The Virtue of Minding Your Own Business
Dad shaming is now a thing. I'm not sure why it's a thing, but I suppose if Mom-shaming is a thing, it would be inevitable that at some point, Dad-shaming would have to follow. Who is the unlucky Dad who is getting raked over the online coals of outrage? Justin Timberlake, of all people, who had the temerity, the nerve to post a perfectly lovely picture of his kiddo online.
What was wrong with this picture? Well, his son has long hair.
Yeah, that's right. People got all butt hurt and bent out of shape because the kid has long hair. It's the usual reasons ("boys shouldn't have long hair!" "he looks like a girl!") you are probably thinking and it's incredibly disheartening really, because he seems like a happy enough kid and both Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel seem like doting parents who really love the little dude, but the more I read about it and the more I heard about it, the angrier I got. Why do people care? Why do people feel this constant need to offer their opinion and shit all over random pictures of joy on the internet? Why can't people mind their own fucking business for once?
Look, I've got a kiddo with long hair. Not as long as Timberlake's kiddo, but pretty long. We could cut it. People kind of intimate that we should cut it now and again, but both Grandmas love his long hair and he's got kind of a large noggin (so do I, it's a family thing) so we don't want to make his head look any larger than it already is unless we absolutely have too. As it is, having some long hair on his head makes it look pretty damn proportional, so it works for me.
And- and here's the most important point to me, he's pretty happy about it.
That should be the end of the discussion to me. Does the kid look happy? If he does, then shut your mouth. Justin Timberlake doesn't comment on photos of your kid and judge your kid, does he? (I mean, he might, I don't know... but it doesn't seem like the kind of thing he would do.) Then why oh why oh why, would you think it would be okay for you to do the same thing?
("Well, he's a celebrity and he's putting himself out there for the world to see, he should expect that!") Yeah, I don't need to see your ill-thought out internet meme all over my Facebook wall or the umpteenth ad for whatever multi-level marketing scheme your pushing on all your friends either, but do you see me shitting all over your hopes and dreams? No. I have better things to do with my life and more to the point... it's none of my fucking business.
Parent shaming makes me absolutely insane. It's a hard enough job as it is without internet randos who know nothing about you offering their unasked for opinions on a variety of topics- but when you want to share a moment of joy, because given how messed up the world is, the more moments of joy we share with each other, the better of we all might be- when you decide to squat and take a dump all over that? Not cool. If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all- and mind your own damn business.
Basically, if you abuse or molest your child and if you don't vaccinate your child because of some dumb shit you read on the internet, or do some other thing to actively harm your child, I will judge the ever loving shit out of you, because you deserve it. But that's about it. I don't care how long your kid's hair is. I don't care what they wear. I don't care what they eat. None of that is my business, so I'm not gonna say a damn thing about it.
People always seem to be wringing their hands and bemoaning the state of discourse and culture these days, but to me, if we as a nation, collectively came together and decided to mind our own damn business, so much would improve almost instantly. #PermitPattys? Gone. Shitty snide comments on the internet? Gone. Kindness? Would rise. Moments of joy and amazement that make the internet so worthwhile might actually be able to break through the noxious clouds of negative for once and shine through more brightly.
There's a virtue to minding your own business that we should seek to rediscover. At the very least, parents should do each other a solid and just be nice. Especially where kiddos are concerned.