Parenting in the public eye is not for the faint of heart. It’s nearly impossible to post anything about your child or your parenting choices without hearing about something you’ve done wrong or how you’re ruining your child. In fact, getting shamed for your parenting choices seems to be a rite of passage these days, thanks to social media.
Actress Julia Stiles, most famously known for Save the Last Dance and 10 Things I Hate About You, experienced this first-hand last week when she was publically shamed by her own Instagram followers.
On October 20th, Stiles welcomed her first child, Strummer Newcomb Cook, with new husband Preston J. Cook. The happy parents have been pretty guarded about sharing about their child online, a practice they’ll probably stick with after one of her only pictures of Strummer was met with backlash from her fans.
In the picture, she is seen posing with her baby in a Tula Baby carrier.
“I haven’t worn a backpack since middle school,” the caption reads. “Now I have a front pack.”
It wasn’t long before Instagram users started criticizing Stiles, saying her baby was too young for a carrier and that his face shouldn’t be covered by the carrier.
“Congrats, but baby is too small for this carried,” user @ceralitle commented, adding list of reasons why she felt like the carrier was a bad choice.
Another user, who has since deleted her comments, really laid into Stiles for covering her baby’s face. Supporters were quick to jump to Stiles’ defense, but it doesn’t seem like it was all that necessary considering Stiles did a good job standing up for herself. In a second post, she shared a picture of The Clash and a long response to her critics, saying she never expected to get so much negative feedback for a silly picture she posted with her baby.
“That’s the internet for you, the carnivorous plant from ‘Little Shop of Horrors,'” she added in her caption. “I was trying to keep much of my son’s image private, including, I guess, his little feet. And it was just a photo taken at home, not how I normally carry him around. Thanks for the concern, anyway. Yes, Mothers, always read the safety instructions. But also, Instagrammers: instead of writing snarky comments about a 5 week old, try dancing around your living room to a Clash record. It’s way more fun.”
As a babywearing mom, and someone who has been shamed on the Internet for my parenting choices more than once, I can’t help but agree. Being called out on the Internet has never changed the way I parent my child, it has only made me fearful of sharing too much online. If you’re truly concerned about a child’s well-being, a private message is better than a public callout, and really should be reserved for people you know personally. It’s about time the trolls of the Internet find something else do besides picking on brand new moms who are doing their best to take care of their child.