Is the ‘mummy culture’ undermining feminism?


I don’t know if I am the only one that has noticed, but there seems to be a distinct rise in what I would call “the mummy culture’ amongst young mothers, at least in Australia.  They look fantastic, exercise regularly, cook up a storm,  have a man’s man for a partner, they can be stay at home mums or career women.  What ever way they all seem to have some things in common.

They follow each other in packs on Facebook and twitter posting and tweeting numerous photographs of their little ‘bundles of joy’ for all to see.  Their world seems to revolve completely around raising their children but, I think, in a slightly different way to they way women of older generations raised their children.  Here are a couple of characteristics that I have noticed;

  • They are the of the ‘new traditionalist‘ model, think “Bree’ from “Desperate Housewives‘;
  • They spend time perfecting female gender stereotypes.  They like cooking, cleaning, looking after the family and basically being the ‘perfect mumma’.

I am interested in doing some research on this to see if it really is a new phenomenon, so please take part in this poll to voice your opinion.  Are these ‘mummas’ undermining the work of feminists or are they just capitialising on the ‘choice’ that feminism has given them?

Thank you for taking the time to respond to the poll.

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6 thoughts on “Is the ‘mummy culture’ undermining feminism?

  1. i don’t know what to make of it, i accidently found myself a part of it (or its periphery) i think it is “interesting”….. http://ameliadraws.wordpress.com/ and http://berlindomestic.wordpress.com/ i think it is in part related to the shock/lonliness/strangeness of mathering that nobody could articulate was coming…… or something like that in part….. but then i follow the dad bloggers too and sometimes feel that this should be viewed as a parenting phenonmen ratherthen merely a feminist one. Its late and i am thinking out loud

    1. Thanks for commenting Amelia, you raise a good point about it being a ‘parenting phenomenon’ rather than merely a feminist one. I wonder if the standard of child care is actually improving with all this added focus? I think that the difference between ‘daddy culture’ and ‘mummy culture’ is that anything that a man does in this space is seen as additional to their gender role and they are applauded for it. That is; provider of care rather than ‘care giver’. I know from my own experience when my youngest daughter was a baby and I was running my own consulting company, often my husband and I would swap care of her, sometimes in mid city on the way to each of our separate meetings. We would do a pram meet in the middle of the city somewhere and swap over. For me in a suit with the pram, I would get the glaring looks of many a female, who must have thought that I should have been at home looking after my baby and clearly NOT working! (things have changed somewhat in this regard in 14 years). For my husband, his experience was totally different. Women would goo and gar at ‘what a wonderful husband he was’ (you know to actually look after your own child!), they would go out of their way to help him with the baby, whereas for me – well! Just let me struggle up flights of stairs with no help.

      Things are changing, but you only have to look at the television to see that it is still ‘woman’s work’ to change nappies, buy food for the family, do the washing and generally be ‘nice’.

  2. ok i preface this essay with my “still trying to work it out” clause: Yes, i am truely disappointed with the representation of parental care by the media that seems to encourage judgement of mothers from each and every “dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t” angle. (http://thehoopla.com.au/35958/).
    This trend also patronises and condescends fathers. the daddy bloggers and my husband and many other men i know get rather fed up with the “oh your wife is away for a night do you need help” approach…”NO i am capable of caring for my kids!” .
    Maybe this attitude is the exception, and informed by a different experiance (both my hubby’s and my father were primary carers. And my ‘mother’s’ group included two dads (= to 30% of the group). I don’t think the media is reflecting the on the ground choices parents make about how they will raise their child, they don’t include dad’s in the disscussion which places all the focus and pressure of the choices solely on the mum’s. So yes i agree dad’s can get a “get out of jail free” card just by being a Dad but many fathers squirm under the ridiculous condescension of that attitude.
    Having said all of that i drifted towards daddy writers as i found them refreshingly free of mummying “ideologies” and stereo types (think Earthmum vs manicured vs career) None of which i identified (because you know real people have layers and contradictions). The rise of parent ideoligical camps that i see many Mummy media makers have a penchant for boils down to a “my way is better then your way” thing. There are those who offer an antithesis to this talking about pimples and baby vomit but…..
    Look my issue is, and i am not sure how or where to place this phenonomen with feminism, is that society feels mandated and supported in JUDGING parents regardless of their choices. Parenting has become a very “public thing” and that makes me uncomfortable…….

  3. This is a VERY interesting conversation, I think these ‘perfect mummies’ are putting huge pressure on many others who simply juggle on a daily basis to combine work, family and possibly a little bit of ‘me-time’ occasionally.

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