Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kate Gosselin: You Can’t Be A Mommy and be Controversial

image This year saw the end  of “Jon and Kate Plus 8”.  After announcing their impending divorce, the antics of Jon to remain relevant made it impossible to do the show .   I am certainly sceptical that his new found concern had to do with child exploitation, when he had no problem benefitting from his reality television stardom for years.  If I were to give out an award for douche of the year, it would go to Jon Gosselin.

With eight children to feed and a heavy mortgage to pay, Kate has been searching for opportunities to earn a living.  Though she is a nurse be trade, that salary would not be sufficient to support eight kids.  Some may say that this is because the children have become used to a high standard of living, but in reality let’s just face facts shall we, raising children is expensive.  Even without the fancy trips and presents that the show enabled, the simple fact of feeding and clothing all of these mouths is exorbitant.  I know this because my two little guys always seem to have one foot in the kitchen.

According to MSNBC, Kate was offered the opportunity to participate in a new show called “Momlogic TV”

A talk show set to showcase Kate Gosselin’s gift for gab won’t feature the newly divorced reality TV mom after all. According to Radar Online, execs behind “Momlogic TV” decided Gosselin is simply too controversial for a co-host spot.

In September, Gosselin, along with author Lee Woodruff, host Rene Syler and Food Network’s Paula Deen, filmed a pilot episode of a talk show with a very “View”-like group dynamic.

Sources on-set were said to be pleased with Gosselin’s performance at the time of taping but have since had a change of heart.

Say what you want about Kate, but this is nothing more than the disciplining of motherhood once again.  How many times have women been shamed, or blocked from opportunities because we don’t fit the constructed image of what society considers to be ideal?  Real moms are always patient and kind.  Real moms never break a sweat and know how to keep a home spot less at all times.  In short, real moms are perfect right?

Real moms cannot possibly be controversial because our little minds should be filled with nappies, clipping coupons, and the latest healthy recipe.  Kate dared to not be perfect in front of the world while raising her 8 children and this is her crime.  Just like any other identity that women take on, motherhood is highly disciplined by patriarchy. The rules and boundaries keep changing to keep us forever searching for the acceptance that we will never occur.

If the issue was Kate’s performance, her rejection would be acceptable but to say that she is not fit to be on a show about motherhood because she is too controversial is ridiculous.  When do men become to controversial to air their opinions on television? Nope, only women are precluded from speaking when they are deemed to be to independent.  Only women are routinely silenced.  In this instance, motherhood is only the mechanism behind the silencing to cause us to ignore the inherent sexism behind such claims.

Kate’s brother recently claimed that she was more interested in her career than her children.  Of course such a charge labelled at a woman is a terrible thing because good mothers are expected sacrifice everything for their children.  No personal ambition is allowed to exist the moment that umbilical cord is cut yet the generations that men spent being detached while they pursued their careers is something we continually refer to as the golden years or the good times. Yes, this mythical past when the flannel suit father was a workaholic and spent his free time in front of the television is the paradigm of good family life.

Kate is far from perfect but since none of us are, wagging our finger and wallowing her faults is nothing more than an exercise in sexism.  She has eight mouths to feed and an ex-husband that is more interested in reliving his teenage years than worrying about supporting his kids.  Despite the B class celebrity status, designer clothing and new look, Kate is a single mother.  Instead of twisting our fingers and repeatedly whining what about the children (whom by the way we have no real interest in supporting), how about we take a stand and decide that this mother shaming has to stop.  Embracing motherhood is not something that we should reserve as cash boom for hallmark on Mothers Day, it should involve supporting women who try to negotiate this complicated identity in a world that long ago decided that women are second class citizens.