In Praise Of Bad Moms

I was surprised to see that Bitch Media, an explicitly feminist site, had thoroughly panned Bad Moms.

It reminds me of when I was dating someone who worked in academia. They were repeatedly surprised at the behaviors and words of my blue-collar(ish) coworkers. They seriously wondered if I was creating strawmen out of tropes – nobody really still thought or acted that way, right?

That, like the Bitch Media review of Bad Moms, was before Trump.

Because their synopsis of Kunis’ character Amy -“an overworked, underappreciated mom of two with a schlubby, couch-potato husband who feels like her “third child.”” – is a woman I personally know. The same with the other “tropes” characters in the film. At most, they’re a single adjective off.

And regardless of why the characters are archetypes, that’s why I think this movie is a Big Deal, the same way your first sociological insight is a Big Deal (despite having been written down a half dozen times before you were born).

These archetypes allow one to project yourself into those archetypes, to identify with them with as few obstacles as possible. And that’s why I recommend this film to more than a few people.

Let me put it another way: Bad Moms contributed absolutely nothing new to the larger society-wide discussion about feminism. But there are many, many individual feminist stories that are just starting that journey. There are many women who still struggle not just with external forces but the internalized voice of the patriarchy telling them what they “must” and “have” to do in order to be a “good” woman.

And while this movie may not be impressive to someone steeped in feminist theory, it’s still very needed by many others.

So let’s praise the Bad Moms out there, and keep encouraging them to make the choices that are meaningful for them.