Last month when Hilary Duff posted a sweet pic of her giving her 4-year-old son Luca a smooch at Disneyland, little did she know she would ignite a media firestorm.
“Borderline pedophilia," one commenter wrote under her pic. Another added, "I will not kiss my daughter on the mouth... I give her endless love without having to kiss her in the lips."
The former Disney star received a deluge of comments because the smooch was on the lips—but Hilary did not take the criticism lying down. The following day the “Younger” actress, 29 answered the trolls with a succinct message on Instagram.
“For anyone commenting that a kiss on the lips with my four year old is ‘inappropriate’ go ahead and click a quick unfollow with your warped minds and judgment,” she wrote.
She isn’t the only star to be on the receiving end of trolls horrified by a parent smooching their child on the lips.
Last July fashion designer Victoria Beckham posted a picture of herself giving a kiss to her five-year-old daughter Harper on the lips.
Over 5,000 people expressed distaste with the photo. It caused such an uproar that mothers around the world began posting pictures of themselves kissing their children on the lips to support the former Spice Girl.
Relationship expert and author of “Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband)” Andrea Syrtash says that kissing your child on the lips is more than fine.
“There are plenty of non-sexual ways people show affection for each other,” she says. “If Victoria were French-kissing her daughter it should raise questions! But, a quick loving peck is sweet. In some cultures, friends greet with kisses and hold hands. Anytime you connect with your child through non-sexual touch and affection it releases oxytocin which makes you feel more bonded.”
But the uproar leads back to the question: why do people get so testy when they see a mom kiss their young child on the lips?
Relationship and etiquette expert and author April Masini says people often read into the innocent smooch as something more sinister.
“Lots of people mistake that show of parental affection for sexual behavior – which it isn’t intended to be. Kissing children on the lips is often misconstrued.”
“The reality is that sexual predators look just like the rest of us. They don’t have flashing neon signs and they don’t necessarily look indigent or wealthy, short or tall, employed or unemployed,” she continued. “They’re difficult to spot, and when folks are fearful, they look for signs, like Victoria kissing Harper, that make them feel safe for having spotted it, spoken out against it, and reminding their children against it.”
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