Aishwarya trolled for 'malnourished,' 'poorly dressed' daughter. Can we stop?
Recently, a photo of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan surfaced on social media. In it, the 45-year-old actor was seen holding her daughter Aaradhya close to her as she walked past the paparazzi. She was heavily trolled for being overprotective of her daughter, as people pointed out that she should let go of her daughter's hand. Here's what is wrong with it.
Trolls attacked Aishwarya for coddling her child among other things
Several trolls asked why Aishwarya wouldn't let her daughter walk freely and whether Aaradhya was blind. "Omg Taimur walks alone. He (sic) more independent as a child," read one comment. "Aish needs to cut the umbilical cord. The girl is in her 8th year ffs," stated another. A few comments even questioned Aishwarya's fashion and dietary choices for her "malnourished" daughter.
Aishwarya was spotted with her daughter at a family dinner
Who are we to comment on a mother-daughter relationship?
Do we personally know Aishwarya or her daughter or their relationship? Do we know if Aaradhya doesn't want to stay close to her mother as she passes a crowd full of strangers with cameras? Do we really need to comment on a child's weight and clothing? Who are we to police a mother when we have no role to play in her child's upbringing?
It's called mom-shaming and it happens everyday, everywhere
Remember when people asked Kareena Kapoor Khan why she was gymming instead of looking after her son Taimur? That's mom-shaming. It was also what happened to Malaika Arora Khan when people told her that her clothes don't "suit a mom." And it's what happened to Lisa Haydon as well who was shamed for being 'undignified' and 'spoiling the soul of motherhood' for breastfeeding.
Haydon was trolled for her World Breastfeeding Week post
Padma Lakshmi shamed for wearing a bikini in kids' company
Mom-shaming has been a thing since the dawn of patriarchy
Mom-shaming is rooted in the expectation from mothers to excel at being the "nurturer" and is often done by family, friends, neighbors, etc. It usually involves unsolicited advice or casual condescension, making the mother feel inadequate in some way. The weird bit is, it doesn't necessarily have to make sense. Moms can be shamed for doing something and then again for not doing it.
Some examples of mom-shaming and its uncertain nature
Disciplining their child too much, or disciplining them too little. Feeding kids unhealthy outside food, or spoiling them with junk, or torturing them with boring home-cooked meals. Hiring a nanny, or being an unambitious stay-at-home mom, or "forcing" your husband to be a stay-at-home dad.
Why are these questions never asked of fathers?
Another weird bit about mom-shaming is that it could just as easily apply to dads, but it just doesn't. It's disproportionately targeted at women. Nobody is asking Saif Ali Khan why he's at the gym. Nobody's asking Arbaaz Khan why he's topless on the Internet and elsewhere. Nobody asks Abhishek Bachchan why his daughter is "malnourished" and tells him she needs to "dress better".
Mom-shaming is how we understand motherhood and that's wrong
Moms are shamed to fit into society's ideals. They're constantly boxed and are expected to be these mythical, selfless creatures who don't think for themselves, don't eat, sleep, have sex, etc. And then people glorify a mother's suffering as if to signify her unconditional love. Any absence of said suffering and she's perceived as a mother who fails to love her child. A monster.
It's a cycle perpetuated through our patriarchal society
Mom-shaming is a cycle and it feasts on a woman's insecurities. It's this constant shaming that forces mothers to keep pushing themselves to do better, until motherhood is all that remains of her life, so that one day, when her individuality is entirely stripped from her, when it all seems acceptable in hindsight, she could do it to another woman.