On My Mind: Pajama-Gate

Bethenny Frankel dons Brynne's nightshirt and shorts on Instagram. Credit: Bethenny Frankel Instagram

Bethenny Frankel dons Bryn’s nightshirt and shorts on Instagram. Credit: Bethenny Frankel Instagram

People often ask my opinion about the Housewives and usually I will change the subject or turn the question on them, thus excusing myself from the hot seat. See, I’ve made a conscious decision to tell you stories as they happen and, via social media, be a sounding board for your opinions. However, once in a while I have an opinion so strong about something pertaining to the lovely ladies of Bravo that I need to let it out, lest it fester beneath the surface in that mental graveyard where my unpublished thoughts go, not to rest, but to be a ghost that won’t stop annoying me.

That is the category that my reaction to a recent story about Bethenny Frankel falls into. A couple of weeks back Frankel Instagrammed a picture of herself wearing her four year-old daughter Bryn‘s pajamas. The picture ignited a fire storm of criticism both against the former Bravo star and talk-show host and then against those that spoke out about it. The whole thing ended with an obviously defensive Frankel sharing a picture of herself in oversized men’s sweats with a snarky comment attached.

I cannot speak for what Bethenny’s motives were for sharing the initial photo. Whether it was silliness, bragging, a little of both, or something else, I cannot say. The only thing I can speak of is how it permeated my brain, and this is why I think that photo, coming from a woman who has somewhat marketed herself as a dietary guru, was irresponsibly posted.

I, like many women-and men these days too- have struggled with body image. (Come on, you don’t think I spend that much time in the gym running on the treadmill just because I love it, do you?) Since the age of 12 I have not always been kind to my body. I’ve become better friends with it over the years, but that demon, the one that speaks from inside the mirror and points out your “fat” never fully leaves. It is always there lurking.

People who suffer from eating disorders, or have teetered on the cusp of disordered eating and distorted body image, are easily influenced, especially when young. There are entire websites devoted to glorifying anorexia and giving visitors dangerous diet ideas and forums to discuss them. Eating disorders are competitive diseases. The worst thing for a victim of disordered eating is to develop a friendship with another sufferer. This is the exact reason why I fear that Bethenny posting such a photo set a new standard for some of her followers. Somewhere out there is a B fan who saw that and now has a new “goal” to attain, or a new reason to not feel “good enough”.

Yes, it is ridiculous. I mean I have children that wear size 4T pajamas. Have you SEEN pajamas for a four year old? They are TINY! Like so tiny I don’t even know how even the ultimate Skinnygirl got her skinny little bitch ass into them. (For the record as petite as Bethenny appears on camera, she’s yet even smaller in person). However, even though my rational mind knows that adults aren’t designed to wear toddler pjs, that demon still had to have her say. For a brief second I heard her, “You know those pictures from the event the other night weren’t that flattering, perhaps you should strive to be four-year-old pajama thin…” And for a brief moment, while folding my sons’ laundry I actually considered it.

Fortunately I have weathered enough of the storm to know when the demon speaks and tell it to be quiet. However, there are many who still don’t know how. If Bethenny simply was making her daughter laugh, her follow up explanation, then cool, but did she really have to share it? To me it wreaked of “Check me out, I’m in four-year-old pajamas.” I know many of us would want to brag if we could fit into them…more evidence of our disordered thinking when it comes to thinness and society.

My whole point is this:

Bethenny, many women read your diet and lifestyle books. We look up to you for inspiration in all areas of life, from dieting to business. Your rules for eating echo in our heads (“taste everything, eat nothing”). Please don’t for once think that wearing pjs designed for a very small child is by any means normal or common. For most of us it is dangerous and unhealthy. Your huge status gives you a huge responsibility, therefore certain things shouldn’t be for the world to see. If it was just a tender moment between you and Bryn, then heed the words of Billy Joel. Sometimes we need to “Leave a tender moment alone“…if not for the common good, then at least for certain things to be sacred between mother and daughter.

…and that folks is how I really feel.