Friday, 13 March 2009

Hating mothers: the new American pastime

Along with shoulder pads and shiny jumpsuits, mother-hating is having a banner year. Madeline Holler's Babble article 50 Moms We Love To Hate is a strange kind of witch-burning festival that isn't tongue-in-cheek enough to make it seem harmless. That is to say, if Holler was trying to satirize our obsession with having opinions on the way women mother, the satire isn't effective enough that people wouldn't take it seriously. (At no. 50, she names one of the moms we love to hate as "Moms who hate on other moms", but it's at the end of the article, so it comes off as kind of a 'Haha fooled you!' after the damage has been done. We don't think that the writer necessarily actively hates all these women, but she doesn't exactly distance herself from the hostility either, so presumably she's doing her share of mom-hating as well.)

Just like Maxim's Unsexiest Women and Least Appealing TV Women and Women Too Ugly to Live (oh wait, was that not one?) lists, this one encourages us to hate women on the basis of their (only) purposes as women: eye candy or incubator of humanity. Somewhere, someone is right now compiling a list of 30 Women Whose Meatloaf Sucks Most.

Holler's list is an antithetical mishmash of women who, according to our idealist notions of motherhood, are either getting it very wrong, or getting it too perfect for anyone to possibly compete. In a time when the way we perform as mothers is up for judgment by all - when absent mothers are blamed for emotionally unavailable men, single mothers are blamed for criminals and overbearing mothers are blamed for the gays - it does seem like a list of offenders would be the next logical development. I think the pillories are coming soon.

Unsurprisingly, the revoltingly-nicknamed 'Octomom' Nadya Suleman tops the list, with Angelina Jolie in second and the prolific bearer of offspring Michelle Duggar at number three. Notice the trend? You must have kids, but not too many. Otherwise, you're just being smug and greedy. Women should only be reasonably fertile.

All the stereotypes of why women are supposed to hate other women are also represented here. Apparently, we hate Heidi Klum because three weeks after giving birth she was back on the catwalk: "She explained her lack of flab as "good genes." We hate that she just won't tell us it was surgery", and Kelly Ripa disgusts us because she's a hot, privileged mother who 'pretends' to mundane tasks like laundry. Will no one stop this insanity? Will no one speak up for those of us who enjoy seeing happy, confident women going about their business not ashamed of being hot? Not all of us despise attractive women and take pleasure in people looking like crap. So please keep your pitiful schadenfreude to yourselves.


  1. It's full of that 11th hour or death bed confession that Liss is always talking about. Sure, some people are laughing...but they are laughing too hard to hear the "but, I didn't meant it for realz" message at the end.


  2. Somewhere, someone is right now compiling a list of 30 Women Whose Meatloaf Sucks Most.

    LOL! Sob.

    Great post, Mar.

  3. W00t! Shakers in the house!
    Thanks for the comments, guys.

  4. Great post! It's so upsetting sometimes to see that, no matter what you do, women can't win. You're too fertile, too skinny, too beautiful, too domestic.... Gah. Well, some of us are too smart to buy into this shit!


Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence