Shilpa Reddy, mother, fashion designer, entrepreneur. (Image: DC)
Criticism of Sophie Turner for enjoying herself away from her children has reached a new low, with prominent magazines implying disapproval of her for ‘downing shots at a pub’ and labelling her ‘Party mum’. Her husband Joe Jonas was shown as a dedicated father who looks after their two young children when his band, the Jonas Brothers, is on tour. "She likes to party; he likes to stay at home" was the assessment when the two filed for divorce.
Is going out in public and drinking with friends enough to tarnish a woman’s reputation in the eyes of society?
Sophie isn’t the only celebrity to have felt the weight of adverse public opinion in this matter recently. Rebel Wilson, 42-year-old actress, writer, singer and producer, was slammed for attending Leonardo DiCaprio’s birthday party in the month when her baby Royce Lillian was born through surrogacy.
Why do mothers have to justify their relaxation choices, but fathers do not?
Mental conditioning has not changed
Societies in both the East and West are unable to break free from the plague of conditioned thinking passed down from generation to generation about women having to behave in a specific way in order to perform all of their responsibilities. As a result, I refer to it as an epidemic. We are unable to recover from it. It requires a vaccination.
Times have changed, lifestyles have changed, we are all technologically advanced; parenting practises have changed. Women make financial contributions to their families. The mental conditioning, however, has not changed. If she is observed having a wonderful time with her friends or throwing a party, it does not imply that she is constantly partying and is a lousy parent. Perhaps parental responsibilities are shared.
When you see a man caring for his own children, it is highlighted as the most creditable thing. The majority of mothers are unsung heroes. They are not credited, nor do they require credit in order to care for their own children.
An uphill battle
Regardless of how modern or feministic today’s culture is, the age-old idea of the mother as ‘the nurturer’ and the father as ‘the provider’ persists. We also have fathers who prefer to work from home while simultaneously caring for their children when necessary. However, the mother is always regarded as the primary carer for the child. It is regarded as normal and natural, as well as expected, for a mother to make personal and professional sacrifices and to constantly prioritise her children.
It’s an unspoken rule. We have set a high standard for ourselves, and everyone expects us to meet it on a regular basis. Times have changed, and seeing a bunch of women partying, chatting and having a good time over a few drinks is no longer unusual. It’s an uphill battle for females, and expectations are etched in stone:
children and family must always come first. Men generally have it easier when it comes to children, and society and even their own families have lower expectations of them. - SABINA XAVIER, MD & COO, Y-Axis Overseas Careers
The mother load
What is shocking is that such instances [the criticism of Sophie Turner] are from countries that are supposedly setting benchmarks of liberalism. From time immemorial, women have invariably had to play the role of ‘super mom’. They are expected to fit into a certain compartment, conduct themselves in a certain way to be ‘judged’ as a ‘good mother.’
Public shaming based on biased notions of what constitutes a good mom and a bad one is something that needs to be questioned more than the conduct itself. Those creating opinions need to be most responsible.
All mothers, especially working mothers, need a little ‘me time.’ They need to let their hair down. And behind a successful working mother there is a support system that includes the partner who takes on equal parenting responsibilities. - LIPIKA BHUSHAN, publicity professional, and founder MarketMyBook
You can be a workaholic, a party girl and a good mum too!
The mother is regarded as the caretaker of the child by society, but a child has two parents, a mother and a father, and both should be equally accountable for the child’s development.
There are also societal demands on how a mother should behave even when she’s not with her children, but the same requirements do not apply to fathers. These are just unnecessary societal pressures on women, especially on a working mum.
But certain things just aren’t changing. If people had seen images of Joe [Jonas] partying, they might not have criticised him as harshly as they did Sophie [Turner]. So this is just male supremacy that exists in every community. We used to believe that this largely happenned in India. But this is universal in terms of how women are expected to care for their children.
Becoming a parent does not mean ceasing to be yourself. You’re still the same person you were before. You don’t stop enjoying yourself or having fun because you’ve become a parent. People need to wake up to the fact that motherhood should be viewed as a blessing rather than a liability that limits your freedom to do many things. All that matters is that you are taking care of the child. That is also all that matters to the child. - PAVLEEN GUJRAL, Actor
Unwise to point fingers
We live in a progressive world. Men and women share tasks and face difficulties together, whether it’s running the household or caring for children.
We are seeing divorces with parents remaining friends to care for their children even after parting ways. So it would be unwise for anyone to point fingers at any one individual.
Why should mothers have to justify their parental identities? Despite equal contributions in modern times, the conventional school of thought is that women are primary nurturers to some extent. Even if you are the CEO of a large multinational corporate organisation, you still have childbearing responsibilities.
In the best interests of all individuals, we must accept parental choices, regardless of gender – for example, late-night partying or divorce celebrations – it should make no difference whether the decision was taken by the mother or the father.
I know many men who are proud of their wives’ achievements. There should be no reason for men to critique a mother’s parenting style or identity. - CA Shubhraa Maheshwari, past chairperson, FICCI FLO