Innocence can be a practiced art.
Wide eyes, raised eyebrows, arms spread apart, palms upward. They're all quite effective.
Some, though, are suspicious that a fit and fetching Facebook mother is less innocent that she might appear.
No, I am not talking of Sheryl Sandberg. I am talking about another Lean-In Tower of Facebook: Maria Kang.
Should you not have heard of Kang, she's colloquially known as Facebook's "Hot Mom." This complex epithet was given her because she is, in the estimation of many, hot and she is a mom of three.
One problem some people have is that Kang seems to think she's quite hot too.
On her own Web site, she merely describes herself as "wife, mother, business owner and nonprofit founder." However, she caused fulminations last year when she posted a Facebook picture of herself and her three kids.
In it, she wore far fewer threads of clothing than her children. However, it might have been the words over the picture that flew up some people's noses: "What's Your Excuse?"
Was this supposed to be inspirational or merely a Facebook poke in the eye at those with less perfect physiques?
Now she is back with a new Facebook photo. In this one, she is wearing a tutu, while balancing three cakes on her forehead, three children in her arms, and playing keepy-uppy with a soccer ball.
Actually, that's not quite right. This is an image of just her and her physical majesty, with arrows pointing to different parts of herself.
Yes, even to the stretch marks.
The arrows declare that she doesn't get much sleep, works eight hours a day, and doesn't have a nanny or a chef.
I can hear the chorus of "Bully for her! Genetic freak!"
I can also see some of the Facebook comments, such as this from Becky Badkitty:
My excuse for not looking like you? Well, the first excuse is that I'm not you. I don't have the hypersensitivity to fat you have. I don't have the PTSD response you have to your mother being overweight you do. I think someone else put it beautifully: that you got the attention that you crave. Why else would you essentially tell other women that they are "less than" if they don't strive to look like you? There are plenty of fit women that don't fat shame to get money and fame.
Kang counters on her Web site that she isn't naturally skinny and her births were all natural.
She adds that in order to lose weight she uses "a combination of exercise, diet, rest and prayer (for me)."
I pray for me too. Every time I see a glass of Apsara syrah, I pray that I won't want to drink it all, or that a second one will be offered. Every time I see a McVities milk chocolate digestive biscuit, the Hail Marys tumble out of me like tears from a cuckolded husband.
Still, now that she's famous (whether it is her doing or not), Kang is surely using Facebook for the very same purpose most people use it: advertising.
She's advertising that she feels good, that she thinks she's rather marvelous (even if she says so herself) and that, of course, you could be just like her if you were just like her.
This is no different from those cute couples who post pictures of themselves in the mountains of Australia, clad only in sneakers, shorts, and love.
Their real message isn't "We miss you all." It's "Hah. You're not here."