There are a few infuriating things in the news I can’t bring myself to write about this morning. Instead, I’m going to write about this delightful story about the return of MOM JEANS in The Atlantic.
Like everyone without kids wearing flared hip-huggers when the SNL skit was aired, I was totally confused why moms wore such horrible high-waisted jeans. Fast-forward many years and children later and I LOVE THEM. In particular, I love that brands like H&M are actually branding shorts and jeans as “MOM JEANS.” (I bought some last week…and they look amazing.)
Part of this is my age, yes, and what two pregnancies does to your stomach—no matter how much diet and exercise you devote yourself to. But as The Atlantic details, it’s also part of a women reclaiming of things once considered “unsexy.” Heels, body-con dresses, all of that kind of thing seemed suddenly grotesque in a #MeToo age. But the fastest way to make something unsexy is to affix “mom” to it.
From the piece: “When you inject the idea of motherhood into something, well, to put it bluntly, it loses its sex appeal. To “mom dance,” for example, is to dance embarrassingly. Fairly or not, dresses, underwear, and heels that could be described as “matronly” are, at least according to fashion authorities, to be avoided. As are mom haircuts.”
I love all of this. I have a chopped mom haircut. I love mom jeans. I never wear heels. I don’t own a body-con dress. I’m not only the worst dancer, but I’m the worst singer, and I do both proudly in public all the time. I’ve worn fanny packs almost exclusively since 2011—well before they came back. I revel in the uncool.
“’The stereotype is so powerful that linking something to motherhood can extinguish its sex appeal pretty quickly. Mom haircuts, mom sneakers—phrases like these call to mind an image of ‘somebody who’s not necessarily with it,” Montemurro said.”
Not with it, don’t care to be with it. I’m so un-with it; I’m against it.
Go read the whole thing. It’s fascinating. But here’s what it misses about moms, at least me, and at least a lot of women I know: We ABSOLUTELY LOVE that motherhood de-sexualized us. I got so much disgusting sexual harassment via social media pre-kids. After kids? Oh sure, I still get a ton of sexist treatment. But it’s way less sexualized in nature. No one hits on me. Even the catcalls are way down (sadly those never seem to go away no matter how horrid your jeans are.) My body, my appearance, my sexuality is far less up for grabs to the world to judge and comment on now. My body has become mine again.
I detailed some of the social science behind that shift in my book, so I won’t belabor it again here. But let me tell you: If I’d have realized this before I became a mother, I would have had kids sooner.
Here’s the best part: While the world has desexualized me, I’ve never felt better about myself, never felt more convinced that I look amazing no matter what I’m wearing. Those two things must be intertwined. I’m not sure if it’s the freedom from the ever-present male gaze that frees you up to feel sexy in mom jeans and sneakers, or if it’s the refusal to act any part for others because you already feel amazing and powerful just in your own skin.
But please—PUH-LEASE—keep finding moms unsexy. We aren’t insulted. We love it.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- What’s something you never thought you’d be able to do that you finally did?
- What are you doing over the long weekend?