Welcome to this edition of “WTF Is the Big Deal?” where people get upset about completely innocuous things for literally no reason! Now, Jessica Simpson often takes to Instagram to share pictures of her adorable children with husband Eric Johnson. The shots of Ace Knute, her three-year-old son, and Maxwell Drew, her five-year-old daughter, are typical #ProudMom moments, showing off her two super-blonde kiddos to her 3.7 million followers. But Simpson’s latest post of her daughter Maxwell — or Maxi, for short — is causing nearly as much of a stir as her famous “chicken or fish” incident.
Simpson shared three photos of Maxi playing in what looks to be their family’s backyard. Wearing a helmet, baseball hat, sunglasses, sneakers, and frilly bikini, Maxi hams it up for the camera, posing spunkily with her miniature hot pink scooter. Simpson captioned the photo “Safety first #MAXIDREW” — apparently poking fun at how Maxi rocks her helmet despite doing more cheesing than scooting.
The photo series itself is just additional proof that Maxi Drew is definitely Simpson’s mini-me — but several Instagram users took major issue with the pictures. Multiple commenters criticized Simpson for “sexualizing” her five-year-old, deemed the photos inappropriate, and even denounced her parenting abilities.
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“I like Jessica, and I think this picture is cute, but it should only be shared privately. Otherwise, I’ve got 2 words for you: JonBenét Ramsey,” one commenter wrote. Another commented: “Shame. Sexualizing an 8-year-old.” (Maxi is actually five.) Others included: “I wouldn’t expose my daughter this way…that is just me”; “Jessica, shame on you for exposing your daughter instead of protecting her!”; “This woman needs to grow some brains and discernment. You don’t exploit young children in bathing suits all over social media.”
As if all of the above comments weren’t over-the-top enough, some even suggested that Social Services be called in regards to the images. Let that settle in: people actually believe that the legal system should get involved because someone put her daughter in a bikini. A BIKINI.
Simpson’s fans were quick to defend her against the internet trolls slamming the photos. “She’s just a little girl having fun,” one fan wrote. “No need to shame Jessica or her daughter.” Others pointed out that a photograph of a young boy in his bathing suit with his shirt off would hardly illicit the same harsh response. “Enough with the self-righteousness, stop being misogynistic, realize you’re allowing males a free pass and shaming women,” read one comment. “People automatically sexualize and objectify girls for merely being a female. Stop the double standards,” another added.
Sadly, Simpson is hardly the first celebrity to experience the wrath of Internet mommy-shamers. Flip or Flop‘s Christina El-Moussa recently endured similar backlash over an Instagram with her daughter in matching bikinis. “Thanks for your ‘concern’ A.K.A. judgment,” El-Moussa responded to the hateful comments. Kristin Cavallari came under fire for a photo of her sons in bathing suits, where commenters claimed they looked “starved,” to which she sarcastically responded, “Yep, I starve my children. Just blocked the most people I’ve ever blocked in my entire life.” And since having her daughter Luna, Chrissy Teigen has become the queen of clap-backs at trolls who chastise her for everything from how she holds her daughter to when she goes to dinner with her husband sans baby.
Simpson has yet to respond to the backlash against the photos, but according to her latest Instagram — showing herself relaxing in her “sanctuary” — she doesn’t seem to be letting it bother her.
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