Until a few months ago, I had never heard of the term MILF. A friend said she had registered on an internet dating site of the same name which I was told is an acronym for ‘Mother I’d like to Fuck.’ The term was popularised in 1999 when it was used in the film American Pie but Mrs Robinson in The Graduate was probably the iconic MILF before the term was coined.
I am not sure I feel that comfortable with the term MILF, when you become a Mum you do feel as if you have lost your identity and this is reinforced by, as Hadley Freeman puts it, the ‘mummification’ of the media: Yummy Mummy, Slummy Mummy, Mummy Porn, Mumtrepreneurs as well as MILFs suggest that mums are somehow separated from other women, they have to have special porn rather than the stuff they enjoyed in their child-free days, they have to undertake specialist diets and wear MILF lingerie if they want men to look at them again, a businesswoman who is also a mother has a special sobriquet and there is no equivalent for the childless entrepreneur.
The inference is that a woman becomes a different person and whilst having a baby is certainly life-changing and it is easy to forget who you once were pre-motherhood, you are the same person. When my children complain when I have a night out, I have to remind them that I am entitled to a life outside the home; naturally they only see me as Mum and the concept that I can also have an alter ego that is ‘Angelina’ is completely alien to them. And who can blame then when virtually everyone sees me first and foremost as a mother, even my doctor calls me, rather mistakenly, ‘Earth-Mother.’
There is even a ‘Milf’ diet; but why a special diet for mums? Because apparently we have been “waiting the last two thousand years to get our sexuality back.” As Hadley Freeman writes, “Two thousand years! It’s a wonder any conceptions happened at all!” Mums you see need special advice on how to get back in to skinny jeans as soon as possible to keep up with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Madonna et al. These are the mums we should all aspire to resemble and somehow it is supposed to be empowering and feminist to work hard at being a so-called MILF.
Jessica Porter who devised the Milf Diet writes “Ever since Mary played the Immaculate card in Bethlehem, our culture has been struggling with a fundamental split: women are unconsciously perceived as either good girls or good-time girls, either naughty or nice … [But] suddenly we can be mothers AND be considered frisky in the bedroom.” Hold the press, mothers have sex too. In the same way, it irritated me when ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was consistently referred to as ‘Mummy Porn.’ Apparently on the book’s release, all over the country mums were “discussing the lead character’s sexual motivations over a cup of tea. So what’s going on?” Nothing is going on. Women are women, some women are mothers, full stop.