What’s up with motherhood lately? Thinking of motherhood returns me to memories of the calming refuge of my own mother whose kiss or hug could keep all things bad at bay. When it came to navigating the dangers of a not so always nice world, I traveled with a lioness by my side, and of that one thing I was certain. Most of the women I know practice the same type of mothering, erring on the side of overprotection. And up until several weeks ago I was confident that most children still enjoy the haven of a similar maternal harbor. That was before I heard news reports indicating that this cultural bastion of safety is on shaky ground.
First came the Today Show segment on a “Would You Rather – Mommy’s Edition” survey with the question “Would you rather add 15 points to your child’s IQ, or would you rather weigh 15 pounds less?” 45% of the mothers polled replied they would rather be thinner than have their child be smarter. This answer lodged in my gut where it wriggled the inherent selfishness of this answer. It also reminded me of child psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner, well known for his belief, “Every child needs someone who is crazy about him.” He claimed that knowing you are the center of someone’s world fills you with love you can draw from throughout a lifetime. But what happens to the child who isn’t the center of his or her mother’s world…a mother who cares more about the size of her butt than the size of her child’s brain? My prediction is that child might not feel too secure.
Then came the “Vogue Enfant” coverage on child model Thylane Blondeau featured in French Vogue with her sultry stares and makeup, stilettos, and clothing designed for wearers way beyond her ten years. However, it was the inappropriate come-hither look and provocative pose in two of the layouts that created a media frenzy and drew criticism of her mother. Veronika Loubry, TV host and actress, defended her decision to allow the sexy photos of her child, then stated her desire to protect her daughter from the commotion, and closed down her daughter’s Facebook account.
Does Thylane need protection from her mother’s seeming exploitation?
There’s no denying that the “Me First” mentality has permeated our culture; and based on decisions some mothers are making, it’s altered motherhood. No doubt, some moms would choose being skinnier over being smarter… perhaps they could use an additional 15 IQ points.