Got MILF?! WTF Marie Claire?

Marie Claire's Rich Santos has a review up right now of a book called Got MILF? by Sarah Maizes that is making me stabby on several levels. Not only is the review a rave (because what could be wrong with a book that glorifies MILFhood?) but Santos concludes that, "Girls are girls until they have a baby. Then they become women." Say what!?

Yes, apparently Got MILF? just confirmed his suspicions that women aren't really women until they become mothers. He uses his own sister as an example, saying that "she was always intimidating and powerful, but not in a womanly way" (emphasis his). Then she had a baby, and BAM! womanhood.

If I wasn't irked enough by this assertion already, since womanhood is clearly not intrinsically linked to motherhood (or if it is I guess I wouldn't know anyway because I am childfree and therefore not a woman), all of this "girl you'll be a woman (if you have a baby) soon" BS ignores the weirdness of the Got MILF? book itself. Here's the cover:

book title

And here's the synopsis:

Forget any preconceived notions about MILFs. Today's MILF is polite society's hot mom. And today's mom is a shining example of confidence, poise and age-defying beauty (aka: MILF)-even as she juggles carpools, sibling rivalry, PTA, and the demands of the office. Combining humor with practical tips, and chock full of colorful quotes, fun quizzes, and MILF do's and don'ts (for example: MILFs don't dress like a teenager), "Got MILF?" entertains as it enlightens and empowers.

Yet another example of conflating a woman's worth—along with her "enlightenment" and "empowerment"—with her looks. Hey! You're a competent, hardworking, responsible human being! But what you should really focus on is your HOTNESSSS! (P.S. If you aren't hot you probably aren't a great mom. Nor are you a real woman. Oh, and you also aren't a woman if you aren't a mom. Oh, and you can't look too old but you can't look too young either. And you have to keep a sense of humor about it. HOT MOMS 4EVA.)

So, to sum things up: Women are not women unless they have children. (Did you hear that, Condoleeza Rice and Dolly Parton?) Also, women who do have children should not only be valued for their looks above all else, they should celebrate that.

Rich Santos, MILF Respecter, invites us to let him know how we feel about this review on Twitter (his handle is richravens). I don't know about you, but this "girl" has some she'll be sharing. Grrr.

Further reading: "I may never be a woman" by Jill Filipovic at Feministe.

Comments

11 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Wrong on so many levels.

Wrong on so many levels.

I feel like some of these

I feel like some of these books are written for women who don't have children and are scared of it. I have a 7 month old, I still don't feel like I've hit womanhood and I'm almost 30, and if I have time to read my email, it's a good day. I haven't looked at a magazine aside from fishing out Amazon coupons since I was pregnant.

Should we bring up how

Should we bring up how totally cissexist it all is? I vote we bring up how totally cissexist it all is.

!

It's totally cissexist! And totally gross on almost every other level I can think of and probably more if I thought about it some more. Which I'd kind of rather not do.

Totally!

Totally cissexist!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

seems pretty classist too.

seems pretty classist too. And I'd not be surprised if it's racist.

Not only is this cissexist

It is disturbingly indicative of the infantilization [sic] of "mature" women in our culture. Women are expected to be eternally "little girls" inside and outside until they are married/no longer virgins. And once they are married/no longer virgins, they can also be considered sluts, whores ... and yes, MILFs-a term I personally find a degrading, misogynist stereotype. Since when did maturity become unacceptable by the status quo? When I was growing up in the 1970s/1980s, I was taught that maturity was something to strive for in order to be socially accepted. It infuriates me that maturity is now a concept that is disturbingly shamed. Once again, this is a big FAIL for Marie Claire.

What I find so insulting

What I find so insulting about the MILF term (as used by both men and women) is the implication that 'most' moms, or 'other' moms, are not f*ckable, are not attractive, are not worthy of attention. My mom is not conventionally 'hot' but she IS intelligent, independent, hilarious, witty, loud, loving, and in many other ways, totally awesome; yet what is she worth when we are judging women by MILF standards? The MILF standard illuminates more double standards for women in our society: we are not women until we experience pregnancy and childbirth, but we are not worthy of attraction until we lose that baby weight and get back to (assuming we wore them before) skinny jeans and heels. I don't know what I'm more bothered by, the review of the book or the book itself. Should women who are mothers really ASPIRE to be MILFs?

Yeah...

Of course women should aspire to be MILFs! After all, what value do women have beyond someone else's desire to fuck them??? *eye roll*

And yes, this is totally cissexist. Because you can't be a woman unless you were assigned biological femaleness/"baby making parts" at birth, duh! Uggghhhh. Cue second eye roll.

Here, here, ladies!

Wow, here I was thinking I was a successful woman with multiple college degrees and a career, but apparently since I don't have a baby, I'm still a little girl. Or maybe a subcatagory between little girl (they still exist, right, or were they sold too many push-up bikini tops?) and a full woman (aka mother). Apparently until I fulfill society's expectations to reproduce myself, I can't even consider myself a woman.

Tati, thank you for pointing out that gender identity is not rigidly tied to biology. So many people just do not understand that gender is a social construct.

Once again, society is judging a woman's worth by the same old standards: is she hot and does she have a child? When are we ever going to escape from the virgin/whore dichotomy?

Got Milf? Review from Marie Claire

Hello Women (ones with kids and ones without...),

I couldn't help myself - I've been watching this debate from afar and finally just had to put in my 2 cents. I hope you don't mind.

In defense of my book (Yes...I'm the author of "Got Milf?") - which IS a humor book by the way - the concept is to reinforce the fact that we, women, moms ALL have potential to feel great about ourselves. The main concept I wanted to convey was that you don't have to cease being a sexual being simply because you've procreated. The book is not about being a sex kitten, it's not even an endorsement of being a sex kitten. It's just a reinforcement of a fact we already know - moms have sex. And we don't stop having sex just because we have kids (this doesn't mean we're having it WITH kids, mind you!). In fact, my main argument is "If there weren't any MILFs, we'd all be only children." Right?

The book is intended to encourage moms find their way back to themselves after motherhood, not to degrade, downplay or demonize "women" on any level.

I don't know if this clarifies anything or assuages any concerns. I just wanted to share what I tried to do in my book - because if you haven't read it, I can see how it's title can be interpreted in so many ways.

Best,
Sarah Maizes
Author, "Got Milf? The Modern Mom's Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great and Rocking a Minivan"