Keke Palmer’s boyfriend isn’t the only one who needs to stop telling women how to dress

Let’s all say this together: it’s 2023 and we’re not going to publicly shame women for what they wear

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 12 July 2023 16:29 BST
Actress Keke Palmer praises single parents in emotional video

Keke Palmer’s boyfriend Darius Jackson became public enemy number one after he appeared to publicly shame his girlfriend over an outfit she wore to an Usher concert – seemingly because she is a mother.

For context, actor Keke Palmer has been dating fitness instructor Darius Jackson (yes, I had to Google him too) since 2021. They welcomed their first child together, a son named Leodis “Leo” Andrellton Jackson, in February this year.

Of course, by law that means Palmer – who once stunned as a business savvy stripper in the 2019 movie, Hustlers – must now dress like a member of the Duggar family purely because she is a mother. Or at least, that’s what her boyfriend seems to think.

On 5 July, a clip of the former Disney Channel star dancing with Usher at his Las Vegas residency surfaced on social media. Palmer looked flawless in a sheer black dress with a black bodysuit underneath – clearly having the well-deserved time of her life after welcoming a child five months ago.

However, the moment turned sour when Jackson took to Twitter to respond to the video of Usher serenading Palmer with his hit 2010 song, “There Goes My Baby”.

“It’s the outfit tho,” he quote-tweeted the video, “You a mom.” .

Unsurprisingly, Jackson was met with a barrage of tweets criticising him for publicly shaming his girlfriend’s outfit choice, which, in hindsight, was relatively PG. He then doubled-down on his comments mere hours later.

“We live in a generation where a man of the family doesn’t want the wife & mother to his kids to showcase booty cheeks to please others & he gets told how much of a hater he is,” he said. “This is my family & my representation. I have standards & morals to what I believe. I rest my case.” He deactivated his Twitter account on Thursday.

(Twitter/Darius Jackson)

Let’s say this all together: it’s 2023, and one thing we’re not going to do is publicly shame women for the outfits they choose to wear, especially someone as unapologetic and confident as Keke Palmer.

It might be part of the celebrity job description that one must be accustomed to receiving negative comments from unknown social media trolls. But how are women supposed to respond when the public shaming comes from their own boyfriends?

(Twitter/Darius Jackson)

Before Hollywood power couple “Kimye” went their separate ways in February 2021, rapper Kanye West (now legally known as Ye) styled Kim Kardashian for many major red carpet events. The Yeezy designer has often shared his unfiltered thoughts on Kardashian’s fashion choices, one particularly notable occasion being the Thierry Mugler corset she wore to the 2019 Met Gala.

The beaded latex “camp” corset dress has since gone down in history as one of the reality star’s most memorable fashion moments, but just one day before the annual fashion event, West had tried to stop Kardashian from wearing it because it was “too sexy.”

“I went through this transition where being a rapper, looking at all these girls and looking at my wife, like, ‘Oh my girl needs to be just like the other girls, showing their body off.’ I didn’t realise that that was affecting my soul and my spirit as someone who is married and the father of now…about to be four kids,” West told his then-wife in an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. “A corset is a form of underwear; it’s hot. For who though?”

Much like West, Darius Jackson may reserve the right to feel some type of way about how he wants his family to be represented in the spotlight, but his argument that a woman shouldn’t “showcase booty cheeks” once she becomes a mother is beyond absurd.

Mere weeks ago, Jackson publicly praised Palmer’s post-baby body on his Instagram account (which he has also deleted), and thanked their newborn son for “transforming” his mother’s body.

“Y’all see this? Y’all see this work?” he said in the clip, which showed Palmer wearing a skin-tight leopard print jumpsuit. “My son done transformed,” the caption read.

In a guest appearance on Palmer’s podcast, Baby, This is Keke Palmer, Jackson himself even admitted to holding his girlfriend to a “perfect standard” after going public with their romance.

“You almost feel that pressure of needing to be perfect,” he said. “And so, it really confused me and infiltrated my mind because not only did I have to hold myself to that perfect standard, I was also holding you to a perfect standard as well.”

For those attempting to praise Jackson’s desire for Palmer to dress modestly out of some archaic, so-called “man of the family” way of thinking, there is an immediate reverse UNO card to be pulled. Want to play the tradition card? Okay, how about the fact that Palmer is the ultimate “breadwinner”; a triple threat, multi-hyphenate whose career spans movies, television, game shows, and a Primetime Emmy award. (It goes without saying that there’s no “breadwinner” prerequisite for women to dress however they want, but hey - sometimes it’s fun to play the misogynists at their own game).

While dancing in Las Vegas with Usher, Keke Palmer was our ultimate Barbie, and her boyfriend is...well, he’s just Ken. Jackson’s soapbox message about modesty gave a “male podcast host” energy we’re all too familiar with on virtually every online platform (most notably the one these comments were originally made on) but his since-deleted tweets highlight how women’s bodies are constantly policed by toxic masculinity. The behavior that men like Jackson or West exhibit is not because they share a genuine concern for the whittling away of traditional family values, but rather a means for control, tradition, and what women should be.

Women’s autonomy should not be stripped away from them the second they have children. And, in a newsflash to all of the modesty-loving men, women can both breastfeed and wear a little black dress at the same time.

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