(Caution this blog does contain adult language.)
I am done with this word.
The first time I heard it, I was outside of Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. A drunken frat boy came up to my boyfriend and asked him how he landed a “MILF.” Some time later, a friend introduced me as his “MILF friend.” A couple of years ago, another friend said when introducing me, “She has kids, but is a MILF.” I’ve heard this as motivation in the gym, as a (not really a joke) joke on social media, between moms as a compliment, and from young people who think they are bestowing a sought-after title. I know I’m not the only one.
It is nice, right? To be running around all day feeling like an under-appreciated, insomniac hybrid of a maid-chauffeur-chef-nurse who cannot perform any of her jobs sufficiently, pretending the wad of greasy hair on our head is “messy on purpose,” in sweatpants dotted with unrecognizable child residue, and to finally hear that we are human, nay, desirable. In the chaos that is motherhood, any compliment feels like a Swedish massage for our threadbare souls. We want to know that the exhaustion we feel isn’t splattered across our faces the way we think it is. We want to be reminded that the scars of motherhood are beautiful mnemonics of the power of our bodies. It feels so stinkin’ good to hear that we are not just “Mommy.”
But, can we stop for a second and remind ourselves what MILF really means?
Mother I’d Like to F*ck.
Yeah, I said it. And, it’s not so cute when you pull it out of its fun acronym, is it? It means that, despite being a mother, someone would screw you. Lucky you! When unpacked for even the briefest moment, it is pretty mind blowing that this is a compliment.
It is fairly obvious that society does this to women all the time. If we are smart, it must also be noted that we are pretty. If accomplished in any way, hopefully we are also attractive. Let’s be honest, we’ve all heard it. “She is a ____________(impressive profession or achievement), but a hot ____________ (impressive profession or achievement).” As if, somehow, random-man-certified attractiveness makes a woman’s position less threatening.
“So, this man would have sex with me even though I am a mom? Wow! Thanks so much for the overwhelming compliment of being willing to do that!” No. Nope. THAT is not a compliment. It is a poisonous reduction.
In this time, when women are fighting to be seen as whole people, why are we accepting this as an accolade? Why are we touting it on our coffee mugs? We are not less than other people in terms of our ability to be seen (and to see ourselves) as whole because we have given birth. We are not somehow lucky to be desired by a man (even) after we have created life. We, like every other woman, are complex and complete entities; who, like every other woman, are valuable because of so many things that do not involve some guy’s willingness to have sex with us.
In every other situation, we, the mothers of the world, tell our daughters, our friends, and even social media connections that their worth does not come from the value men place on their bodies. So, why then, are we rockin’ “Milfin’ Ain’t Easy” shirts, even with a wink and a nod? Seriously, “Hey kids, some random guy wants to have sex with Mommy, even though I’m your Mommy,” is not the message I want to be sending to my daughters.
Here are some actual compliments:
You are so good at your job.
You are smart.
You motivate me to do better.
I love hearing your thoughts.
Here are some new slogans to replace your “Certified MILF” t-shirts:
STRONG, UNSTOPPABLE, WORLD-CHANGER
PEACE-IMBUING GIVER OF LIFE
I can go on, but you get the idea. There is so much more to me (and every mother) than motherhood. But breaking out of the stifling designation of being “just a mom” should not be dependent upon sexualization; and it is certainly less-than-freeing to be yanked from one suffocating category that strips mothers of their multidimensional lives to be plopped right into an objectifying category that does the same.
I will not wear as a crowning achievement the fact that I am screwable. That is not an accomplishment, it is an active disregarding of everything that we are and every thing that we do, every day.
Can we just be done with this word?