Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Clarified Their Comments on Bathing Their Kids
However, this topic has sparked a larger conversation around white privilege.
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard recently made headlines for their comments about not bathing their two children as frequently as they get older. The couple’s daughters, Lincoln and Delta, are 8 and 6, respectively.
“I’m a big fan of waiting for the stink,” Bell said during an appearance on The View on August 3rd. “Once you catch a whiff, that’s biology’s way of letting you know you need to clean it up. There’s a red flag. Honestly, it’s just bacteria; once you get bacteria you gotta be like, ‘Get in the tub or the shower.'”
Bell and Shepard’s comments followed similar ones made by Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, who shared during an appearance on Shepard’s podcast that they only bathe their kids when they “can see the dirt on them.”
However, Bell and Shepard made a few clarifying comments about their approach to their children’s hygiene now that this has become such a big conversation. “We had said, we did bathe them religiously for the first few years when the bedtime routine was so vital,” Shepard said on the August 9th episode of Daily Blast Live. “Once that wasn’t required to get them to go to sleep, yeah, we took our foot off the gas.”
Bell also cited environmental reasons for bathing less frequently, pointing out that California has been in a lengthy drought. Gov. Gavin Newsom asked residents to cut their water usage by 15 percent and one way to do this is to reduce the amount of time spent bathing.
There’s a bigger issue, though, behind the frustration with celebrities’ recent comments about not bathing
Other celebs including Jake Gyllenhaal have also jumped on the “minimal bathing” bandwagon. But it’s important to note that they’re not just receiving backlash because some people think it’s weird to shower infrequently. White privilege allows celebrities to openly talk about their bathing habits (or lack thereof).
People of color have pointed out that, if they made similar statements as Bell, Shepard, and Gyllenhaal, they would be faced with racist criticisms. Historically, a great deal of racism has always stemmed from fears that immigrants and Black people will cause disease and contamination in the white population.
People of color say they’d get a very different reaction if they spoke about bathing infrequently.
The racist association continues to this day—last year, a state lawmaker suggested that COVID-19 may be more prevalent in Black communities because they “do not wash their hands as well as other groups.”
Although everyone is certainly entitled to form their own bathing habits, this context is a good reminder that it’s important to be cognizant of how white privilege influences our ability to discuss hygiene.