There Are Just SO MANY Ways to Be a Bad Mother

Here's one that everyone who's anyone an asshole is talking about this week:

three images of singer Victoria Beckham carrying her infant daughter while wearing very high heels

Victoria "Posh" Beckham was out and about this week with new daughter Harper, and she was wearing her signature high heels, thus allegedly proving she obviously has no regard for her daughter's safety.

Maybe because I am not a mother myself, or possibly because I'm not a self-important dipfuck who uses my own experience as a benchmark against whom everyone else on the planet is measured in a perpetual game of negative judgment I play in a void of self-esteem, I fail to comprehend the reasoning at work here. I understand it goes a little something like, "That bitch is gonna trip in those shoes and kill her baby," but the logic, such as it is, really broke down for me when I took two nanoseconds to contemplate the fact that Victoria Beckham routinely wears heels that are frequently described with words like "precarious" by people who don't share her affinity and talent for wearing them.

I guess what I'm saying is: I have no reason to suspect that Victoria Beckham isn't precisely as proficient in towering heels with a baby in her arms as she is without a baby in her arms, or that she's any more likely to trip while wearing shoes she wears all the time than she is while wearing ballet slippers.

That deduction didn't exactly tax my brain, disabled by its ladyness even though it is. So I suspect that maybe the criticisms of Posh are not really about Posh at all, but about a familiar commentary on motherhood and womanhood, and how women must, at all times, sacrifice evidence of their womanhood, their femininity, to the altar of motherhood. Nothing, of course, makes a woman a more terrible mother than putting herself first, or even the appearance thereof.

I also suspect that the criticisms are a reflection of many people's inability to see past their own experience so that they might credit others with experiences they don't have. Sure, I look at Victoria Beckham's shoes and see a pair of ankle-breakers, but I am not Victoria Beckham. It really doesn't matter that I would be likely to trip in those shoes, because she isn't.

This is a small thing, or seems like it, in the scheme of all things. But it's emblematic of a culture in which we are increasingly hostile toward other people's individual experiences and capabilities, because the only way to judge them, the only way to wield our sanctimony like a weapon of destruction, tearing someone else down because it's so much easier than building ourselves up, which takes time and energy and self-reflection and honesty about our own flaws, the only thing that makes engaging in the harsh cultural pastime of ad hominem criticism, is to fail, deliberately and utterly, to see the targets of our judgment as unique human beings, with their own particular set of circumstances that may be very different from our own.

Maybe it would be a bad idea for you to walk in stilettos while carrying an infant. That doesn't mean it's axiomatically bad for Victoria Beckham to do the same.

To ignore even these little differences between people is to deny other people's individual humanity.

So casually do we engage in such a brutal denial, when we say, even obliquely, the world should be just like me.

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