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pink camo_2_2I am trying to get involved in the blogosphere, to have my little voice carry in the vast bloggy wilderness. To that end, I visited one of my favorite blogs Suburban Turmoil this afternoon and caught up on a couple of Lindsay's recent posts where she discussed a porn star mother (Mommy XXX) who will have a reality show. In her post and her newspaper column, Lindsey talked to, and about, this woman and concludes (correctly) that Mommy XXX is exploiting her children. Lindsay nominates her as "THE WORST MOTHER OF ALL TIME." Moreover, Lindsay (and it seems countless Mommybloggers out there) have articulated outrage at the fact that certain companies are running ads for "family products" on this trashy program. Today, on her blog, Lindsay announced that Kraft has pulled its advertising from Mommy XXX. Anyway, I am a rabid fan of controversy and a sucker for a good spicy debate, so I weighed in. I suggested that maybe this attack on the ever-delightful Mommy XXX is just another battle in the age-old Mommy War. I suggested that maybe, just maybe, Mommy XXX is a caricature, an easy target for judgment, and that we mothers often leap to judge because we are ourselves fundamentally insecure about our own selves and decisions. Anyway, read on for what I wrote and for Lindsay's response. {Disclaimer: I do not claim to know all the pertinent details about this Mommy XXX creature. The reactions articulated herein are admittedly based on imperfect information.}

My comment:

Let me preface this by saying I love your blog, your voice, your candor, your ability to lace tales of parenting with irreverent and compelling wit. I even wrote a post on my own blog a while back that was tantamount to a love letter to you about how I look up to you as a fellow Stay-At-Starbucks Mom. The gist? I'm indeed a fan.

That said, I think "you're feeling sort of thoughtful" about this for a good, if nebulous for now, reason. Now, I am less concerned about the advertising angle to this saga. Frankly, I don't care where advertisements are run. Perhaps a bleak and cynical view, but I think all of this is guided by the ever-beckoning bottom line and has little to do with ethics and personal and cultural mores. And, yes, maybe advertising in an ideal world would be rooted in moral soil. But we are not talking about ideal worlds here. We are talking about the real world.

I am far more troubled by your vilification of this woman, this Mommy XXX. You keep saying over and over that you don't care if she is a porn star. But you do, don't you? You say that you are concerned that she is exploiting her kids, creatures for whom she should care rabidly and protect at all costs and as a mother, of course I agree. But the reality here is that we do not know the whole story. Who is this woman really? What is she like when cameras are not rolling? Are her kids in fact part of the act? Who knows. It almost doesn't matter. It does appear that this woman is capitalizing on her kids and that is worrisome. It also does seem that she is exposing her youth to terrible things. Again, not good.

BUT. Why is this woman any different than any other mother that appears on reality television? Why is she different than that sunshine-y mommy of 8 or all those sundry desperate housewives? Because her brand is different? She is a commodity, another member of the mommy species wrapped up (by herself and likely a network) in the porn package. Is she a more despicable being because her sexuality is her identity? I don't know.

What I do know is that there are too many wars between mothers. You know this too. You write eloquently about the battles of these ceaseless wars. We are quick, so quick, to judge other mothers, to point out just why they are failing, just how they are slighting their children, or tainting our society. We are so quick to cast these stones, it seems, because deep down we are ourselves exquisitely imperfect, struggling, insecure souls. Because we are unsure of our own paths and our own decisions. Because probably there are times when each of us feels that pit of worry that we are exploiting ourselves or our kids (by splashing photos on Facebook, or telling personal stories on blogs).

I am NOT saying that Mommy XXX or whoever she is is a wonderful mother. To the contrary, from the little I know of her, she seems like a sad person who is stooping low for that coveted fifteen minutes. Her show sounds like trash. I am not defending her antics. I am just saying that maybe we should try to move away from thinking in blacks and whites, in those subversive binary oppositions of good and bad, when talking about something as complicated as parenthood.

Lindsay's Response to My Comment:

I totally see your point. However, I have to say that I have a really strong gut feeling about this one, and when I have those, I tend to write about them. :)

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I like Lindsay and her blog and her brand of honesty. I have zero doubt that she is a busy, busy woman. But isn't this response a bit of a cop-out? What if we chalked all of our convictions and judgments up to "gut feelings"? Now she is allowed to write about whatever she wants and I am so glad that she does because I like reading what she has to say. But I think if you are going to call someone the worst mother of all time, you should back it up with thoughtful, if unfinished, reasons that transcend mere gut feelings. Just my piddly two cents on the matter.

Thoughts on this?

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