Saturday, 14 February 2009

Alpha mummy?

Who writes this crap?

Is this what being middle class is? Drinking yourself silly before (and after!) the kids are in bed and fantasising over men other than your husband?

More than 1/2 of that list involves lusting after other men, dreaming about dating again or other such day-dreams of infidelity. Really, are these women actually enjoying their 'Alpha Mummy' lives? It doesn't sound like it.

This list actively constructs the stereotype of vapid, ungrateful, selfish bitches. it's not even funny. It goes to show that it's not just misogyny that is a problem for feminism, but also women's own attitudes to themselves!

I thought Alpha Mummy's were the highly driven career women we hear so much about. Not drunken, jealous, lazy cows who can't appreciate the man they decided to have children with. I realise the list is supposed to be a revelation that Alpha Mummys' try, but actually fail to be perfect. I realise that for the middle class snob, who would enjoy this drivel, there could be some kind of amused recognition in reading the piece. But not me.

I actually appreciate my partner, he is wonderful. I actually enjoy being semi-intellectual, I like being able to discuss things other than shopping and celebrities. And, along a different line, I don't think it's clever or funny to brand yourself as a bad parent.

Alongside my ranting about how I don't agree with the ideas in the article, I think there's also a perfectly valid point to be made about women who DO recognise themselves in the list. The presupposition is that if you do these things, then you ARE a bad mother/wife. Brilliant, way to go, just go and knock every other women who reads it and thinks that they *must* be bad if they don't constantly live up to the stereotype. Once again I'll bring it back to the ideology: stating that a person who fulfills this description is a bad mother is a subtle reinforcement of an ideology of perfection.

It's hard enough with the media representations of 'perfect' celebrity mums (Angelina?), but at least with celebrities, they *are* of a completely different world to the rest of us. When a supposedly 'real woman' blog reinforces that you are failing as a parent if you
let your kids watch a bit to much TV, (and who decides how much is too much anyway?) then, although you may be laughing on the outside, your idea of the perfect mother has just been reconstructed. It's only a small step from here to considering that aspects of your life could be counted as 'failings'.

Articles like this might seem harmless, but combined with other media and peer pressures, it amounts to social conditioning. If you're reading this and mocking me for going over the top, it just goes to show how implicit this ideology of perfect mothering is. The 'joke' of the article is based on the fact that the 'super mum' idea does exist, but real people find it unobtainable. But is it really amusing that these people now class themselves as bad parents because of this? Ha ha, we're all laughing because 'oh, we must be such bad parents because we do this!' The ideology takes away the idea that different parents deal with parenting in different ways. This article serves to represent parenting as black and white: the right way, or the wrong way.

I'm not going to say that I must be a bad parent because I don't agree with this. No, I know I am a good parent because I have a happy child. The kind of opinion presented in the Alpha Mummy article takes away this option and, in my opinion, is damaging to women's views of their own styles and abilities.

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