A member of the Crawford clan is showing some skin. And surprisingly, it’s not Cindy. Kaia Gerber, 15, took to Instagram on Thursday to share what some are perceiving as a seductive mirror selfie wearing a robe that is slipping off her shoulders, and her followers feel it is too soon.
In the photo, the model appeared to be in a full face of makeup. The caption reads just “uniform.” Clutching her robe closed, Gerber exposed her bare shoulders, collarbone and the top of her chest.
Many social media users feel Gerber, Crawford’s daughter with Rande Gerber, is too young to be letting the world see such a sexual side of her. “IS THAT APPROPRIATE,” wrote one follower. “Too young!!! Put some clothes on!!!” said another. “Honey ur just 15 is that ‘appropriate’?” someone else echoed. “You’re so young and there’s so many creeps out there,” said another concerned follower.
Some commenters jumped to her defense though. “[S]howing off our bodies is empowering, not degrading. Girls of any age should not be afraid to experience that. Kaia is obviously still a child and is not pretending to be anything else, anyone who could look at this and see something provocative is in the wrong. Spread love not hate!!” an Instagram user wrote. Others just noted how “stunning” or “beautiful” she looked.
Then there are those who pointed directly at the parents, one of whom started modeling around the same age. “Beautiful but I think too young for this … speaking only from the perspective as a Mom. Surprised your parents are on board with this seductive picture,” a commenter pointed out.
And Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., teen, family and individual clinical psychologist, agrees. “I was really disappointed to see her to that, and disappointed in her mother as well,” Dr. Greenberg tells Yahoo Style. “I do agree as a psychologist that 15 is the perfect age for parents to be talking to their teens about sexuality.”
Greenberg is disappointed in Crawford, particularly, because “her mother has the agency and responsibility to be setting some limits as to how her daughter represents herself as a model, since she’s been through this,” she says. “She should be very aware of what she’s putting out there. Both of her parents should, that’s their responsibility. They should be monitoring what their daughter is doing like every other parent.”
Why, you ask? Because according to Greenberg, 15 is too young to be so openly sexual because you are “poorly equipped” at that age. “I think there is way too much emphasis on sexuality in this picture at too young an age,” she points out. Greenberg believes Gerber is promoting sexual behavior “way too young.” Getting sexually involved at a young age can lead to depression and anxiety symptoms, according to Dr. Greenberg. “In my practice, when I see young teenagers getting involved sexually way too young, they can’t handle it emotionally,” she recalls. “She’s conveying the wrong message here. Basically what the picture says is 15 and sexuality go hand in hand…that teen nudity and sexuality are OK.”
Greenberg is worried for Gerber’s sake but also for the sake of her fledgling followers. “She’s a role model for young teenagers, and I’m very disappointed in her.” Gerber’s picture speaks a “thousand words,” says Greenberg. She points out that “teens are very suggestible and look to celebrities as their role models after their peers and parents.”
She notes that the photo is likely to have a copycat effect. “My guess would be that other young teens would say, ‘if it’s OK for her, it’s OK for me.’” In this photo, Dr. Greenberg believes Gerber is giving other young women permission to show that much of themselves at that age. “She should think about what she puts out there more carefully. She’s a role model and she has to embrace her responsibility.”
So when would it be safe for the already accomplished model to post photos like this? “At the least, around 18. Older teenagers have a more developed brain and are more aware of their photo’s impact on others. At 15 you can’t really understand the impact of your sexuality on others,” says Dr. Greenberg.
The rules when it comes to age and the type of behavior your photos endorse doesn’t just apply to girls. When 12-year-old Cruz Beckham (the third child of David and Victoria) posted a clip of himself at the gym on Instagram last month, the Internet had something to say about it: “too young” and “too dangerous.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- ‘Norts’ and a T-Shirt Is the ‘Trashiest’ and Most Popular Look of the Summer
- Guy Gets Epically Shut Down After Saying Body Positivity Campaigns Are ‘Wrong’
- Alison Brie on Her ‘GLOW’ Body: ‘I Feel So Strong’