Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Modern Parenthood

Tanning Mom: Behind the Bad Mother witch hunt; even Snooki snipes (+video)

Tanning Mom: Commentators – including the toasted Snooki – are outraged that a young girl would be in a tanning salon, but have you checked out advertisements for children’s clothes recently? A lot of the white girls are tan. Unnaturally so.

By Correspondent / May 3, 2012

Tanning mom, Patricia Krentcil (center right) is the latest target of the Bad Mother witch hunt – even Snooki is taking her on. But have you checked out advertisements for children’s clothes recently? A lot of the white girls are tan. Unnaturally so.

AP

Enlarge

The deeply tanned Patricia Krentcil became the latest Bad Mommy of news cycle fame yesterday, accused of putting (and burning) her six-year-old daughter in a tanning booth.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

New Jersey mom says she didn't take 5-year old daughter into the tanning booth.

The New Jersey mom pleaded not guilty to charges of child endangerment, and insisted that although she loved to tan herself she knew better than to put her daughter under the UV rays.

But that did little to stem the nearly gleeful outrage at this latest example of beyond the pale (and yes, people used that pun) parenting. Talk show hosts tsk-ed tsk-ed, and quickly moved into making comments about Ms. Krentcil’s own appearance. (The 44-year-old, whose skin looks unnaturally dark, acknowledged that she is a tanning fanatic.) Even Snooki - that’s the Jersey Shore’s Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, another tanning bed aficionado and apparently now  a parenting expert - entered the fray, with some not very polite words to say about Krencil’s mom skills.

Are you a Helicopter Parent? Take our quiz!

It was, all in all, a perfect mommy witch hunt. Which seems to be a favorite, and semi-regular, pastime these days.

There is a standard playbook for a case of the Bad Mommy. It can revolve around celebrity - Britney Spears is great, if she’s available - or just a regular, everyday mom. (Although preferably those Everymoms will be on a reality television show, and involved in something like toddler beauty pageants. But getting caught up in a criminal investigation works fine, too.) 

Once the Bad Mommy has committed her outrage - tanning beds, extreme negligence, dressing their girls in tiaras, whatever - then the viewing public wrings its collective hands and wonders how any mother could be so... bad. Talk show hosts denigrate the woman. The Internet world buzzes with indignation. Experts talk about the state of motherhood today.

The problem is that if you look a bit more critically, these women’s actions tend to be pretty darn close to our own.

Journalist and author Peggy Orenstein explores this double standard in one of my favorite parts of her book,  “Cinderella Ate My Daughter.”

As part of her research into the Disney Princess phenomenon, Ms. Orenstein spends some time getting to know parents whose young daughters are on the beauty pageant scene.  Armed with her own sense of what kind of mom would doll up her prepubescent daughter to strut her little stuff for judges, Orenstein wrote that she fully expected to find these folks, well, crazy at best, disgusting at worst.

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!