Don’t kiss up to so­cial me­dia trolls

The only dis­turb­ing thing about this snap is the vit­riol it’s sparked, writes KATHRYN KNIGHT

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

EACH morn­ing my rit­ual is the same: when I get my 3-year-old daugh­ter Con­nie out of bed, I give her a big cud­dle and a gi­ant, smack­ing kiss on the lips. Some­times two or three. It’s a scene that un­folds sev­eral times through­out the day. She’ll give me kisses back, too.

And, to me, it’s the most nat­u­ral thing in the world, as it is to Vic­to­ria Beck­ham, with whom I found my­self for once un­usu­ally aligned when she posted the pic­ture show­ing her kiss­ing her daugh­ter Harper on the lips as they cud­dled up in a swim­ming pool to mark her fifth birth­day.

“Happy Birth­day Baby Girl, we all love you so much,” she sweetly wrote un­der­neath.

While not gen­er­ally a fan of the usu­ally rather frosty, but­toned-up Mrs B, what struck me most about this snap was how un­af­fected she seemed. Gone was the usual self-con­scious fash­ion pout, re­placed with a sim­ple ex­pres­sion of ma­ter­nal af­fec­tion.

I as­sumed that the nor­mal re­ac­tion would be: “Aaah!” But then, I hadn’t reck­oned with the poi­sonous and judg­men­tal world of so­cial me­dia, which was soon filled to burst­ing with peo­ple mak­ing it clear they saw this in­no­cent pho­to­graph quite dif­fer­ently.

Far from be­ing a sim­ple happy snap, posted to mark a joy­ful oc­ca­sion, many of them sug­gested it was “weird” and “odd”, be­cause by kiss­ing her in this way Vic­to­ria was “sex­u­al­is­ing” her daugh­ter.

“It is strange to kiss your par­ents on the lips,” said one, in one of the kinder com­ments.

“Urgh,” wrote some­one else while, to give things a bizarre twist, an­other com­men­ta­tor claimed kiss­ing your chil­dren on the lips gives them cold sores.

And inevitably the Mum­snet­ters – never ones to know­ingly hold back from an on­line scrum – waded in with a ded­i­cated thread on the par­ent­ing web­site in which users ques­tioned Vic­to­ria’s de­ci­sion.

“I think it is weird,” wrote one, adding for good mea­sure, “do you sleep in the same bed as them as well?”

To which I can only say that, to me, the only weird thing here is this ex­tra­or­di­nary over­re­ac­tion. Since when did a gor­geous ex­pres­sion of mother-daugh­ter af­fec­tion be­come the sub­ject of such vile judg­ment?

I like kiss­ing Con­nie else­where too – on her tummy, on her chubby cheeks and some­times on her lovely peachy bot­tom (God knows what the so­cial me­dia shamers

The only peo­ple

child gets to 4 or 5 or 6 and their sex­ual aware­ness de­vel­ops, the kiss on the lips can be stim­u­lat­ing to them.”

She sug­gested chil­dren “thrive” on be­ing touched on their fore­head, cheeks or hands.

To which I say: what ut­ter non­sense. The only peo­ple sex­u­al­is­ing our chil­dren are psy­chol­o­gists like Dr Reznick, over­analysing in­stinc­tive hu­man ges­tures and emo­tions and drag­ging them into the gut­ter. As a good friend and lip-kisser of her 3-year-old boy said to me: “He just wants a nice mummy kiss on the lips. Am I go­ing to tell him a psy­chol­o­gist says it’s not right?”

By con­trast, her 5-year-old daugh­ter prefers a peck on the cheek. And that’s the point – each to their own.

Ul­ti­mately, it’s not a right or wrong thing, it’s what feels right in your fam­ily. Some are what I would call very “huggy”, oth­ers aren’t. I’d put the Beck­hams in the for­mer camp: scroll through their fam­ily snaps and they are clearly a phys­i­cally af­fec­tion­ate bunch, at ease with hugs and hand-hold­ing.

That’s why Vic­to­ria’s pic­ture doesn’t strike me as par­tic­u­larly stagey or posed. It seemed, in­stead, in keep­ing with her fam­ily’s gen­eral be­hav­iour, just as my kisses with Con­nie – some on her lips, some not – are in ours.

No doubt Harper – and Con­nie – will call time on the lip-smack­ers at some point, just as I did. In the mean­time, I will con­tinue to shower my daugh­ter with them, com­forted by the fact that a layer of san­ity re­mains: one Mum­snet user posted to say that she found what Vic­to­ria had done “to­tally nor­mal”.

Hear hear. None­the­less, I re­main sad­dened that any­one would see any­thing more in lip-kisses be­tween mother and child than sim­ple, joy­ful af­fec­tion. That they do says far more about them than it does about us. – Daily Mail

PIC­TURE: IN­STA­GRAM

Vic­to­ria Beck­ham kisses her daugh­ter Harper to wish her happy birth­day.

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