Fit & Fibbin’? Bethenny Frankel’s Image on Instagram


bethenny frankel

BETHENNY FRANKEL doesn’t need Jason DeRulo to make her famous on Instagram. The reality-TV veteran can make headlines via the social media site all on her own.

Here’s a little Cliff’s Notes background on Frankel and her Instagram escapade before we analyze exactly what went down.

The Who: Bethenny Frankel (Former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City, former real housewife, former talk show host, author, cocktail maven, and entrepreneur)

The When: July 13th, 2014

The What: Frankel posted the above photo of herself, squeezed into her 4-year-old daughter’s PJs, on her Instagram account and captioned it, “This is my daughter’s nightgown and PJ shorts. Think we’re ready to start staring clothes yet?”

The photo has just shy of 11,000 “likes” at the time this article was written, in addition to a slew of comments ranging from, “I’m sorry but it’s just weird seeing a grown woman wearing pre-school clothes” to “I love it and think you look fabulous!! #forgetthehaters”

To be completely honest, when I first saw the photo I laughed. I’m generally a fan of Frankel and her sharp tongue, especially when it’s directed at her reality-show counterparts. How could anyone forget (or not laugh) when she said the Countess LuAnn de Lesseps was acting like a “Dis-Countess?” Trees could learn a thing or two about the kind of shade she throws. I enjoy Frankel’s brand of humor because, for the most part, it’s similar to mine. Then the photo made its way around the media, and with every story or tweet I began to feel bothered for different reasons each time, until I finally realized how f*cked the photo is.

I’m a petite person and, in fact, I sometimes wear children’s clothing. Hey, they are cheaper. But the children’s clothing I’m wearing are the largest sizes that are available. While a piece of clothing made for children sometimes isn’t all that much smaller than a piece of clothing made for adults (according to the CDC, “childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years”), for the most part,  clothing that is made for 4-year-olds is small. There is NO way that I would ever be able to fit into clothing that a 4-year-old could wear; even when I was experiencing medical problems and my weight was very low, I couldn’t fit into clothes that were manufactured for a four-year-old. I would’ve pretty much had to slice my body in half lengthwise for this to have even been considered possible.

That lead me to question if the photo was, in fact, a real photo. I decided to do a little detective work (thanks, Google!) to confirm my suspicions, and I was able to find a shirt that was similar to the one Frankel is seen wearing, complete with a ruffle at the bottom. This wasn’t the smoking gun in my opinion, but I do wonder how Frankel managed to get her fairly large adult-sized breasts into the child’s top.

The real evidence for me was in the PJ bottoms. In the photo, Frankel’s Hello Kitty bottoms are clearly boy shorts. When I searched for Hello Kitty pajamas for younger girls, the results did come back with shorts, but the cut was much longer–  the kind that you would use for bicycling. No matter how you put those on, there’s no way to turn one style of shorts into another. There were boy shorts but they were made for the juniors line.

I don’t think there’s any way for a four-year-old to wear clothing from the juniors line. My conclusion? The only conclusion that makes logical sense? Frankel lied. She lied for attention. The pajamas she wore were not her daughter’s. The self-proclaimed “skinnygirl” who touts the secrets to helping women stay “Naturally Thin” pulled the pajamas over everyone’s eyes.

If by some chance I’m wrong (although I don’t think I am), and Frankel really did wear her four-year-old’s pajamas, the message she’s sending is nonetheless unhealthy, and the antithesis of the foundation on which her entire brand is built.

Her response to the social media backlash was, “When ur 4 year old peanut says ‘Mommy please put my dress’ on & giggles uncontrollably, u do what ur told.”

On July 15th she posted a photo of herself wearing an oversized men’s hoodie, basketball shorts, and men’s shoes. She is clearly a woman of extremes.

Regardless of whether the outfit did in fact belong to her daughter or she just claimed it did, Frankel is promoting an unhealthy body image, implying that women who can’t share clothing with their toddlers are overweight. And, honestly, it’s just plain snarky, in the way that the photo of ‘Fit Mom’ posing with her children came off as snarky. Lots of women who look up to Frankel struggle with their weight and might feel discouraged by this kind of picture, without stopping to remember that Bethenny Frankel leads a different lifestyle than most other women, one where she has the resources and, more importantly, time to stay fit, since she no longer has a day job. Yes, she is an entrepreneur and a mother, which are both time-consuming commitments, but you can be sure she’s not working a ten-hour shift at the factory and then coming home to a house full of hungry kids and a sink full of dishes. You would think that Frankel would use that time to contemplate the potential negative messages her photo could be sending, especially since she’s crafted an image of herself as a fitness guru and especially if she lied, but this whole Instagram debacle just makes me want to slip into my adult-sized pajamas and pick up a margarita.

And not one from Skinnygirl.

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