, the praise and the 35 comments that all say, “Congrats!” and they cannot, and potentially will never, understand why anyone in their right mind wouldn’t carpe diem the shit out of a pregnancy, which lasts a whopping nine months. Even if a woman doesn’t announce her pregnancy until the second trimester (which I personally recommend, and which was discussed here), she has ample time to (over)saturate Facebook with belly pics and soak up all that superficial love. Who wouldn’t want in on that, right?
And yet, there are actually a lot of women just like you, K., who are turned off by the hype, feel awkward about being celebrated (on Facebook, at least) just for getting knocked up and who don’t necessarily want to share images of their bodies just to rake in all of that fleeting adoration. You’re certainly not alone in recognizing that this is all a dog and pony show; it’s just that we haven’t yet entered the era in which people can be critical of such things aloud without suffering some kind of consequence.
If you say out loud, “Bump pics are stupid,” or, “I think bump pics are a cry for attention,” you’re at risk of offending a large percentage of your Facebook friends. After all, the original target age group that’s grown up with Facebook is the demographic that’s been procreating like crazy for the past decade. Mark Zuckerberg himself now has a baby, and his sister Randi, who was a Facebook executive for years, has written a children’s book and now speaks about “modern day etiquette on the internet” after becoming a parent. Everyone and their mother (soon-to-be grandmother!) has or is having kids, and many do choose to participate in over-the-top pregnancy announcements, baby bump pictorials and/or elaborate professional photo shoots. Some people even update Facebook on behalf of their fetus, ’cause they know all that self-promotion has an end date (i.e., the start date of a new cycle of post-birth baby spam), and they want to savor those moments right up until the minute their water breaks.
The issue, as you said, is that you’d think more people would be in favor of a friend choosing not to amplify her pregnancy by shining a literal spotlight on her belly. And it’s possible that day may be just around the corner. We’ve really all seen plenty of baby bumps by now, haven’t we? Even Beyoncé couldn’t resist a maternity photo shoot, and not just because she’s Beyoncé, but because it’s what the internet demands. I assure you, if Beyoncé hadn’t released a series of images that include being surrounded by piles of gorgeous flowers and swimming underwater draped in chiffon, her own friends would’ve been like, “Hey, Bey, you gonna do a photo shoot or what?”
No one can escape the madness of the bump pics. That said, I do believe there’s a lurking, undeniable desire for fewer bump pics, and certainly not more bump pics. Sure, your mom friends or friends from high school or whatever might be encouraging you to post a new belly picture each month, but if the inherent honesty of internet memes is any indicator, the majority of the people you’re friends with can go the rest of their lives without watching their friends’ pregnant bellies expand on a month-to-month basis, day after day, year over year.
Therefore, I think you’re doing everything right, K. You’re “living your truth,” which is not to draw extra attention to the baby you’re about to give birth to simply because you’re not into it. Sticking to your guns during the pregnancy will serve you well, because if you think people are on your ass to post more photos now, just wait until you have the baby. People will try to convince you to post a new picture every day, if not every hour, because they’re… I don’t know… bored at work? Really into pictures of swaddled infants? Happier to see an innocent child in their newsfeed than stories about our new nightmare administration?
Even if these reasons are all valid, you don’t have to succumb to pressures on social media, and it’s helpful that you already know and practice that. People can continue to revolve their lives around Facebook and judge others based on how little or how much they reveal about themselves or their kids, and you can just sit back and watch without reservation. You also have a unique opportunity before you, which you can choose to take or not, to freak out your friends to the point of wishing they hadn’t bothered to ask for bump pics in the first place. You’re almost full-term, so if the mood strikes, don’t be afraid to take the bump pic of all bump pics as a hearty response to all those lingering requests.
Sometimes in life, we must be careful what we wish for.
Congrats on embarking on motherhood, K.! Good luck fending off your future baby’s fans.
Do YOU have a question about parents on social media? Send whatever is on your mind to stfuparentsblog AT gmail.com!
A Twitter account that has long been rumored to be Bynes’ secret personal account has been posting photos and updates claiming to be engaged to someone named Matt and expecting a baby.
The account isn’t Bynes’ verified @amandabynes account, but it has some pretty personal photos, you know, like Bynes hanging out with an ultrasound wand at a doctor’s office. A lot of the posts on the alleged personal account have been deleted in the last few days, and tweets from Bynes’ verified account insist that she is not the owner of the @PersianLa27 account, which allegedly hacked her personal Instagram to steal the photos.
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 1
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 1
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 2
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 2
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 3
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 3
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 4
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 4
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 5
Amanda Bynes Twitter hack 5
Right after those tweets were posted to Bynes’ verified account, though, @PersianLA27 came right back, insisting that she was the real Bynes and posting photos to prove it. The account holder also claims that Bynes’ parents run the verified account, and that it can’t be trusted.
There’s not really any proof one way or the other whether the account is legit. It has some pretty personal photos, but it’s true those could have been hacked from Bynes’ phone or another social media account. The most definitive proof that it’s not Bynes comes from Ary Morales, a recent graduate from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, who claims the account was tweeting once while she was in class with Bynes, who wasn’t using her phone at the time.
Good digestion isn’t as simple as chewing an after dinner mint. If five people sit down to dinner the chances are that one of them will suffer from indigestion. The simple truth about indigestion is that in the vast majority of cases the symptoms can be cured permanently by getting rid of bad habits and replacing them with good, new ones.
It’s a scary time for most people in this country right now. Bigger than the need to see more minorities on television and in film, people are downright scared over the future of their most basic rights.
How do we get through it?
Well, for one, with speeches and support from people like Washington, who inspire us and continue to encourage us to get up and fight.
He won Best Actor for his role in Fences at the NAACP Awards last night and instead of talking about himself, his role and the other cliché lines we get from these award shows, Washington chose to speak about everyone else.
“August Wilson is one of the greatest playwrights in the history of American, or World, theater. It is a privilege, an honor, a responsibility, a duty and a joy to bring his brilliance to the screen. I am particularly proud and happy about the young filmmakers, actors, singers, writers, producers that are coming up behind my generation. In particular, Barry Jenkins. Young people understand. This young man made 10, 15, 20 short films before he got the opportunity to make Moonlight. So never give up. Without commitment, you’ll never start. But more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish. It’s not easy. If it was easy, there’d be no Kerry Washington. If it was easy, there’d be no Taraji P. Henson. If it were easy, there’d be no Octavia Spencer. But not only that, if it were easy, there’d be no Viola Davis.”
He added, “Keep working. Keep striving. Never give up. Fall down seven times, get up eight… Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.”
I’m taping this speech on my refrigerator and every time I feel down, I’ll be referring to Denzel. Here’s to standing up no matter the struggle.
Claire is sitting at her white wooden table in her playroom. A small chair is pulled up to its edge, her light-pink teapot and matching cups are lined up in front of her. She wears a pastel striped T-shirt with a ruffled edge on each shoulder and nothing else but a diaper. The curls at the back of her head are still wet from her bath earlier that morning and her bangs are pinned back with a purple bow hair clip.
I wish she knew how perfect she is.
I sit in a chair opposite her and marvel at her complete unawareness of her body and the things she might someday think about it. The things someone else might someday think about it.
Her small, dimpled legs hang over the side of the chair and her rounded belly pokes out from under her shirt. I think about my 15-year-old self standing in the bathroom mirror, lamenting my too-soft tummy. I chipped away at my flaws with an eating disorder that left me counting calories on a small piece of paper I hid inside my dresser drawer. One day, my cousin put his hand around my wrist. “You’re so skinny!” He had no idea that what he meant as an insult felt like validation.
I lean forward and kiss Claire’s cheek. “I love you so much,” I tell her. I think about each and every picture I discarded from my 20s because of my “fat face” or “chubby cheeks.”
A couple of months after I had Claire, I called my mom and told her I was sorry for ever criticizing my body. “I would just never, ever want Claire to feel the way I did about my body,” I said through tears. “That had to hurt you so much… you thought I was perfect, didn’t you?”
I find myself constantly saying to Claire, “I love your little body.”
I love the way she takes a bite of food and says, “Mmmmmmm,” while rubbing her belly. “More” she says, over and over again.
I adore the way she sits in the bath and the rolls on her inner thighs meet. The way she pulls her “piggies” in toward her face and kisses them, hugs them close. The way she walks up to me and kisses my leg, wraps her arms around it and says, “Ooooh!” which is the sound she makes when she really, really loves something.
I want her to always see food as nourishment and her body as something to be valued and other people’s bodies as something to be loved. For herself, not me. Not the boy she someday crushes on. Not the girlfriends whose golden hair or athletic legs she might someday covet. Not the beautiful women in magazines. Not the people who write things on the internet about women.
To Twitter user Angry Hippy, who wrote, “Y’all find this attractive? lmaaoo,” in response to a photo of three United States Olympic female gymnasts in bikinis at the beach: I hope my daughter is one of the people who looks at that photo and aspires to achieve her goals as they have theirs.
To Reed Emerson, who tweeted, “Selena Gomez is trash and fat”: I hope my daughter shakes her head in disgust.
And to Nathan, who during the Super Bowl on Sunday tweeted to all 35 of his followers, “Tried to enjoy @LadyGaga’s performance, was distracted by the flab on her stomach swinging around”: I hope my daughter feels a stirring in her belly as if he had written it about her.
Because he has. That’s the thing about these women –– we are all these women. My 13-year-old self is Selena Gomez. It is Christmas Day and I stand in my bedroom crying. Every single pair of pants my parents bought me wouldn’t button. Fat, fat, fat.
My sister is the athlete in the photograph, strong and confident. Unwavering. A lean muscle runs down the side of her leg as she hits her running stride around the track. Y’all find this attractive?
My mother is the woman at the gym, trying to find fitness again after she had a hysterectomy and slipped into early menopause, her body shifting in a way that left it feeling heavy and borrowed. I can’t unsee this.
And my daughter? As I watch her, now standing at her play kitchen and making me some broccoli, I see her belly peeking out over her dinosaur-print diaper with “RAWR!” splashed between T-Rex graphics. Flab on her stomach swinging around.
I sneak up behind her and wrap my arms around her. Knowing I only have a few seconds before she wriggles free, I squeeze hard and silently hope her response to the only person she will ever have to answer to, herself, will be exactly like Gaga’s: