Jul 29 2011

Bad mothers get paid

Every so often the Internet at Spinster HQ gets stuck. Right now it’s stuck on the CNN website. Note the woman-free character of today’s “Top stories.”

However, the public appetite for shaming women-gone-wrong is like my appetite for ceviche tacos: ravenous! So, although women are only rarely “Top”, they are always — what else? — “Entertainment.” In today’s CNN entertainment stories, bad mothers figure pretty prominently. They figure prominently because they’re broke on accounta they’re such bad mothers, and CNN is willing either to pay them to perform their bad motherhood on TV, or to pay somebody else to pimp their bad motherhood on TV.

• One of the all-time greatest Bad Mothers is Nadya Suleman, the so-called “Octomom” who controversially gave birth to octuplets in 2009 as the result of fertility treatments. Suleman was reviled — whereas someone like serial preggster Michelle Duggar, who has about 157 children, is celebrated with her own reality show — because she was single, broke, perhaps a bit unstable, and already had six kids.

With no steady income and expenses of over $18,000 a month, Suleman has struggled to get by raising her children. She has previously hosted a yard sale at her La Habra, California, home to deal with the hardship, and had reportedly signed on to be on the HDNet reality TV show “Celebridate.”

And now, Suleman said she is grateful for money she gets from media interviews, especially with overseas outlets.

She also claims to have received “hundreds of death threats,” some targeting her children, as well as a few female stalkers.

“I am hated in my hometown,” she said.

Suleman is still in the news because she recently appeared on TV to denounce her fertility doctor. The doctor has apparently lost his license for perpetrating “gross negligence” against Suleman when he implanted buttloads of embryos in her. This sterling character allegedly drugged her prior to her signing the buttload-of-embryos consent forms.

The State of California knows how many embryos may be implanted in a poor, unmarried, perhaps a bit unstable woman who already has six kids: less than eight. How many kids can a devoted Christian wife with a non-Arab-sounding name can give birth to? Let’s just let God decide.

• Acquitted Bad Mother Casey Anthony is still in the news, this time because icky mofo pornographer Larry Flynt has offered her half a million bucks to pose nude in his icky mofo pornography magazine. Apparently, “there are men who wanna see her in her birthday suit.”

In “droves.”

CNN would like it to be as controversial as possible for Anthony to accept TV and publishing money. She’s a name brand baby killer, and there are big, if fleeting, bucks to be made in exploiting her, sexploiting her, and sensationalizing her.

“Do you think Casey Anthony should take one of these offers? Should these offers have been made in the first place? “

Well why the heck not? She’s broke, right? Even acquitted bad mothers with personality disorders need to eat. Compensating her for sensationalizing her shame is the least the media can do, since they turned her into Public Spectacle Number 1 for three years.

Shit like this is why I laugh and laugh every Mother’s Day.


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  1. Iris Vander Pluym

    How many kids can a devoted Christian wife with a non-Arab-sounding name can give birth to? Let’s just let God decide.

    That God character is a real asshole if he seriously wants the Michelle Duggars of the world to breed like jackrabbits.

  2. Sarah

    Shit like this is why I laugh and laugh every Mother’s Day.

    Shit like this is why I cry and cry every Mother’s Day.

  3. Anne

    Last I saw Suleman she was on Anderson Cooper’s “Ridiculist”* for failing to single-handedly keep every one of her small children quiet and still for an entire airline flight, getting herself publicly chastised by some other celebrity on the plane for not having “more help.”
    The time before that Oprah Winfrew and Suze Ormand were ganging up on her telling her that in order for the general public to stop hating her she must eliminate any paid childcare assistance she was receiving toot suite.
    Care for 14 kids with no help? Failure! Care for 14 kids with help? Failure!

    *Cooper’s nightly bid to ridicule female celebrities for their failures at femininity compliance.

  4. Nicole

    My first time posting… of course with something random to contribute to the conversation. I read your blog everyday for your awesome insight, such as this.

    I felt the need to post though because the Olympic athlete in the left-most picture is a dear friend of a my dear friend. He committed suicide this week after suffering from years of depression after being sexually molested as a child. It just goes to show – that kind of shit does NOT go away, regardless of how together your life may seem. It’s tragedies like this that remind me to fight for your “Wacky Consent Scheme” and change the rape culture that’s so prevalent in our society and hurts our women and children.

  5. Nicole

    And to go on… you know what pisses me off? I’ve hardly heard about his history in the news. And he worked hard to raise money and awareness for children who were in his situation at various benefits. It’s like no one wants to know the consequences of rape and sexual assault… oh wait, that’s true.

    Now I’m done. ::sigh::

  6. allhellsloose


  7. angie

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say Michelle Duggar is “celebrated.” She is pretty much mocked & ridiculed everywhere that I’ve seen (at least on the internet). I’d have to actually watch her show to know for sure (and I’m not going to do that) but I’d bet it is nothing but a vehicle to mock her/hold her up to ridicule too.

  8. Blind Horse

    The best dig at Duggar I ever saw was a poster of her and her bazillion kids with a caption that said “Vagina: It’s Not a Clown Car”.

  9. susanw

    The comments following stories about Larry Flint’s offer to Casey Anthony made it clear that men don’t simply want to see her in her birthday suit; they want her gang raped to death as an entertaining and educational form of public punishment.

  10. Jezebella

    Angie, the Duggar shows are not framed as mockery. They’re more like, “look at this amazingly large clean-cut white family that manages to be clean, well-fed, and massively honky!” “Watch while the girl-children do all of the housework and the boys run around on four-wheelers and play with the dog! And NO! We will not comment on the division of labor, nor their whack religious ideas, because aren’t they charming and clean-cut!” So, yeah, it is *possible* to treat the Duggars like a freak show, but that’s not how it’s edited.

    Me, I feel sorry for Michelle Duggar and every woman in that family. She’s smug, and not that bright, but I’m convinced she is going to have a giant nervous breakdown when she finally can’t get pregnant any more. And those poor daughters of hers – and daughters-in-law – pressured to breed for “God,” ugh, it just breaks my heart for them.

  11. yttik

    It’s not really the bad mother that’s taboo, in fact, we kind of like bad mothers. We can hold them up and tsk tsk at their failure. Indeed, we are ravenous for that. But the real taboo is the money. You could be the best mother in the world but if you figure out how to profit from it, how to get anything at all out of it, you’re an evil bitch.

    Women control reproduction, we own a resource, or rather we would if there wasn’t an entire system built around keeping us in our place. If women ever started getting ideas about being compensated for our birthing and motherhood labors, somebody would stand to lose a whole lot of power and wealth.

  12. Shenonymous

    That sounds about right. Women are villainized and treated like freaks in the patriarchy for not having kids as well as for having kids, but not being motherly (read: submissive) enough. Hmmm, what do those two things have in common? Why, they both involve treating women like they’re subhuman! Here are some additional types of women that are ridiculed in the media: fat women, old women, sexy women, successful women, young women, pregnant women, smart women, independent women, traditional women, feminist women, infertile women, white women, working women, women with kids and no husbands, educated women and, oh yes, women period. Guess who I blame?

  13. Kea

    I can’t check my email without being bombarded by the latest sexaay gal or bad woman story. I’m beginning to think that’s actually the editor’s idea of feminism: equal space in the news for men and women. IBTP.

  14. GMM

    How did you miss the mother who was just convicted of “homicide by vehicle” because her son was hit and killed by a car while they were both crossing the street.

    She can get up to three years in jail, which is six times what the actual driver could get, and he had been drinking and on pain-killers when he ran over her child AND has two prior hit-and-run convictions.

    I’m not making this up WHAT THE HELL!!!!

  15. angie

    Jezebella — thanks for the info. It is worse than I suspected. I will not be putting it on my DVR list.

  16. Crystal

    GMM, ugh, I heard about that a few days ago. My heart breaks for that woman because she not only lost a kid but has to deal with such disgusting injustice. I really really really hope the city paints/builds a crosswalk near that bus stop to prevent this crap from happening again and make it easier for people to cross the street (and more obvious to drugged up drivers that people are crossing the street).

    On a different note, regarding the Duggar family, I agree with Jezebella… the way the family is portrayed is fairly positive. Yeah, there’s a lot of negativity about them on the internet, but it’s the internet after all; I think outside of the internet, the perception consists of an admiring/entertained kind of awe.

  17. janna

    TLC is a modern-day sideshow. But they pretend to be all family-values. On Mother’s Day they’re all “Look at all of our awesome white Christian mothers! Look at how they cook and clean and care for children! How wholesome!” But I feel uncomfortable watching shows like the one with the Duggars because they express evangelical sermons where other people would express opinions. I don’t want to use a judgmental word like “brainwashed.”

    As for Casey Anthony, she’s already been convicted of murder in the Court of Public Opinion. Her punishment is revocation of her Humanity Card (which was provisional anyway, since she got an F on her birth certificate). It’s only natural that upstanding members of society like Larry Flint put her in her place.

  18. janna

    By the way, how depressing is it that most of the American population could probably read the phrase “upstanding members of society like Larry Flynt” with a straight face and no trace of irony? (Also I acknowledge that I spelled his name wrong in my previous comment.)

  19. speedbudget

    Blind Horse, you know what’s awesome about that dig at Ms. Duggar? It’s the dig that keeps on giving. You can use it for any lady who has too many kids or fucks too many men. Woot!

    I don’t think it’s a good thing to reduce a woman to her genitalia and then ridicule it, no matter what that woman is doing.

    I hope Anthony is able to parlay this trial and two-year media circus into some money. I really do.

    Wasn’t there a woman recently brought up on charges because of something she ate while pregnant?

  20. Jill

    Internetians mock Michelle Duggar — I’ve even done it myself, using her as an example of godly femininity spun wildly out of control — she’s almost like a baby hoarder — but it is true that her reality show is more or less respectful and pro-Duggar. She gets non-mocking articles in magazines like “People,” too. She is held up as something of a role model of serene motherly patience, dutifulness, and forebearance.

  21. alamo

    Don’t worry speedbudget, sociopaths are very adept at convincing people to give them money, either by concocting lies that attract sympathy, or if that doesn’t work, by force. I’m sure Casey will profit handsomely off of murdering her kid, just as that other sociopath Drew Peterson stands to profit off of murdering his wife.

  22. Lovepug

    Anyone else reading this while humming the theme from Shaft?

  23. ashley

    I continue to be shocked when women on this site say they hope for the best for Casey Anthony.

    There should absolutely be some recognition that although she endured horrific abuse in how she was publicly treated, it’s difficult to ignore the overwhelming evidence that she murdered a child.

    Your enemy’s enemy is not always your friend! Just because men treated Casey Anthony like shit doesn’t make her a good person. I’m not at all willing to stick up for her just because men are treating her like shit. Men treating a woman like shit for her sexual choices, appearance, or whatever other excuse is something I’m willing to risk my happiness and safety defending. I’m willing to defend Anthony in terms of the public treatment of her, absolutely, as a fellow woman.

    what I am not willing to do is say that i hope she profits from KILLING HER DAUGHTER.

  24. ElizaN

    GMM, in sentencing, the judge gave her what I think was the minimum possible sentence, and also offered her the opportunity of a new trial, to clear her name and her record.


  25. yttik

    Ashley, I don’t believe Casey killed her daughter and neither did the jury. But let’s suppose she did. Shouldn’t we save some outrage and anger for all the media moguls, publishing houses, lawyers, and movie makers that have already made a huge profit off of her allegedly “KILLING HER DAUGHTER.” And they’ve only just begun!! They not only don’t give a shit about Caylee, they’re practically salivating over it all.

    As Jill says, “Even acquitted bad mothers with personality disorders need to eat.” What’s the plan here, to starve a woman to death that has been declared not guilty in a court of law? She didn’t create the media circus and it’s likely she didn’t kill her child either. Just pause for a moment and consider how horrendously sad and unjust it would be if she were really innocent of any wrong doing and going through all this on top of the grief of losing a child. Just consider that possibility for one moment. She wouldn’t be the first mother to be falsely accused, blamers have posted links to other cases we thought we knew the answer to. Turned out we were wrong. Turned out we were really just kicking an innocent woman while she was already down. Oops.

  26. Noanodyne

    There is in fact zero evidence that Casey Anthony killed her daughter. None. Nada. Zippo. There are strange and awful circumstances around Caylee’s death, but no proof of what caused either. Just pure conjecture. It’s just as likely that Caylee died accidentally and all the lying liars in the household freaked out and tried to hide what had happened. The powers that be tried to hang a specific scenario (that they couldn’t and didn’t prove happened) on one person: the baaddddddd mother who wasn’t behaving normally. You know who acts as strangely as Casey was acting? Sexual abuse survivors who have been under the thumb of their abuser their whole lives. Hiding and manipulating the truth is the hallmark of childhood sexual abuse and sometimes leads to disordered thinking and behavior in the survivor, especially when it comes to her family relationships. The patriarchy’s handmaidens and other enforcers will do anything to keep from exploring that possibility, even though it came out during the trial. They would much rather just go with the bad mother trope and flush Casey’s life down the toilet.

  27. alamo

    Sure, that scenario *could* have happened. Caylee also could have been killed by aliens from the planet Xenu. But what does the evidence (the duct tape, the smell in the car, and yes, the lying and lack of signs of remorse) point to as the most likely scenario. Occam’s razor, ya’ll. She’s just as guilty as Drew Peterson even if both of them are cunning enough to get away with it.

    You say she is a victim of abuse. However, her actions are more consonant with the behavior of a sociopath. Sociopaths will never accept blame for their actions. They only care about themselves. They lie and point the finger at others. In other words, exactly what Casey did in this case, quite successfully.

  28. Jill

    Seriously, yttik? She totally killed that kid.

    Ashley, I’m not saying Anthony should profit from murdering her daughter. I’m saying why shouldn’t she get a piece of the action outta the media frenzy that created her?

  29. stacey

    A sociopath may become a sociopath by reason of abuse sustained. Just sayin’.

  30. Linda

    Ironic that even feminists buy into the Bad Mother frenzies.

    A radical feminist analysis of the Anthony trial can be found here:


  31. Bushfire

    “since she got an F on her birth certificate”

    That’s it! That’s the definition of a woman!

    Thank you, Janna, I will be quoting you as soon as possible.

  32. alamo

    Stacey, unlike other forms of antisocial behavior, there is no evidence that abuse causes sociopathy. There’s a really good book called “The Sociopath Next Door” that explains that sociopathy is partly caused by environment. Unfortunately most people take “environment” to mean an individual’s family, and as the author explains, you can have the best family in the world and if you are raised in a broader environment/culture that rewards socipathic behavior, the influences of that broader environment negate the good things that your mama taught you.

  33. alamo

    Here’s another bad mother story for you. Tonya Craft, a kindergarten teacher, went to jail, accused of molesting little girls. Tonya lost her job and lost custody of her daughter due to these accusations. Turns out, it was all just a big lie concocted by a couple of parents out for revenge–one parent was mad at Tonya for holding back her daughter in kinder, the other was mad because Tonya reprimanded her daughter. Yes, it is hard to believe, but there are a few people out there with no conscience at all, people who would stoop so low as to make false accusations of abuse in order to get revenge or get out of a jam. http://www.counterpunch.org/anderson04092010.html

  34. Kea

    The revenge motivation reminds me of the history of the Inquisition. Apparently, one reason given for the founding of the Inquisition was that revenge motives were all too common and inquisitors would be able to investigate this kind of legal fraud. Not much has changed, I guess.

  35. Saurs

    T’aint just Flynt looking to make some bread over a seemingly universal desire by dudes to witness Anthony being punish-raped. I betcha the “adult movie about her life” involves being raped by her brother and father. Betcha.

  36. speedbudget

    I don’t think there was enough evidence to prove she killed anybody or she would have been convicted. You don’t think that jury was absolutely champing at the bit to find her guilty of something? They didn’t even have proof of child abuse.

    If a jury can find a man not guilty of rape after he blatantly admits to doing so and there is video evidence to show him in the process of raping his unconscious victim, you doubt that this jury was willing, eager, and able to find this woman guilty if given any little shred of evidence to prove her guilt? The fact that a jury in our patriarchy found her not guilty, to me, is rock solid evidence that she’s not guilty. They would have hung her on a tiny shred, no doubt.

  37. Frumious B.

    In other mother-hating news, a woman was not able to get sole custody of her children even though the father is living with his ex-wife, who killed their two children from their previous marriage. Here is a link to Jezebel, which has a link to the NYT article. I am maxed out on my 20 free articles, or I would give the Times link directly.


  38. amrit

    Here’s the New York Times link:


    The best part of the article is where her ex-husband, now happily married to the murderer, says he keeps his guns locked in a gun safe, except when he’s using them at the range.

  39. anne

    A couple weeks ago not long after the verdict, CNN mentioned – in passing, of course, with no great fanfare – that according to the designer of the tracking software used in the case, Casey Anthony actually didn’t search the internet for chloroform recipes 84 times.


  40. tinfoil hattie

    The best dig at Duggar I ever saw was a poster of her and her bazillion kids with a caption that said “Vagina: It’s Not a Clown Car”.

    HA! Because that’s not a misogynist comment at all, is it?

    Or is motherhood done wrong/too many kids/hell, motherhood itself the one sexist thing we’re allowed to participate in on Savage Death Island?

  41. Jill

    I believe I reposted that clown car joke on this very blog back in the day.

    I like to think I’ve been enbiggened by the Iternet Feminist Journey since then.

    Although, really, there’s just something so over-the-top sanctimonious about her whole godly breeder act. It makes my lobe throb.

  42. tinfoil hattie

    I too loathe her “godly breeder act,” and her self-assumed purity. Let’s not forget to whom she is married, and that she too is under the thumb (penis?) of the patriarchy.

    And I remember you making that clown-car joke, and I objected then, too.

    Good times, good times.

  43. Jezebella

    “Sanctimonious” is the perfect word for her variety of smugness + practice of submissive femininity. I both dislike her immensely for what she is doing to her daughters, and feel sorry for her. It’s kind of confusing.

  44. Nolabelfits

    It will be interesting to see if any of those kids end up rejecting that lifestyle. With 19 of them, I would imagine one or two are gay.

  45. Anne

    There was recently an episode of ‘Real Housewives’ (yeah I know), a clip of which was featured on Jezebel (this is all I saw, I swear), where a godbag housewife is going on all sanctimoniously about her “traditional marriage” and making a big show of asking her husband if he approved of her outfit. That whole husband dom/wife sub godly traditional marriage stuff is just sanctified kink.
    There’s some godbag gals who should just put on doggy collars and be honest about it.

  46. Jill

    Re: the hub/wife dom/sub thing: about an hour ago I was perusing the Amazon reviews in search of an unscented, non-polluting laundry detergent, and was enpukened. The detergent reviewers are all women, and they all seem to do their husbands’/boyfriends/fiances’laundry. Invariably they describe the dude-laundry as stinky, smelly, and horrible. They do not question their role as stewards of this stinky horrible laundry, yet they yearn for a product that will ease their burden.

    Instead of this fruitless search for liberation in a box of laundry soap, my solution would be to threaten these dudes with dick-ironing if they didn’t do their own fucking wash.

  47. GMM

    And when a guy does do the housework and childcare for one day everyone wants to throw him a flippin’ parade because he is now The Greatest Husband and Father That Ever Lived.

    My cousin just informed everyone on facebook that he did
    what his wife does everyday, which is work an 11-hour shift, then come home, make dinner, clean up, do the dishes, do the laundry, give their daughter her bath and put her to bed.

    He said, “I don’t know how you do it, babe!” Awww!!

    Everyone is patting him on the back and telling him what a great and awesome husband he is. Absolutely nothing about helping her everyday, or at least every other day. I was tempted to ask him if he REALLY wanted to be a great husband he would split the housework in half, since they both work outside the home. But I know how THAT would go over with my relatives.

    This same cousin’s mom used to work two jobs and do all the housework while her husband had only one job and would occasionally help watch the kids when she was on her second shift. Then he would yell at her (in front of me) if he found an area of the house that she missed dusting (he actually did a glove test, I’m not joking). So I guess my cousin has improved over the previous generation.

    I know most women feel if they didn’t do the housework it would never get done and they don’t want to be called bad mothers and I don’t want to sound like I’m blaming them (I don’t, IBTP!) but this has to stop. When the hell will this end?

  48. Frumious B.

    my solution would be to threaten these dudes with dick-ironing if they didn’t do their own fucking wash.

    Wash, dry, iron.

    Keep ’em coming, Jill.

  49. Jezebella

    Method makes a laundry detergent that meets your requirements, I think.

  50. Jill

    “Method makes a laundry detergent that meets your requirements, I think”

    It irons dicks? Awesome!

  51. stacey

    It irons dicks? Awesome!


    @GMM, I stopped doing housework when our kid was born. Full-time daycare [would have] cost about $9000 (yearly), weekly house cleaning would have been about $7000. I decided since I wasn’t getting paid for either childcare or cleaning, I’d just do the one. (And anyway, $16000 is a shitty living wage!) It took me a couple of months to get used to the mess, and I long for the day I can have my own toilet that isn’t covered in pee, but at least I’m free of that shackle.

  52. Former Blamer

    $16,000 is more than I have ever made in a year in my life.

  53. Nolabelfits

    Stacey, the other money problem you currently have is how much dropping out of the work force is going to cost you in the long run. There really is no win for mothers.

  54. stacey

    Former Blamer, it’s probably more than I have ever made too, as a single person. It was doable, for rent and food, but there was precious little else I could afford. Canada’s Low-Income Cut-Off (i.e., the Poverty Line) a few years ago was $21000 or so – I used that as a guideline when thinking about the $16000 figure.

  55. buttercup

    Jill, Mrs Meyers’ Clean Day makes a scent-free laundry detergent that is the bomb-diggity. It looks spendy but you use so little it turns out to be quite reasonable.

  56. Former (regular, now sporadic) Blamer

    Stacey, thanks for the explanation. Wish I lived in Canada, eh.

  57. Former Blamer

    stacey, thanks. For some reason my reply got caught in the spamulator. Maybe because I gave my username as Former (Regular, Now Sporadic) Blamer?

  58. Anne

    I’m always leery of saying it because it sounds so essentialist, but I used to have brothers and a male roommate and it’s really true. If you try to hold out waiting for them to lift a finger to clean anything, you will be wallowing in filth. This is why I never share places with dudes anymore. Fuck that noise.

    Trader Joe’s sells a decent unscented store-brand laundry detergent.

  59. GMM

    Anne, I’ve had male roommates and seen many male friend’s apartments. The majority of them kept their aparments immaculate. I was the one who was a complete slob.

    When I lived with my boyfriend he ended up doing all the dishes and housecleaning and laundry because, even though we were going to split it evenly, I would put off doing my share for as long as possible. And he couldn’t stand a mess so he just did it even though I promised to get around to it. I felt terrible about it, but I think having a mom who did the same thing made me really lazy about housework. So I can understand how some men might think it’s a biological thing, because it really does feel like it’s almost impossible to do unless someone has a gun to your head. But it’s not, it’s just the result of being spoiled and not learning to clean up your own mess from an early age.

  60. Anne

    GMM – I don’t think it’s biological. I think they’re just never taught that they should be expected to clean things. That was most likely the case in my experience anyway.

  61. Milly

    Anne, yep that’s the crux of the whole argument, it’s not biological, it’s just that the societal expectations are different, so guys can get away with not cleaning up after themselves. After all there will always be one of those female “cleaner” types to clean up after them, I mean that’s what the ads say don’t they? IBTP

  62. Janet

    The inequitable distribution of cleaning comes from the same place as the Bad Mother stereotype. It’s quite easy to be a Great Dad because not much is expected. A lot of people are impressed if a Dad can spend a few hours with their kid and bring them home breathing. Every expectation of good parenting is thrown on the mother. Why is it funny and cute to some people when a Dad can’t change a diaper or pack a bag?

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