Mom-shaming is such a prevalent issue in today's society, it's easy to forget that dads can be on the receiving end of it, too. In a recent interview, new dad Tan France says he faced a lot of backlash after he revealed that he was formula-feeding his son.
He and his husband, Rob, welcomed their son Ismail on July 10, and he's shared some majorly sweet moments from his new parenthood journey on Instagram.
But that doesn't mean he's been exempt from unfair criticism as a result. The Queer Eye star opened up to the We Are Family podcas about the DMs he received from online bullies who dad-shamed him for not using breastmilk.
After doing a sponsored Instagram video for Bobbie, an organic infant formula company, people felt the need to shame him because the video was timed to coincide with National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. In the video caption, France encouraged everyone to support every kind of "feeding journey" and no parent should feel guilty for using formula.
“Let’s start by sharing and supporting every kind of feeding journey,” he wrote in the caption. “No one should ever feel guilty for feeding their baby formula.”
After posting the video, France says he received 17,000 messages. Yes, that's the number '17' with three zeros after it.
“Almost every one was filled with such venom,” he said. “Obviously I’m in a very interesting position where when we say that we’re having a baby, a lot of people have an opinion on how we’re having a baby, and how we will feed our baby.”
France says commenters grilled him about whether he and his husband would be purchasing breastmilk to feed their baby. Not only is that absolutely inappropriate to ask a stranger, it's also extremely unhelpful when he's already made it clear that he uses formula.
“I want to make it clear to everyone listening: I 100% believe that breast milk is the gold standard, so does Bobbie. We all understand that. If I could breastfeed my child, 100% I would. I can't. Therefore, I need to not be shamed for that.”
Bravo. Respecting other parents' choices—especially when those choices don't personally affect anyone else—is another gold standard.