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Body-Shaming Adults Is So 2005

, , , , , | Related | September 29, 2020

My mother-in-law calls me one afternoon shortly after my first child is born. I am exhausted and just want to sleep but I know if I don’t answer, she will either keep calling or come over.

Me: *Heavy sigh* “Hello?”

Mother-In-Law: “Do you really think it’s appropriate to show off your body like that?”

Me: *Looking down at my post-baby body* “What?”

Mother-In-Law: “The video you posted yesterday on [Social Media #1].”

My husband and I did a time-lapse video of my body changing week to week. I start at one end of our living room and move toward the couch wearing different sports bras and yoga pants each week. This means my growing bump is front and center. At the end, I’m passed out on the couch wearing a tank top and sweatpants with my baby sleeping on my chest.

Me: *Sigh* “[Mother-In-Law], I’m very tired. Can you please get to the point?”

Mother-In-Law: “I don’t think it’s appropriate to show your body like that. There are perverts everywhere.”

Me: “My page is private. If one of my friends gets off on my stretch marks, that’s not my problem, nor is it your business.”

Mother-In-Law: *Tuts* “Disgusting. I wonder how your son is going to feel when he grows up and sees that.”

Me: “He’ll be embarrassed by his mother, like all kids. If that’s all—”

Mother-In-Law: “You need to take that down.”

Me: “No.”

Mother-In-Law: “Take it down!”

I hang up and turn off my ringer. She calls three times over the next hour, but I don’t answer. The next morning, she walks in the front door, not even bothering to knock.

Husband: “Mom?”

Mother-In-Law: “Look, I was polite yesterday—”

Me: “No, you weren’t.”

Husband: “What is going on?”

Mother-In-Law:She is attracting the wrong kind of attention with her body.”

Me: “Your mom is offended by our time-lapse video.”

Husband: “Why?”

Mother: “It’s disgusting.”

Me: “Have you looked at [Her Daughter] on [Social Media #2]?”

Mother: *Faltering* “She— She doesn’t have one.”

Me: “She does.”

I pull up [Social Media #1] and go to [Her Daughter]’s page. One of the latests posts mentions her account on [Social Media #2]. I go to [Social Media #2] and scroll through videos of her fifteen-year-old daughter lip syncing to popular songs in bikinis, shaking her butt in cheeky underwear, and slowly licking lollipops. She has nearly 2,000 followers.

My husband sits down beside me, sees the videos, and jumps up immediately.

Husband: “Mom, what the h*** is this?”

Me: “It’s child pornography.”

Mother-In-Law: “It is not!”

Me: “She’s exposing more of her body in any one of these videos than I am in mine. You should ask her about this, too.”

I point to comments that should never be said to a stranger, let alone an underage child.

[Mother-In-Law] left without another word, and within an hour, [Her Daughter] had no [Social Media #1]. I haven’t heard a word about my video since. I felt bad for [Her Daughter], but maybe [Mother-In-Law] should have paid attention to her own children’s Internet activity more than mine.

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