Opinion: The motherhood narrative

‘I’m tired of the repeated public mudslinging against women.’
As the divorce of Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner was announced, so began the public dismantling of her image. Photo: Bruce Glikas/Wireimage

I was waiting for it, and it turned out I didn’t have to wait too long. As the divorce of Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner was announced, so began the public dismantling of her image. Apparently, she dresses too sexy for a mother of two, and she prefers going out to staying at home with alleged homebody Joe. I say alleged because out of all three Jonas brothers, he always seemed to be the one most likely to turn up at a rave between the thighs of an actress. It was him who infamously broke up with Taylor Swift in a 25-second phone call and earned himself several barbed songs for his efforts.

So, I suppose the next question is, why should we care about these two people we don’t know? And this is where today’s article actually begins.

I’ve repeatedly seen the public mudslinging against women happen, and I’m tired of it. People get married, they have children, and between the breastfeeding and the dirty bathwater, women are expected to disown every other part of themselves and content themselves solely with being someone’s mum. God forbid they still wear a mini skirt, openly enjoy a glass of wine, or like going out with their friends – they’re mothers now and should probably wear long tents to cover themselves when they leave the house. As usual, these standards don’t seem to apply to men.

This idea of motherhood trumping everything is bad enough when women stay in their marriages or relationships but becomes almost intolerable when something goes awry, and the union dissolves.

Just look at the media and feel exhausted. Breakups happen all the time, and yet, if you’re a mother and people can’t seem to find some very obvious and acceptable cause, somehow, the buck falls to you. It’s the mother who couldn’t make the relationship work, the mother who was too emotional, the mother who went out too much, the mother who had no time for her partner. On and on and on it goes while the father gets off scot-free unless he’s been caught cheating (and even then, people will find excuses for why he strayed).

What has made me happy in the Turner–Jones case, though, is that none of the younger generation are buying into this Madonna-Whore rubbish we’ve been spoon-fed for hundreds of years. Unlike my age group, this lot is hellbent on breaking cycles, and I can’t help but love them for it. The minute the tabloids started peddling their filth, many stood up and said, “Not today, Satan”.

Being a mother doesn’t turn you into a saint; it also shouldn’t erase every other part of you because you and your children will suffer in the long run. Sofia Turner deserved better treatment during an already heart-wrenching time. We all do.

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