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Hold Up, Internet! Let’s Stop the Mom-Shaming

Photograph by Chelsea Lauren/REX/Shutterstock

Morning chat show host Kelly Ripa has done the unthinkable. She has committed a cardinal sin. She has, according to a huge quorum of Internet trolls, gone too far. That’s because Kelly Ripa looks amazing in a bikini. And she’s not hiding it. Well, her adorable husband Marc Consuelos isn’t.

The longtime lovebirds are on what appears to be the dreamiest of tropical vacations. No, they didn’t call me to share the details, but they have been serial posting to their respective Instagram accounts from their holiday. In one photo Marc posted to his page, he shared a photo of Kelly looking perfect in a gold bikini. That’s when the internet went wild, but not for the reasons you might think. The internet went wild over Marc’s photo of Kelly because Kelly not only looked amazing in a bikini, she was also proud of it.

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Comments on Marc’s post ranged from supportive to shockingly negative. A large amount of people, many them women, were infuriated that Kelly would dare flaunt her body at the age of 47. Others commented that Ripa wasn’t the same “sweet” girl who had gotten the job on “Live” with former co-host Regis Philbin. Others commented that just because Ripa looks good in a bikini doesn’t mean she should be wearing one. The undertone of the comments was, “She is 47 years old! That’s just too old for a wife and mother to flaunt her body even if that body is amazing.”

So, wait, now moms can’t look good in a swimsuit? Hold up, internet, you’ve just gone too far.

Every woman knows that the minute she gets pregnant, the judgment and shame begin. Even if you’re not Kelly Ripa-levels of famous, women are the receivers of constant criticism. If you gain a lot of weight during pregnancy, you’ll get used to telling strangers that, no, you’re not actually expecting twins. If you’re not heavy during pregnancy, then you must be one of those “crazy” girls who starves her way through pregnancy.

Every woman knows that the minute she gets pregnant, the judgment and shame begin.

When it comes to a woman’s physique, everyone turns into an internet troll. We women are used to that. It’s not right or fair, but we know what’s coming.

I don’t have a perfect bod, but I work hard to stay in shape and feel good about myself. I definitely ask myself if I’m too old to wear a bikini with dignity, or if I've aged out of having long hair. Can I pull off a short skirt? I’ve certainly received the comment or eye-roll from other women when I say “screw it” and wear whatever I want.

When it comes to women and our bodies, we just can’t win. And, when women are trolling other women for looking too good and for “flaunting” their good looks, it’s clear that the problem starts with us. We women are our own worst enemies. We’re perpetuating the notion that a woman of a certain age is supposed to be dowdy, conservative and definitely ashamed. Yet we’re constantly talking about girl power and enraged when anyone is publicly body-shamed.

But body-shaming can go both ways. Girl power goes both ways, too. Kelly Ripa is a woman who appears to have it all, from an amazing career to a supportive husband to, yes, a perfect bod. That seems to piss a lot of people off. Kelly appears to be breaking the cardinal rule that you can’t have it all and be happy about it. The truth is, whatever she has or doesn’t have, including her amazing bikini body, came from hard work and dedication.

I’ve never achieved Ripa’s level of perfect bod’ness, but I’m comfortable with the way I look. I look at Kelly Ripa, a 47-year-old mother of three, and I think she’s giving us all some serious inspiration. If I had her bod, I’d be posting photos on the internet, too.

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