Why Is Prince Harry (& Seemingly All Dads) Immune To Parent-Shaming?

Ah, the joys and double standards of parenting. Last night, Prince Harry traveled to Rome to play in a polo match benefiting his charity, Sentabale. Sentabale, founded by Harry in 2006, “supports the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.” This trip marks the second time Harry has traveled internationally since the birth of baby Archie on May 6: the first was a day trip to the Netherlands when Archie was just three days old. And while Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has been criticized for everything from touching her baby bump to maybe hiring a nanny, there’s not a bad word to be found about Harry’s choice to spend a night in Rome just a few weeks after becoming a father.

While a few headlines have poked at Harry’s decision to leave Archie again so soon, the criticism — if we can call it that — ends there, with the articles themselves largely confined to reporting the facts of his trip. What’s more, the general public’s reaction to the headlines has been swift and immediate fury that the media would dare try to shame his parenting. When People tweeted the headline “Prince Harry Leaves Meghan Markle and Baby Archie at Home to Play Polo for His Charity in Rome,” the comments have ranged from calling the outlet “disgusting” to suggesting People should focus on its own charity work before accusing Harry of wrongdoing.

While we agree that parenting choices should not be up for public discussion, it’s infuriating to see this swell of public support now, knowing how critical the public and media alike have been of Meghan throughout her pregnancy. This is hardly a new phenomenon: search the internet for examples of dad-shaming, and you’ll find they’re few and far between. John Legend commented on the double standard in 2016, responding to the wave of criticism for wife Chrissy Teigen going out to dinner (with husband Legend!) with a newborn at home. “Funny there’s no dad-shaming,” the singer tweeted. “When both of us go out to dinner, shame both of us so Chrissy doesn’t have to take it all. We’ll split it.”

Luckily, Meghan’s been able to keep her home life with baby Archie private — otherwise we’d certainly be seeing a flood of comments on her mothering choices already. For whatever reason, it continues to be more socially acceptable to call out a mom for how she parents, while fathers who do the bare minimum are hailed as #dadgoals and protected at all costs. Judging from the reactions to Harry’s polo trip, the Sussex royals will likely face this same double standard as parents. On the bright side, if Harry’s looking for a way to tell the media to back off, John Legend has the perfect template.

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