Happy Mother’s Day, you sluts, from Mother Jones.

[UPDATED: Laura McClure of Mother Jones responded in the comments.  Very, very cool.]

So, I’m on Tumblr.  And when you have a Tumblr and you follow someone on Tumblr, you see their posts on what is called your “dashboard.”  The dashboard is a backend version of Tumblr that allows you to see your posts, how people respond to your posts (if they like them, if they reblog them, if they answer them), as well as the posts of people you are following.

Yesterday, on what was my now third Mother’s Day as a mom, I was scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard when I saw what Mother Jones (yes, the news journal) had published in “honor” of Mother’s Day:

In case you don’t have a Tumblr, let me explain.  Skybarn posted this originally with the Title “Your Mom Said If You Love Her, You’ll Reblog This.” with the funny haha commentary “Last night, she told me.”  Because, you know, moms sleep around.  Whoever runs Mother Jones’ Tumblr then re-blogged this with their own commentary added on: “Yeah.  She mentioned that this morning over waffles.”  Because, you know, moms are whores who sleep with lots of people.  And that’s funny.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.  [I did respond to this on my own Tumblr.]

It’s not that sleeping with whomever you want whenever you want is a problem for me.  Not at all.  Here is why this joke is a problem for me:

1) These jokes are ONLY funny because moms aren’t supposed to fuck whenever and wherever they want (this is true for women in general, right?  But heightened when that woman has children).

Moms are supposed to act in some socially prescribed way that does not include being sexual.  The never-ending and unfunny “joke” about how couples don’t have sex once they have a kid because the woman (almost invariably) doesn’t want to because she is so tired from being a mom will never ever go away (for an example see ALL of Everybody Loves Raymond and its ilk).  Embedded in this “joke” is the idea that women generally don’t want to have sex but especially not when they are pouring all their love and attention into the proper outlet, their children.  Because moms don’t have sex or want to have sex.  Those that do are the anomaly and so much so that they will sleep with everybody.  Moms either DON’T have sex or they have it all the time with everyone everywhere (virgin/whore, anyone?).

THAT is why the “joke” above that Mother Jones participated in is funny.  The “joke” then is that a mom who does sleep with multiple partners is a whore.  Your mom being a whore equals the ultimate insult, right?

2) Because your mom’s behavior is a reflection on you. Partly because women are expected to raise children.  Their boys should be respectful and their girls should be like them.  So, if your mom is sleeping with your friend or multiple friends of yours, you were raised by a whore of a woman.  And that’s funny, both because moms don’t actually have sex and moms who do sleep around are jokes to be laughed at, shamed, and humiliated, as are their children.

This shit is insulting and sexist and was a slap in the face to me as a mom on Mother’s Day from a news journal that I really, really love.

Can’t women just be moms and have sex and it not be a fucking joke?  Can’t women just be women and have sex and it not be a fucking joke?  Can’t women have multiple partners and it not be a fucking joke?  Can’t women have control over their sexuality and it not be a fucking joke?

Happy Mother’s Day, you sluts, from Mother Jones.

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9 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day, you sluts, from Mother Jones.

  1. Yes. This. I was also thinking of the particular way that this insult–your mother is a whore–is also so gendered male. You’re totally right that girls are supposed to want to be like their mothers and there seems to also be something particularly cutting about a boy (or men in this Mother Jones case) calling another boy’s mother a slut. You’re right… if you’re a man raised by a whore, the jokes is also definitely on you. Think of what all those other men (imagined as your peers, “society”) think about your mother, her womanhood, your manhood, your legitimacy! Haha…that’s so funny.

  2. Yes – I wanted to say something about how this is gendered male but couldn’t get it right so just deleted it. But I totally read this as one dude saying it to another dude, which also bothered me about the Tumblr post. I guess a woman could say this to a man or another woman but then the “I fucked your mom” loses it’s “humor” somehow. I guess lesbians are hot and not funny? What is it?

  3. Yes, again! I know what you mean about trying to put your finger on why this is so male..which is interesting on its own, right, that we know it but we can’t say why. I guess it has to do with sexual availability/access and possession/ownership of a woman, whether it’s a wife or a mother of a child. It seems very “Traffic in Women” here to me–that two men trade on the value of a women (a son and another man) based on the woman’s sexual access. That’s a terribly depressing way to think of it, I admit. But what else other than some kind of rights to a woman (as a sex object for other men vs. as your mother) could explain why that, as you say “I fucked your mother”, joke and insult is just so biting. And it’s like you said, a woman can’t be both–sexual being AND a mother–and I’m sure that’s what’s playing here with regard to her value.

  4. If I recall Everybody Loves Raymond correctly (I haven’t seen it since my ex-wife left, she was a big fan) the wives like sex more than the husbands do. Which isn’t much.

    ELR was more about the deep and vicious hatred of everybody for everybody else (with the lone exception of Ray’s brother, there to make non-hatred look silly) than about anybody’s sexuality. A truly vile show, even by “stupid irresponsible rude fat ugly (but lovable anyway) Dad”/”hot smart Mom who makes everything work” comedy standards.

  5. Okay – so I admit that I am not that familiar with the show. But the last time I watched it there was a whole storyline where he was trying to get with Deborah and she was too tired. So, it was the first thing that popped into my head.

    But I still maintain that there is a way-over-used trope on sitcoms that feature a man and wife with kids where he wants to some sex and she is always reluctant. This trope is also found in too much stand-up comedy and advertising. I’m over it.

  6. Hi, I’m Laura McClure from Mother Jones Tumblr. I’m a mother of two and I reblogged this item. It was definitely not intended as an insult, nor did I consider that it would be. Sorry for the misunderstanding!

  7. I really appreciate you responding to my post. It was a disappointment to see it on Mother Jones. I get the joke and why people think it is funny. I just don’t.

    I really, really, really, really, really love Mother Jones and that is why this struck me in a way that made me want to say something.

  8. Thank you for commenting! I’m glad you normally like MoJo. One last note on my orig Tumblr post: I was going for an absurdist vibe there and missed the mark, my apologies. I’m pretty sure there was a toddler yanking on my leg when I posted that yesterday, so it’s a bit hazy! Anyway, thanks for caring enough about MJ to comment. And Happy Mother’s Day!

  9. Absolutely. Way overdone.

    And it has consequences in developing people’s attitudes. I don’t think those are limited to children.

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