There have been two stories recently that have made me get my panties in a bunch. I don’t mean in a punch-the-wall kind of way but in a that’s-a-bit-of-a-dick-move kind of way. First there was the broo-ha-ha about The Motherhood Challenge, then there was Nicole Kidman and her views on being a working mama. The theme between them all was the same: let’s pit women against women and see what happens. Think of the Likes! Think of the Comments!
You see, that’s what it’s all about. These sites want traffic and engagement and they incite anger and rage to get them. Unfortunately, we seem to be playing right into their hands. Take this headline for example. This was posted on Facebook and was designed with one purpose in mind – to get us to click through the website – and we didn’t disappoint. We flocked in our hundreds because we were so outraged that Nicole Kidman would dare to say such a thing.
Of course, that’s not what Kidman said at all. What she actually said is that it’s better for her, for her family and yes, they clarify that in the headline once you click through…but let’s face it, would all the SAHMs bother clicking through, fuelled by indignant rage, if they just said, “Nicole Kidman says being a working mum works for her.” Not as spite-inducingly sexy is it?
And, predictably, mothers from every corner of the internet came out in force.
Thankfully, there were some women who didn’t take the Facebook headline as gospel and actually read the article.
And, in fact, one commenter is practically a sister from another mister as far as I’m concerned:
Then there was the Motherhood Challenge. I’ll be honest – this never sat entirely comfortably with me because well, it’s hardly a challenge to find 5 sweet pics of your Smalls? Plus, what are we saying? No really, what? That we have kids and here’s five pictures of them? Is it a celebration of motherhood? Maybe it was an attempt at it but all it did was divide. It pitted women against women and implied that one group was worthy of celebration in a way that the others weren’t. And it’s simply not true. I’m not saying motherhood isn’t a feat worth celebrating, I’m just saying that such a public and ubiquitous display of it was perhaps a little, dare I say it, smug?
There’s nothing that will guarantee a news website more click throughs and more comments and likes than an age-old discussion that divides the sisterhood. There are a million topics upon which we so readily jump to our own defences and anyone wanting some action on the site will exploit each and every one of them but how about this? How about we don’t allow our insecurities and anxieties to get the better of us. How about we get on there and say, ‘Bored’ or better yet, say nothing at all.
Let’s start with the assumption that women aren’t out get women – let’s just give each other the benefit of the doubt – and let’s question the motives of the people writing this stuff. Let’s be discerning with our likes and our comments. Let’s use those likes and comments to celebrate women and mothers and sisters instead of fighting them.
This is not The Hunger Games people. We’re not here to fight to death. We’re here to fight for each other and it’s about time we started doing just that.