Recently, American idol contestant Sarah Beth Liebe, 25, quit the competition so that she could go back home and be with her three children. This came after, in the audition, she was mocked for being a young mother (of three children). the mockery was instigated by another woman, Katy Perry.
Katy’s message to Sarah Beth Liebe was, basically, that the contestant had too many children, that she was weighed down, that her dreams were behind her, but also that “self-love is just as big as motherly love”. This had many viewers in disbelief.
When she said: “you’ve been laying on the table too much” the message Perry sent the world was that Sarah was not in control of her own reproduction and that she was a woman tied down by the circumstances in her life, someone who perhaps in her view was “letting life” happen to her and setting a bad example for other girls out there.
One can only speculate, of course, as to what was going through Katy’s mind, but her face made the feelings obvious. And her linguistic framing went further to elucidate the origin of what looked like disdain.
In the meantime, Sarah was overwhelmed by the experience and star struck by the judges’ presence.
It’s been a while since I have seen such an example of perfect cheerfulness face to face with what came across as hatred and cowardice. Sarah was a childlike goofball and wore all her feelings on her sleeve. Even as Katy looked at her and said some would give their lives to have that golden ticket and that she was not taking the competition seriously, an accusation Lionel Ritchie repeated, Sarah smiled and acted as if she was nothing but happy to be there.
Katy asked her “is this your dream now?” as if to say, “are you ready to put this before love for your children?”
Sarah’s reply came during the second round of the competition, when she performed another lovely song. She left American Idol voluntarily in order to go home to her babies.
Katy, at this stage probably feeling like a mentor to Sarah (and so grabbing on to some sense of superiority) insisted that self-love is just as big as motherly love. Sarah thanked the judges and went home.
The word love is used so often nowadays that it has lost all meaning. We say ‘love you’ to our friends, to our dog, to our boyfriends or husbands, to our children.
How many of us would be willing to die for our friends though? What about for our dogs? And are those boyfriends loved or lusted after?
True love is sacrificial in nature. Anything less than that is not love.
And self-love is only love when it is not hurting other people. Otherwise it is self-worship.
It was made clear to Sarah during the competition, by words, actions, and lived experience, that here, she would have to choose between mothering her children and achieving fame.
In the end, there simply was no contest.
And this is what it means to be truly happy, that is, to not fall for what the world tells you that you want but rather to recognize needs and desires within yourself that dictate which direction to head in order to find not only happiness but peace.
Sarah’s response on Tik Tok was sensible and to the point: I don’t “have too much to say on my feelings about it, because I feel like it’s probably pretty self-explanatory. And it was hurtful and, you know, that’s that. But I did want to take this opportunity to just say that I think that women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool, and I think that mom-shaming is super lame.”
You see, she did not need to be an idol. She was a mother.
Currently, she is posting her music on Instagram and Spotify.
Now, I don’t know Sarah or Katy personally, so I don’t know what type of people they are in private. But in this one instance at least, the way the situation played out was in favor of what looked like true motherly affection and common sense, even when hatred and disdain seemed to be placed as obstacles to such inclinations.
And it’s been a while since I’ve seen good sense prevail in this society.
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