The New York Daily News recently ran a front page photo of Madonna’s 15 year old daughter smoking a cigarette. Oh. My. God.
Hold the frick’n press. A teenager did something stupid somewhere, people. The Daily News breathlessly reports “Wearing a black-and-white dress, Ray-Ban sunglasses, and sporting a nose ring, the Material Girl’s girl appeared to puff like she’d done it before.”
Now, before I go further, I must admit my own initial reaction to this story was to roll my eyes and say “Well, what did they expect?” But then I thought about it some more. That could be 15 year-old me in that photo. Really, she’s just another teenager. And what if this were my 15 year old daughter?
This could be me. This could be my daughter.
I’m not really a fan of Madonna in terms of her music or celebrity status, but that doesn’t mean I can’t empathise with her as a parent. Parenting is a level playing field. Madonna is just another mum. Widespread criticism in the media of Madonna just because Lourdes was seen smoking is pretty unfair. Neither of my parents have ever smoked, but I took it up when I was 13, only stopping when I fell pregnant with my first child seven later. Yes, smoking is stupid. But hands up who never did anything stupid when they were 15? Hands up the mum whose kid has never done anything stupid?
God forbid my own mum had been vilified in this way for the things I did when I was Lourdes age. It wasn’t her fault. I didn’t then, and don’t now, hold her responsible for my ridiculous and often outright dangerous actions.
This is not about smoking. Look, it’s not easy to find someone who hates smoking more than I do. You know what really bugs me about Lourdes and Madonna being hated on for this? Those people in their glass houses. Sooner or later Lourdes will grow up and realise how stupid she looks with that thing hanging out of her mouth, and wonder why she has to stop and bend over and hack her lungs out when all her friends can run the cross-country without a problem, and she’ll come across someone who has cancer and suddenly not doing something that would ever do that to your body will be more important than giving your mum, and everyone else who tells you what to do, the finger.
Give her some credit. And some grace. She’s 15, people.
You may think your own kids are perfect, but just wait until they grow up. Then you’ll find out what they really got up to while you were bragging on them, and criticising everyone else’s. In the end, even with all the resources she has available to her and her public profile, she’s just another mama. Would you want people ripping on you like this if they saw your daughter smoking in the street?
I say lay off the mama.