My three-year-old daughter is not allowed to jump on the couch (she’s already had enough tender-cranium-meeting-the-wood-floor experiences for my taste) or climb over the arm of the recliner (it loosens the arm, and again, tender cranium/wood floor). She understands that these two activities are forbidden…which is exactly why she does both of them whenever she’s in the care of a babysitter. How do we know this? Well, she tells us. Yes, my kid voluntarily RATS HERSELF OUT to us the next morning, something that is both extremely cute and incredibly disappointing because DANGIT, CHILD, don’t you know that Rule One of disobeying your parents is taking that shit to the grave?!
Here lie the souls of so many who claimed to be sleeping over at Diane’s when they were totally getting drunk behind the bowling alley.
But even the most seasoned parental deceivers get caught once in a while, usually thanks to a call from a teacher or a poorly-constructed lie or someone’s else Mom seeing you at Wendy’s when you were supposed to be in History class LIKE, OH MY GOD, MRS. HARRISON, WE JUST WANTED A FROSTY, OK?!?!?!
(Oooo, girl, you were so worth it.)
When you’re the child of a celebrity, though, it’s damn near impossible to get away with anything, especially these days, when the paparazzi are embedded most everywhere, and anyone with a cameraphone can capture your bad behavior and share it with millions of people on the Internet before your parents even get wind of it. The problem with lessons like that, though, is that they often have to be learned the hard way, especially when you’re 15 years old and are absolutely certain you’ve got THE ENTIRE LAME WORLD figured out:
(Also who are those boys and isn’t that dress a little short and IIEEEEEEE I am so afraid of the day my daughter becomes a teenager.)
That girl up there is none other than Lourdes Ciccone Leon, a.k.a. Madonna’s gorgeous 15-year-old daughter, who was photographed smoking a cigarette in New York late last month. After the photos of Lourdes surfaced online, the Internet had plenty to say about the young girl’s behavior:
OH! That’s right! This is the Internet we’re talking about, the place where grown-ass adults make irrelevant (and grammatically horrific) snarky comments about a beautiful young girl’s appearance and then in the same breath bemoan the pressure put on young girls to look like they just sprang forth from the pages of Vogue. I forgot. MY BAD.
Anyway, SOME citizens of the Internet actually addressed the issue at hand, their comments being a mixture of “Eh, it’s just a cigarette, she’s fifteen years old, what do you expect?” and “Of course she smokes because LOOK WHO HER MOTHER IS” kind of stuff. The real reaction came nearly a month later, when Madonna talked about her daughter’s smoking and expressed her outright disapproval, as one might expect out of any mom. “I don’t approve of anyone who smokes, most of all, my daughter,” she said, and I don’t know about you guys, but I am willing to bet that Madonna can be pretty good with a guilt trip whenever you pull some teenage crap like this.
OK, Mom, I get it — you’re disappointed! Jeez.
Madonna also admitted probably needing to toughen up her discipline when it came to her kids, but no one really cared about that. The Internet latched on to Madonna’s public scolding of Lourdes and had opinions to spare, as you can imagine:
Whoa! That’s a lot of judgmental finger-pointing. Let’s stop before someone loses an eye (and then is judged for it).
So, I am not a huge Madonna fan. I think she’s pretty pretentious and seems kind of insufferable of late, but there are three important things to recognize when it comes to my opinion of Madonna:
- I, like most people, don’t know actually know her;
- I, like most people, don’t know jack-shit about her parenting skills, and therefore have no basis upon which to judge them;
- She has to navigate her daughter’s tricky teenage years just like any other parent, complete with the knowledge that she is going to have be a BIG OL’ HYPOCRITE in telling her daughter what not to do because THAT IS HER JOB AS A MOM.
What do people expect her to do in this situation? Tell the media that she’s A-OK with her daughter smoking a pack a day at three years below the legal age because she liked to wear a cone bra and sing songs about sex back in the day? Some people have mentioned that Madonna’s apparent smoking of a cigarette (that she claims was just a prop) in her new “Girl Gone Wild” video makes her culpable for Lourdes deciding to take a puff, and…REALLY? You don’t think BEING FIFTEEN AND TRYING TO LOOK COOL IN FRONT OF HER FRIENDS AND ALSO BEING FIFTEEN might have a little something to do with it?
The assumptions about Madonna’s parenting being poor based solely on her career choices and public image also rile me. Yes, the woman sure does enjoy her sexuality (NOT A CRIME, btw, but let’s keep the shame machine going anyway, right?), and yes, she’s done her fair share of outrageous things in the past that I’m sure will (or already have) embarrassed the hell out of her kids, and YES, if Lourdes is worth her teenage salt, you best believe she’ll be hurling a “You masturbated on stage but I’m not allowed to stay out last 11:00?!?!” at her mom at some point, but what does that have to do with her parenting? Is there any evidence that she’s been neglectful or abusive towards her children or created a terrible home life for them (*cough*courtneylove*cough*)? No, there isn’t, but that’s exactly why people are going apeshit about Lourdes’ totally normal act of teenage rebellion: so they can say “SEE, I TOLD YOU SO” about a woman they never approved of in the first place.
People (myself included) are perpetually inclined to ignore the fact that–had their pre-parenthood lives been chronicled under a celebrity microscope–they’d be subjected to the same kind of criticism that Madonna’s getting here. Lucky for most of us, our crazy days live mostly in our memories alone (thank you, Jesus, for letting me attend college before the digital photography/smartphone boom), so we can keep all that stuff under our toups when it comes time to lay down the law with our own kids. But if you’re going to judge Madonna for disapproving of her daughter’s smoking on the grounds that she’s no stranger to wild behavior, then you’d better be prepared to let your kids do whatever dumb shit you’ve done, free from reproach. What gives me the right to tell my daughter not to use a fake ID to get drunk with a bunch of dudes she barely knows since I stupidly did it once (or…more than once-ish)?
What gives me the right is that I’m her mother. What gives Madonna the right is that she’s Lourdes’ mother. Period.
Recognize. Especially you back there, Side-eyes McGee.