Private Eye: Conscience of middle-class mothers everywhere

In addition to subscribing to Glamour, I often read Private Eye. I like Pseud’s Corner, and the book reviews, and the impossible crossword with gratuitous rude words. Whereas I hate Glamour (since I’ve started a blog, I pompously tell myself I read it for “my material”), I’m quite fond of Private Eye. Or rather I would be if it wasn’t so ridiculously, pointlessly sexist.

This fortnight’s edition is advertising a set of “exclusive” cartoon cards. One of the cards in the set – the one that’s enlarged to promote the rest of them – includes a picture of a woman ironing with a toddler sitting at her feet. The caption is as follows:

Mummy said her first word to me today, Nanny.

It’s okay, I’ll allow you a few minutes in which to piss yourself laughing.

***

Finished? Okay, so that’s proven we’re not all humourless feminists here. But still, I think we can all be agreed that that’s still a pretty shit excuse for a joke. Women who employ nannies not knowing their own children! How totally un-fucking-hilarious! Or maybe it’s not meant to be funny. Maybe it’s just social commentary. A comment on how shit working mothers are (btw, by “working mothers”, I don’t mean to imply that stay-at-home mothers don’t work. I mean “working mother” as an insult aimed at those in paid employment. Don’t worry if you’re a stay-at-home mum; I’m sure Private Eye thinks you’re shit, too).

I don’t actually employ a nanny. I send my youngest to nursery. Does that make me better or worse? I suppose it makes me a bit less like Polly Filla (you could argue that Polly, who’s always being a stupid, insensitive bitch towards her immigrant au pairs, was created to highlight the racism and snobbery of the upper middle-classes. You could, but it’d be a crap argument. Polly is just another ludicrous misogynist stereotype, and she can fuck right off).

It does bother me that I don’t see my children as much as I would were I not in the office (I was about to write “were I not earning money for food and shelter”, like I have to justify what I do in the most basic terms. If I were a man I’d just write “supporting my family”, but it sounds as meaningless as it actually is coming from me). It bothers me more that people seek to make a joke of this, as though we’re all entirely oblivious to the hours and experiences lost and it takes some shitty cartoonist to open our eyes to it. I wonder who will buy this card, and who they’ll send it to. Hopefully not to mums like me.

Dear You

You’re a shit mum and your child doesn’t know you. Still, nice shoes – did the “job” pay for that?

Love,

Some post twat who’s probably never changed a nappy in his whole fucking life.

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