“It’s interesting to consider what it is about these moms gone wild stories that appeals so much to our conscious and subconscious collective mind.”
The movie Bad Moms came out in July of 2016 and grosses 179 million in the US. The story is about a group of moms who break the rules by rejecting the idea of pretending to be the perfect mom anymore and was an instant sensation. Many moms across the country arranged a “Moms Night Out” date and went out ot the movie in groups. Usually preceded by some serious margarita drinking. The new hit series Big Little Lies on HBO, based on the book by the same name by Liane Moriarty, speaks to a similar situation where the PTA moms in an upscale beachside suburb end up going off the rails when a murder occurs at the school gala event.
I think it’s interesting to consider what it is about these moms gone wild stories that appeals so much to our conscious and subconscious collective mind. Clearly, we are Western women and enjoy freedoms and rights that women in other countries can only dream of. And therefore we already have a sense of entitlement of what we expect of life as well as a rejection of old role stereotypes of how we should behave. The popularity of this genre is a sort of collective expression of a rejection of the idea of the perfect mom who can do it all.
It is refreshing for us to be able to see scenarios even if they are in fictional stories, of women eschewing the restrictive stereotypes of working mom versus stay at home mom. It seems to be an artistic statement about the toll on our stress levels and sanity of trying to be it all. It has become an artistic feminist movement with humor or dark satire to express and give voice to the modern impossibilities of being super mom.
We can laugh and cathartically enjoy when Mila Kunis’ character gives the metaphorical finger to the PTA queen bee after she reaches her breaking point and gathers with a band of other moms who have said enough is enough. In Big Little Lies, the story darkly satirizes the mommy war cultural phenomenon of outdoing each other. It depicts the cost of the constant competition and jealousy with the increasingly extravagant birthday parties and fundraisers within their tony beachside community until someone ends up dead. It shines a light on the dark intentions of the one-upsmanship of a society where one always assume someone else is mommying better than us.
Art is always a reflection of the culture which gives it birth, and to this point, the mothers who are buying tickets to and craving a front row seat to shows that make light of the grind of what it means to be a mommy today, gives us a chance to breathe a collective sigh of relief. It can be at times dark and competitive, it can be ugly and messy but most of all, it is kind of funny.
And ironically, next month I will be attending a fundraising party for my school where we will be attending a screening of Bad Moms hosted by one of it’s stars (this is LA after all). It sold out within the first day of being up for sale and needless to say, there will be cocktails before hand.