On December 7, model, cookbook author, and mom Chrissy Teigen shared a heartwarming moment between herself and her daughter on Instagram. In the photo, comedically captioned “on set with my stylist,” 3-year-old Luna straightens the lapels on Teigen’s jacket — and the jacket just so happens to seemingly be the only piece of clothing Teigen is wearing.
Though Teigen received a large amount of “Awwwws” and heart emojis from friends like Sally Kohn and Gwyneth Paltrow, other followers found the photo to be problematic. “Do you ever wear underwear?” one person commented. Another wrote, “Not setting a very good influence for your daughter.”
And someone even wrote, “Jesus cover up your daughter is right there.”
Of course, because Chrissy Teigen is the queen of clapbacks, she absolutely wasn’t letting these Instagrammers off the hook. To the latter comment, Teigen wrote back, “she sucked it for months and doesn’t mind it much,” referring to her nearly-bare breast.
Even though we love reading a good Chrissy Teigen comeback, it’s not fair that she—or any other parent—is subject to public shame on social media. Why do people feel it’s necessary to tell mothers who choose to be in the buff to “cover up” around their kids?
Is parental nakedness really that harmful?
“It’s a very normal thing to do to show your flesh to children,” psychologist Robyn Mills, PhD, tells O.school. Dr. Mills explains that those in older generations were often raised in shame-based societies—societies that taught children that nakedness was bad which, in turn, fostered guilt surrounding one’s own nude body.
But, as Dr. Mills notes, we’re moving into a more modern generation, in which children are taught to love themselves and be confident in their own skin. The guilt surrounding nakedness is slowly but surely being shed.
“Why do people hate on her so much?!? This is ADORABLE and our daughters should be learning to love their bodies, not hide them,” Instagram user @ladyk_shaw commented on Teigen’s post. “P.s.,” they added, “Underwear is uncomfortable.” Amen to that.
This is exactly the same sentiment that Dr. Mills expresses to O.school. “Mothers are the perfect role models” through which to teach self confidence to children.
“Parents should be free to shape their children’s upbringing and not be influenced by others’ opinions,” she adds, explaining that, even when faced with criticism from those who hold different beliefs surrounding nudity or parenting, one must respond to them with kindness. Dr. Mills says, “If we are unkind to those who are critical of our beliefs, we are perpetuating unkindness.”
Though Teigen usually responds to her haters with sarcasm rather than pure kindness, she does set a good example for other parents by being seemingly unbothered by criticism.
Dr. Mills says that, generally, putting values onto others isn’t okay, and that we need to have respect for how others choose to parent. So we need more comments like “We love a strong mother daughter relationship,” as @emapples wrote on Teigen’s post, rather than, “Unfollowing. Inappropriate-period,” as another commented.
Parental nudity doesn’t have to be inappropriate unless you deem it so. In fact, it can be used as a way to inadvertently teach your children how to love themselves through your example. And if that’s just not your thing and you wish to teach your children about self confidence in other ways, then by all means, do that. Just refrain from critiquing other parents who choose to be nude.
Their nakedness and parenting techniques aren’t hurting you, so let them do what they see fit.