Confessional journalism and tweeting are all the rage. And what's more, what you tweet or write now lasts for an eternity, thanks to the internet.
Which is why, Rachel Johnson, otherwise known as the editor of The Lady magazine or sister of London Mayor Boris Johnson, should be doubly ashamed at outing her daughter for having a Brazilian bikini wax in a detailed article published in Vogue last week.
Johnson, a prolific confessional journalist, was understandably shocked that her 15 year-old daughter had opted for the most extreme pubic wax that money can buy, instead of a mere leg wax, as she had promised her mummy.
All daughters shock their mothers during their teens. And most of the time the shock is linked to the child becoming increasingly sexualized, probably a little prematurely, but such is life and the cycle of growing up.
However, most daughters do not then have to relive their embarrassments through the pages of the world's most famous glossy magazine, and subsequently, forevermore, across the web.
I have no issue with confessional journalism and the army of mainly female journalists, a la Bridget Jones, tweeting about every single one of their misdemeanours and mini victories. For the most part – it's usually very amusing and empathetic. But that's the point – these women are more often than not, writing about their own awkward situations, not their children's.
Johnson, who then goes on to describe in the article how, in the name of 'journalistic research', she too hopped off to a Mayfair salon to try out life with a Brazilian, definitely crossed the non-porous line from mother to friend.
And that's the crux of the matter. No child ever wants their parents to act like their friends. Mothers and fathers are meant to remain parents – regardless of how 'cool' and 'down with the kids' parents might think they are.
Johnson's daughter has hopefully been blessed with the same raucous sense of humour as the rest of the upwardly mobile Johnson clan – but regardless of how she may feel now – unlike days gone by – the story of her first Brazilian, followed shortly by her mother's, will live on in history forever courtesy of the unforgiving world wide web.
Now more then ever, people, and that also includes celebrity writers, must heed their written and spoken words about others with the greatest of care, as they are helping to form a permanent narrative on that person's life, which Google is indexing and recording for the rest of time.
Last week a new study from University of Otago in New Zealand, found that age decreases people's ability to behave appropriately and not cause embarrassment. The researchers studied a group of over 60s watching The Office, featuring Ricky Gervais playing a socially inept manager called David Brent.
The comedy series, famed for its achingly awkward moments, failed to impact and cause the usual reactions amongst these older people – with most of them not batting an eyelid during horribly humourous scenes such as Gervais leaving a wheelchair bound women in a stairwell during a fire alarm.
At 45 years old, Johnson, according to this new research, is a few years off from reaching her personal peak of inappropriateness – but while she still has some social awareness left – it would advisable to make herself the sole butt of her headline-grabbing columns, and continue to act as a thoughtful mother to her teenage daughter at all times, even in the aftermath of a shocking Brazilian bikini wax.
Emma Barnett is the Digital Media Editor of The Daily Telegraph. She writes about media, culture, technology and social issues and has a monthly column in The Sunday Telegraph. Emma is also a broadcaster, regularly contributing to BBC Radio 4, Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, Sky News, CNN and LBC. Additionally she has written for The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire Magazine, TimeOut London, The Stage Newspaper and Media Week. She can be found tweeting via @emmabarnett.
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