People on the internet are applauding Keke Palmer for wearing a see-through black dress after the actress’ boyfriend, Darius Jackson, criticized her for not looking like a mother.
The conversation started Wednesday when Palmer, who is nearly five months postpartum after giving birth to son Leodis in February, stepped out in a sheer ensemble with a bodysuit underneath to attend Usher’s Las Vegas residency. When a video of the actress being serenaded by the singer was posted on Twitter, Jackson gave harsh feedback about her fashion.
“It’s the outfit tho.. you [sic] a mother,” Jackson, Leodis’ father, wrote.
Jackson was criticized by people online calling him out for being “insecure” and “jealous” of his partner. He responded to the backlash with another tweet, writing: “We live in a generation where a man of the family does not want his children’s wife and mother to show booty cheeks to please others and is told how much of a hater he is. This is my family and my representation. I have standards and morals for what I believe. I leave my case alone.”
Palmer would not allow himself to have the last word. She posted a slideshow of photos of herself in the all-black look on Instagram. “I wish I had taken more pictures, but we were too late!” she wrote.
Jackson deleted his two tweets before eventually deactivating his Twitter account on Thursday. However, the conversation his comments sparked isn’t holding up, especially as people evaluate what it means for the expectations placed on mothers.
According to Raena Boston, founder of The Working Momtras and Chamber of Mothers, the idea that someone can “look like a mother” is the result of patriarchal thinking. “It comes from someone else setting the conditions for a woman’s existence,” she tells Yahoo Life. “If you speak in a very heteronormative way, there’s this idea that once a woman partners with a man, it’s almost the beginning of the death of herself. And once you have kids, it’s game over. You you’re just in the service of your husband, in the service of your children. You as a person cease to exist in many ways.”
Donna Oriowo, a race, sex, and gender therapist, points out that “owning or enjoying one’s sexuality” is expected to end once women take on the role of mother. For black women, there is extra policing due to “a history of white and male dominance converging toward the idea that our bodies don’t belong to us and are thus fodder for others to express their ideas and desires for power and control over.” practice,” says Oriowo. Yahoo life.
This also helps to explain the phenomenon of “snapback culture,” in which new mothers are expected to slim down to their pre-pregnancy numbers immediately after giving birth. But as Boston points out, this is meant to make the woman more attractive to her partner, not others – in Palmer’s case, someone like Usher.
While Jackson seemingly tried to enforce those ideals and expectations, many point out that for Palmer and Jackson, patriarchal norms already don’t apply.
“Keke is the breadwinner. So she has also undermined some standards in that way,” says Boston. “It’s like, ‘Who is this guy who isn’t in the traditional male role to tell her what she can and can’t do?'”
The uproar over Palmer’s outfit — and Jackson’s reaction to it — has led other women, many of them mothers themselves, to speak out online about the expectations placed on mothers in terms of how they should look and feel. must behave.
Many also applaud Palmer’s public response to her partner’s criticism. By sharing more photos of her look from her night out, she’s giving other women permission to experience independence and joy, regardless of their status as a mother.
“Keke is herself. She does what she wants to do and she still doesn’t let being a mother, or not working with anyone, separate her from her agency,” says Boston. “It allows mothers and women to maintain both their identity and their agency because they are independent of being someone’s partner, someone’s mother. They are a person first.”
Oriowo agrees. “It sets an example of enjoying your body without having to discipline it for the gaze or pleasure of anyone but yourself.”
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