Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An open letter about scolding mothers

About all I know about Kelly Oxford is that she's funny, Canadian, and says funny things on Twitter. I'm not sure how I wound up following her. but I'm glad I do.

She's foul mouthed and brash and sometimes unkind ("How old were you when you realized Robin Williams wasn't funny?"—probably around 35, I think—and "Weird that as an adult, all the emotion I'm hearing in Madonna's 'Crazy For You' is Madonna hoping she hits all the notes and can hold them.") and she makes me laugh ("Your kid’s ready to come out of diapers when she yells, 'Hey, guys I’ll be down soon, I just need to get Mom to change my diaper' Right?"), often because many of her tweets hold both humor and a grain of truth ("Anyone who says 'I'm a bitch before I get my coffee' is a bitch after they get their coffee too.").

Oxford tweets things that "nice women" don't often say and that "nice mothers" hardly ever do, though she has small children ("Older 2 kids better sharpen up because the 2yr old yelled, "YOU GO GIRL!!" to her Dad in this restaurant and now she's my favorite.").

Kelly Oxford

I suppose anyone who dabbles that close to the edge of decorum gets a lot of complaints. A few days ago, apparently, she got some when she made a joke about, of all things, Victoria Beckham's thinness. On her blog, Oxford writes an open letter to this complainer:
Yesterday I tweeted something like, “I wonder how many waiters served a pregnant Victoria Beckham and think to themselves ‘Eating for one are we?’”
But I erased it because it was brought to my attention that Joan Rivers already said “Congratulations to Victoria Beckham, who’s pregnant with her fourth child! She’s finally eating for one.”
You then sent me many, many messages on Twitter which said, and I paraphrase:
This isn’t funny. I hope your children grow up with a good sense of body image. What you say and do as a parent is what your children learn
Oxford proceeds to shred the complainer's argument, making a lot of good points, most not directly applicable to the experiences of those of us who don't regularly crack celebrity jokes to our 100,000+ Tweeps.

But a few apply to my own life, and maybe yours if you've ever received (or issued!) criticisms, snap judgments, and faultfinding about your (or someone else's) mothering or life choices. I wrote about this once, and wish I'd included lines like these:
 You are the reason that mothers feel as though they cannot be themselves. Why women who aren’t mothers question their ability to raise a child and fear losing themselves
Oh, and this part is relevant, too, if any of those criticisms you've heard involve your kid having "an ounce of personality" (or a pound, or a ton):
... That any ounce of personality must be squashed in order to raise ‘good’ and ‘proper’ and ‘kind’ children. That’s bullshit.

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