Less is Moore

Yuk yuk yuk. What an obnoxious woman! I had the misfortune last night of watching ‘Mums who leave their kids’ last night on telly, a ‘documentary’ by Jane Moore a writer for the Sun. I say documentary, but in fact this was really just an opportunity for Jane Moore to pour forth a whole load of misogynist bull about women who do not conform to a particular stereotype of womanhood or motherhood – opinion without a balanced journalistic investigation to back it up.

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The show has aired before on Sky and has met with a similar response from other viewers (in 2006 and in response to yesterday’s showing).

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One of the programme’s core propositions was that there are two types of women – those who have it ‘in them’ to abandon and those that don’t i.e. good / proper women and mothers (like Jane Moore and her perfectly manicured lady friends) and aberrant bad women with some kind of inherent defect. The show seemed to me to be an exercise in reassuring Jane Moore and women like her that they were different from the awful women who were pilloried in the programme, more than it was a genuine attempt to understand why women are driven to take this extreme action.

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The programme was based upon the proposition that the Mother-Child relationship is somehow more significant than the Father-Child relationship, and that there was something unnatural in the breaking of that Mother-Child relationship by abandonment that did not apply to absent Fathers. Any parental abandonment must be heartbreaking and damaging for a child, but can we really say more than that abandonment by a primary carer is more awful than that of a less involved one? What is it about women’s abandonment of their children that rendered Jane Moore so utterly unable to understand her fellow women? I suppose the difficulty is that if one really explored all the myriad reasons why a mother might feel she had to leave her children, if one really understood that women may leave because of depression, mental health difficulties, violence, loss of self-confidence in her ability to parent, as a temporary arrangment which becomes for reasons outside her control permanent, or simply to reduce the conflict in the family home in times of relationship difficulties….if one really understood and accepted that these ‘environmental’ factors can affect any women (or any man) – one might then have to accept that it could be you. You could be one of those BAD mothers.

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Moore briefly flirted with the idea that postnatal depression might explain some of the unfathomable behaviour of the mothers who commit this sin of abandonment, but her obvious viewpoint from the outset as confirmed at the end of the show was that this was simply an excuse for selfish women who weren’t prepared to martyr themselves in the way that proper mothers like Moore were doing.

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The saddest thing in this programme was the lack of insight, the lack of solidarity, and the inability to admit that all mothers, all parents, are human and flawed and can buckle under the pressure of parenthood or difficulties in the home. The turning of her back in order to protect her own sense of self was truly depressing. Where do women like Jane Moore go for support when they are struggling with motherhood, for they surely don’t talk to their friends? The inability to perceive one’s own potential vulnerability is in itself a risk factor.

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And of course only just below the surface was the evident belief that the reason that Fathers are less important than Mothers – we simply accept that Mums pick up when Dads abandon and that abandonment by dads is simply a fact of life, but the premise of this programme is that abandonment by Mums is of a whole different order. That devalues Dads and oversimplifies the explanations for female abandonment.

2 thoughts on “Less is Moore

  1. Urgh, I totally agree with you. I only caught the end of this and I thought it was just depressing and pathetic.

    What an awful awful woman. And a truly terrible programme.

  2. Thank goodness someone agrees with me! I was virtually apopleptic when I watched this awful rubbish last night. How dare this sanctimonious witch berate other mothers in such a way to make her feel better. The way in which women attack other women truly is depressing; and motherhood is just one of the favourite sticks with which womenkind can beat each other with. I’m happy to admit my failings as a mother, and it’s often been met with relief from other women who are anxious about their own abilities.

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