I never thought I'd say this, but...
Can we just leave Britney Spears alone?
Seriously. This media craziness over her supposedly bad mothering skills is getting old. Yeah, I know she should not be driving around with her baby in her lap or nearly dropping the poor kid on his head, but this is getting out of hand. In another news story released last week (is this really news by the way?) it was reported that Britney tripped on her long pants while exiting The Ritz Carlton and fell forward while holding her baby boy, Sean Preston in one arm. I particularly liked this passage:
"As her bodyguards walked Spears to her car, she stumbled, her long pants apparently getting tangled in her open-toed shoes, and bent low as Sean Preston's head flung backward, knocking off his orange hat." - Associated Press
You can check out the story here
They make it sound like his head damn near came off his neck. This young lady is surrounded by bodyguards, personal assistants, nannies and general handlers all day long. I suspect that the actual danger this child is in from being neglected is pretty slim.
What is the point of this kind of story? I suppose it's the old feeling of schadenfreude that makes it so appealing. Britney has that aire of white trashiness combined with tacky "new money" and a career based on taking off her clothes. It's just so much fun to see her perfect little blond, perky ass taken down a notch. After all if Britney Spears is a rotten mother, then I can enjoy my little glow of superiority at my own mothering skills. So what if I don't actually have kids? My cat loves me!
The problem, of course, is that if it's ok to srutinize this pop star's every movement while mothering, we are encouraging the same scrutiny on every mother in America. The fact is that American media loves to pick apart "mom". From celebrity mom profiles that seem engineered to make us feel inferior to the scare tactic news stories about day care, we have put women under a social microscope. So, let's cut Britney some slack and in doing so, give every other hard working mom a break, too.
On to GQ and the recent Tom Cruise interview. I went to see Mission Impossible III last week and you know what, it was a fun summer movie. Things blew up, cars moved quickly, people leapt from buildings and a good time was had by all. The truth is, I really want to like Tom Cruise. He's cute and he's even a decent actor. I just wonder if he thinks about the things that fall out of his mouth during interviews and on television. He must know that the interviewer is not his buddy, they are writing down everything you say. So, be careful, Tom. Think before you speak.
In the interview in GQ this month Mr. Cruise is asked quite a lot about Katie Holmes and their baby. At the time of the interview, of course, little Suri had not been born yet. He was talking about preparing for the birth and all the things you need to learn about, going to the doctor and things that can go wrong.
"Early on when we were interviewing different doctors, you sense that they come with this trepidation, telling you all the things that can go wrong. They go, "Well, I just have to tell you..." and I go, "I understand that, and I thank you for telling me this stuff, but this is a beautiful thing and we want to celebrate it." And I also remember saying, "Tell me these things; don't tell her." You just think how women have been giving birth for ever. I mean we now know that there are vitamins that you better be taking. Folic acid, the vitamin E, the vitamin C - there are very specific things that are gonna help the placenta feed the child. And why worry the mother about it?"
I nearly dropped the magazine! Was he serious? Why "worry" the mother about it? Oh, I don't know, perhaps Katie would like to be informed about what's going on with HER OWN BODY! This idea that women don't need medical information because someone else will take care of it upsets my stomach. We have a long sad history in medicine of doctors not listening to women's concerns because they are "just women". The doctor, or husband, or father etc. knows better than the woman in question what's going on with her own body. For years, serious medical conditions were dismissed as "hysteria" and women were told to take a nap or get their hair done in order to feel better. At best, we might have been prescribed some valium to help get you through the day.
I think Tom Cruise is coming from a place of good intentions. He probably thinks he's being a good dad and protector of Katie and his baby. By taking on the responsibility of "worrying" for her, he is showing her how much he loves her and cares about her. The truth is, women don't need someone to worry for them. We need someone to worry with us. A loving relationship should have trust and communication. If you have that, then you can work through any tough decisions together.
I hope that Katie figures that out soon and that their daughter has a chance to grow up and make decisions for herself concerning her own health. That's a basic right that loving husbands and well intentioned doctors need to understand is not something they can relieve us of, even if they mean well.