In a couple of weeks I will heading to Toronto to speak at the “Mega MIRCI Conference.” The Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) is an academic based organization that publishes books, papers, and hosts conferences around various topics surrounding motherhood. For the conference later this month, I’ll be speaking under the umbrella of “Communicating Motherhood / Mothers Communicating “High Culture” to Pop Culture to New Social Media” and you know I have a few things to say about that.
In fact, my talk will be focusing on the Good Mother Myth (what else?) and since I’ve been steeped in the final stages of editing my book (it heads to layout next week!!!!!!!!), I figure I’m pretty well versed on this topic. Yet, that still doesn’t prevent me from feeling like I’ve been slapped in the face when I come across things like this:
The latest cover of Star “magazine” basically writes my MIRCI talk for me. This is what we’re up against. This is why the Good Mother Myth prevails. We continue to pit women against each other in order to fill pages, make profit, and fuel these unrealistic notions of motherhood.
The entire cover is absurd. They’re using random snapshots of women, framed by stories from “unidentified sources” to score mothers? If I wasn’t boiling over in anger I’d laugh it’s so absurd. But the worst part of it all? There are people that buy it. They don’t just buy the magazine, but they buy into the idea that we can score women based on how they tackle motherhood. The judgment dripping off of this cover – unfortunately – does seep into the minds and thoughts of women reading it, causing them to question their own choices and mothering skills. It also seeps into the minds of others who then feel validated in calling out or judging other mothers for things that – in the grand scheme of things – don’t really matter.
What matters is that we’re able, somehow, to make it work everyday. That we manage to balance life and work and family and everything, despite not having the best support system to see us through. We shouldn’t be grading each other, we should be providing support to do as best we can without fear of judgment, shame or ridicule. But that’s not going to happen if covers like this continue to be published.
Join me in raising your voices against exploitative and shameful covers like this one. Because really? This bs has got to end.
Oh my goodness, this is frightening. It’s scary how desperate we are all to “prove” ourselves as good moms that we want to pit against one another. I know I’ve been totally guilty of it, but love that you are fighting back! What a great idea for your book!!
Thanks! My hope is that by sharing more and more stories steeped in reality (vs this myth) we’ll slowly start chipping away at it. We need to widen the platform of the motherhood narrative – covers like this are huge leaps in the opposite direction, so we have a lot of work to do!
On Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 2:56 PM, The Mamafesto
I hate the competition and the judgement that comes along with being a parent. I wish I was part of that conference, I would love to learn and help with the research. Thanks for posting this.
You’re welcome! Thanks for commenting. 🙂
On Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 5:35 PM, The Mamafesto
I was blessed with a great mom, who died this March two days before her 87th birthday. The Good Mother Myth is destructive. The Mommy Wars are an unfortunate result of the necessary feminist movement of the 1970s and part of the absurd Culture Wars. America was founded on an assumptions of Reason and a shared vision of the Common Good. There is neither today…
So sorry to hear about your loss, but that’s wonderful that your mother left such a lasting impression. Re: Mommy Wars – I think mainstream media plays a heavy hand in fanning the flames on them as well, which is unfortunate.
On Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 9:19 AM, The Mamafesto
Oh mah gawd. As if it weren’t horrible enough to judge these women for every little crinkle and/or bump on their bodies, now we have to judge their perceived parenting?! I am going to be ill.
riiiiiiiight? sigh. That’s all I got left this morning. Lots and lots of sighs.
On Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 9:55 AM, The Mamafesto
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