Opinion: The story that Joe Jonas tells about Sophie Turner won’t work

America loves to rebuff a “terrible mother” — and there is a long history of involving unmistakable famous people as preventative figures of detestable parenthood. As a result, when the news broke that Joe Jonas, a 34-year-old musician, had filed for divorce from Sophie Turner, a 27-year-old actor, the media assumed that Turner wanted to go out at night while Jonas wanted to be a parent.

Turner was depicted as a party girl and Jonas as a “homebody” who was trying to look out for his daughters on gossip websites like TMZ and Page Six.

For media proficiency experts, this feels like a strategy from Big name Picture Control 101, resting on sayings of the terrible mother and generous dad.

Given how eager we are to award fathers for just…parenting, American society is primed to devour such narratives. This is what I saw firsthand. One time, my husband and I went out to lunch with friends in Brooklyn. With my six-month-old child, my sandwich, and, yes, a glass of wine, I was fighting. My better half saw that I was battling, and he gathered up the child and took him outside to offer me a reprieve.

He reported that at least two older women had stopped to compliment him on how well he was holding the baby when he returned to the room. The low standard for fatherhood made us laugh. I was, however, secretly resentful. Simply that morning, a lady had halted to chide me for failing to put a cap on my child.

This narrative is a well-worn, misogynistic dig at women who don’t publicly present themselves as traditional caregivers or who are caught on camera making some kind of parenting mistake. It can be used to valorize dads or to demonize moms.

As an example of someone who has been the victim of this kind of rhetoric, Britney Spears comes to mind. Despite everything we now know about her abusive conservatorship and struggle for autonomy and self-expression, Spears continues to be criticized as a bad mother in the early 2000s.

Be that as it may, there’s a tad of trust in this story yet. Attempts to portray women as bad mothers during a divorce were successful in the past. However, that is not the case with the Jonas and Turner situation at this time.

Users were immediately skeptical of Jonas’ claims on social media. Many people commented on their seven-year age difference, Turner’s 19-year-old age when they started dating, and her 24-year-old motherhood. They pointed to Turner’s public declarations of homesickness for her home country of England, such as her desperate remark that she missed her friends and family: I miss Britain so much,” she told Elle UK in May 2022. ” Everything, from the people to their attitude, My husband is slowly being pulled back.

Why is any of this relevant? Celebrities aid us in understanding and defining our experiences and anxieties in a variety of ways. We want to know how other people feel about their lives. Also, in this particular instance, we want to see how our culture treats women who are thought to be “bad mothers” or implied to be so.

These voices are adding their voices to what appears to be a growing chorus of criticism of outdated idioms. Someone defends a mother’s right to maintain and feel good about her sexuality for every person who says that Cardi B is too sexual. The same number of people are scowling at this sexist judgment as those who said that Emily Ratajkowski and Meghan Markle held their babies “incorrectly.” In addition, while Julia Fox’s parenting tips are up for debate, others applaud her open comments and authenticity regarding being a single mother.

The Covid-19 pandemic made people aware of how much physical and emotional labor mothers put in every day and how fathers can share parenting responsibilities with mothers. No one is unique; everybody is making an honest effort. Dads should not be recognized for taking care of their children while their mothers are at work. Moms shouldn’t be slain for going out with their friends; they should be celebrated instead. Are you going to criticize me for not providing my child with a hat? Keep your thoughts to yourself; we’re just trying to stay alive and sane here.

The following Instagram post was made by Turner and Jonas as part of their official joint statement: Following four magnificent long periods of marriage we have commonly chosen to end our marriage genially. Although there are numerous speculative explanations, this truly is a collective decision and we sincerely hope that everyone will respect our wishes for privacy for ourselves and our children.

We have no idea what is going on behind the scenes with these two individuals. However, that is really not the point. These newspaper accounts are valuable chances to take the social temperature, to check shifts in our social mentalities. But most importantly, they provide opportunities to examine how challenging gendered parenting stereotypes can have big-picture benefits, even in small ways, rather than voyeuristically observing what is wrong with other people’s lives.