The illustration we used for this article depicts three women which the stock photo service PIXTA has captioned "fashionably dressed mothers." This reveals a certain expectation about the limits of acceptable fashion for mothers.

But what happens when a mother decides to go outside of those rather staid "limits" and wear something that embraces their sexuality? Some people get critical.

Japanese TV talent and single mother Kuran Kusakari, daughter of famous actor Masao Kusakari, has recently been in the media spotlight for speaking out against this kind of criticism in reaction to photos she posted on her Instagram account. On September 21st, Kuran posted the following photo in her car wearing jeans and a revealing top:

"Recently, I've been getting a lot of comments and direct messages telling me to: 'Dress in a more motherly way.'

To begin with, what is a 'motherly look'?...
What kind of clothes does that correspond to?
Who decided it?

Are you no longer able to wear the clothes you want to wear when you become a mother?
When you become a mother, are you no longer allowed to wear clothes that show cleavage?
Who is it whose ideas ended up becoming the common view of so many people?

I think it's really cool to wear the clothes you like and to be fashionable in a way that's true to yourself.

What exactly is the 'image of a mother'?

I personally like clothes with a plunging neckline.
Not only that, but I also think strapless dresses are very pretty so I like them.
I dress up when I go out with my daughter, I wear a boyish look when I go to the park, and a blouse when I go to work.
I like to choose different clothes to wear depending on the time and place.
That's who I am!"

This provoked positive reactions from her fans such as:

  • You tell them! There's too much pressure in Japan to "be a certain way"!
  • The criticism must be from other women who are jealous of your figure! Don't pay attention to them. You're great the way you are!
  • Don't be fashionable once you become a mother? What a joke! It doesn't matter if you're a wife or a mother. Wearing your favorite clothes and putting on makeup makes you feel good and gives you energy to do what you need to (...)
  • I think those people who go around saying "Be more motherly" are totally uncool.

Taking a look at Kuran's Instagram account shows her having a great time with her daughter and looking sexy and fashionable while she's at it:

The stereotyped notion that a mother can't be sexy is hardly limited to Japan. In fact, Kuran's message is very similar to one posted by author, director, and screenwriter Kelly Oxford two years ago: "I get so annoyed when people say, 'You don’t look like a mom.' What’s a mom supposed to look like? This is a Mom."

By - Ben K.