Don’t Call Me a MILF. Please.

Being a MILF is all the rage these days. It’s no longer enough to bear and raise our children. Now, moms have the added pressure of needing to look like hot-n-sexy MILFs all day.

A MILF wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a Winnie-the-Pooh diaper bag or wearing Mom Jeans. She scoffs at the  fanny pack. A MILF, you see, has more chic things in her life like, um, “embracing her sexuality.” There’s even talk of “taking back” the word MILF as a form of sexual empowerment for mothers.

Ugh. Does anything sound the death knell of doom louder than mothers trying to “take back” a horrifically degrading label and wearing it as a badge of sexual empowerment? Is this really the best we can offer our daughters?

Oh, I know. I’m being humorless. I’m taking it too seriously. I need to have a little fun! You know, “embrace my sexuality” and all that (because having five children isn’t enough embracing of ye olde sexuality, apparently).

So, what IS a MILF?

Well, according to Wikipedia, MILF is the “Moro Islamic Liberation Front.” Oh, wait. Wrong MILF. Hmm. There’s also Keith Sweat’s 1987 album, “Make It Last Forever.” No, no. That’s not it. Hmmm. Ahh, here it is. MILF: “Mother I’d Like to F***.”

Awesome. Exactly the kind of mother I want to be!

What’s going on, here? Are there only two options for motherhood? Fanny-Pack Mom vs. MILF Mom? Sure, I’ve encountered people who are shocked to learn I have five children. Usually their shock says more about their biases than it does my appearance. It’s like they expect mothers of many children to look like shriveled, washed-up old women dragging their withered uteruses behind them.

Still, that doesn’t mean I want to be called a MILF. I’m annoyed and disgusted by the MILF label. No matter how many women decided to “take back” this degrading slang word it’s still, um, degrading.

The problem, here, is not that mothers have somehow “lost” their sexuality, it’s that we’ve allowed our sex-saturated culture to objectify and narrow our human dignity. No longer is it about our inherent worth as human persons. Now our value as mothers is determined by whether or not people want to have sex with us.

Have we really reduced ourselves to trying to “take back” or redeem degrading labels as a sign of our “progress”? How tragic.

What do you think? Does the MILF label bother you?
Why or why not?

  • http://MeditativeMeanderings.blogspot.com Susanne Barrett

    Yes, the MILF label bothers me. As moms-of-many, I agree with you that we don’t want to look like “shriveled, washed-up old women dragging their withered uteruses behind them.” (Great line!!) We should take the time to dress appropriately, do our hair and makeup, and just be normal people.

    Not objectified, not hiding who I am, but just ME.

    There’s a happy medium between the MILF and the fanny-packer. Nice, non-Mommy jeans, a cute tank & short cardigan, and wedge-sandals with light makeup and decent hair is all I ask. ;)

    I have the additional burden of being a homeschooling mom, but I have refused for the past decade (yes, this fall starts year 15 of home education) to wear the “homeschooling uniform” of denim jumpers or skirts and Keds with rolled-down white socks. I’m no Duggar, but I’m no MILF either…thanks be to God!

    Yes, a happy medium…that’s all I ask of life. That, and to be sleeping at 2:30 AM instead of babbling all over your blog. ;)

    • Jamie

      You know it’s funny but I’ve often thought that the Mrs. Duggar’s of the world should be the real sex symbols since they honestly have a more active love life than any uber-processed mom ever has. Don’t you think?

      • http://annalytical.com Anna

        Really? I think others might be having plenty of sex but we don’t pop out 50 babies in our lifetime. What’s wrong with that? Just because I stopped at 2 kids doesn’t make me less lovingly involved with my husband.

        And why do we even need sex symbols?

        And women who want to be MILF’s might be feeling like something is lacking in their own life so they want attention from others. Well many moms do that in many ways. Some blog every little detail of their lives in the hopes that someone will listen (not saying you EE, just a general example), some go the other way – not a MILF, but an extreme mommy where EVERYTHING is about being better than the other mommies … they know everything, have all the tips, have all the gear, and their identity is MOMMY!

        My point? Whether it’s needing attention by being a MILF or by being something else, it’s all about a lack of confidence in the identity. I’m not saying someone can’t be empowered. But if it’s in the way of a healthy balance, it seems like there’s an identity struggle there – maybe even an obsession.

        Other point? I think the root of the problem is key… trying to be a MILF is just a symptom of a bigger issue. It comes in many forms.

  • http://grittygrace.com Martha Brady

    the label bothers me b/c of the f-word. i don’t like having s*x with my husband put in that context!

    another thing i don’t like about that label is that it seems to insinuate that somehow it should be odd for wives and mothers to enjoy s*x! that enjoyable s*x is only for those who are NOT committed in marriage or who are sneaking around being unfaithful to the spouses they have. It is one of the big lies that people are buying in our culture…and it is just that…a LIE!

    What could be more secure for a woman than to be in a secure marriage with a man that is committed to her for life? There is no safer place to be for a woman to be free to enjoy the best s*x of her life!!

  • http://sevenlittleaustralians.blogspot.com/ Erin

    MILF!! Really? Seriously?

    Well I’m so with you (and Susanne) I often get the surprised comments of how I look vs the amount of children. What do people expect mums of many to look like? I think Ma Kettle.

  • Tammy

    Im enjoying the “no, you couldnt POSSIBLY be a grandma, you look too young!” and hope to milk it for all its worth….but I just want to be an attractive late 40s woman, I dont need/want to be a GILF.

  • Agnes

    I don’t have kids so maybe I shouldn’t answer, but I totally agree with your view EE. I find the label really sick, I mean, come on! It has nothing to do with mom jeans or anything else except adding sexual degradation to one more group of previously respected women. A mother’s most important value does not lie in who/how many people want to ‘****’ her. ‘Yo’ Mama’ used to be a term of insult, known to be disrespectful. Now, a mom is supposed to be flattered?? Shows a society that has become WAY too porn-ified. Yuck.

  • KatR

    There is no stage in life when a woman can get away with NOT being “sexy”, evidently.

    Take a look at pregnancy. The celebrity ideal is perfectly cute little baby bump in your ninth month, NO body fat anywhere else, and you are expected to where stiletto heels when you go out. Then you have the baby and are seen leaving the hospital, fitting back into your skinny jeans.

    It’s ridiculous.

    • KatR

      That should be “wear stiletto heels”. It’s early in the morning here, but that’s no excuse for that kind of egregious grammatical error.

      • http://www.3turkeys.net Mary

        How DARE you have such terrible grammar! I’m offended to my core. ;)

        You are right about Hollywood’s perception of what pregnancy looks like. I don’t know how those few celebrities managed it. I would’ve been all over Star or something as the woman who looked like she was giving birth to an elephant.

  • http://www.3turkeys.net Mary

    It’s all fun and games until someone actually says it out loud. You are absolutely right. It is degrading whether or not women “take it back” (and really, who wants it?). I want to look good, be physically fit and dress attractively, but not immodestly. I want to look like a woman when I’m out and not like a bedraggled mother because I feel better about myself when I look like a woman. I certainly don’t want young men, or any man, looking at me in the MILF kind of way. The very thought of it is disgusting!

  • http://www.sustainablemommy.wordpress.com Naomi

    Just ugh, ugh, ugh. What I find interesting about that acronym is the way it presupposes a masculine subjectivity–given a heterosexual norm, the “I” is necessarily male. Also this male is the “do-er” of the act and the female is the passive receiver of it. And this is something some women want to “take back”? Only in a very confused world where women aspire to the age-old “empowerment” of being seen primarily as sexual objects.

    Sorry to go all women’s-and-gender-studies-grad-student on you there, but I just can’t help it sometimes. :)

    • http://www.elizabethesther.com elizabeth

      Great insight! The ONLY way this is empowerment is if women are primarily sex objects. So sad!!

    • joy

      YES. Among many other things that are very wrong with that acronym, the assumption that it’s a man choosing who he’s going to do something to, with no agency for the woman and no mutuality in the sex really bothers me.

  • http://saintsinprogress.blogspot.com Nicole

    First time I heard that term it made my skin crawl. Then I heard it as something for a woman to aspire to, and I thought, “Seriously? What is wrong with these people?” The whole idea was alien. You are spot-on.

  • http://heldts.blogspot.com Brianna

    I especially hate the term because it somehow implies that becoming a mother automatically makes you less attractive, so we have to distinguish between women who are still worthy of being sexual beings. I too often have people say they’re surprised I have five children, and honestly I want to ask, “What did you assume a mom-to-five would look like?” The term MILF is just gross and women should not be thought of in that way. SO inappropriate!

    Your line about women dragging their withered uterus’ behind them made me laugh out loud, ha! I may have to work that into conversation next time!

    • http://annalytical.com Anna

      Actually it’s not that at all. MILF is referring (usually) to a younger guy who wants to F the mom. Like mom has a teenage son, and the son’s friends consider the mom a mom I’d like to F. It’s not the dividing line in a normal mom non-mom way.

  • http://joyfulbiscuit.blogspot.com/ Christin

    Amen, amen, amen. Though I don’t have kids yet, many of my friends (who are beautiful, stylish, sexy women) do. I hate to think that these strong, Godly women could be referred to as MILFs just because they take care of themselves. And I agree with the previous commenters that it’s an indication about what this country thinks about mothers.

  • Ladybug

    I suppose my first issue would be with he matter of objectifying a woman as being an object to have something done to her.

    My second issue would be with the idea that says if a mother looks like a person whose priorities do not have instant sexual availability listed in the top 3 spots, she is undesirable and less valuable than a woman who chooses clothing and attitudes that communicate immediate sexual availability and subservience to other men’s desires regardless of the demands her children may place upon her. (Apologies for the long sentence and poor grammar)

    • http://www.madamerubies.com Heather

      I agree, except that the women labeled with MILF do not dress how you describe. You honestly only need to be clean and wear clothes that fit to be declared a MILF. It is not about the mom’s priorities as much as it is about the person making the statement. That said, women who embrace the term may make it more of a priority to dress as you described. But, some of us get the label without ever considering ourselves “sexy” or whatever.

  • http://www.somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}

    yes! we definitely need to let other people/culture stop defining sexuality for us–girls, teens, women, mothers, ALL. we can embrace our God-given sexuality without a side degradation. good words here.

  • http://parentingmiracles.net JessieLeigh

    My next door neighbor is a single man in his early 30′s. I have no issue with him. His gin-swiggin’ father, however, regularly refers to me as the “MILF next door”. It truly makes my skin crawl… and is not one bit flattering.

  • http://Www.suzielind.wordpress.com Suzie Lind

    I love this post. I’m totally with you. The term is horrible. What we need to take back is not the term MILF but rather the fact that there is an in-between and you don’t have to be one or the other.

  • http://terrybreathinggrace.wordpress.com terry

    I agree with you, EE. I had no idea what MILF is and I was reading thinking, “Well, what exactly does it mean?”

    And then you explained, and I wondered why on earth any woman would want to be viewed that way. There is a place of moderation between sluttiness and extreme homeliness.

    Maybe I need a sense of humor, too, because you’ve echoed my sentiments exactly.

  • http://fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    Like Terry, I did not know what the acronym MILF meant until reading this post. I’m appalled. I agree with you Elizabeth and with the majority of the comments above. I don’t like the F word in any context. I don’t even like being called sexy. I prefer words like good-looking, beautiful, attractive, charming, appealing, well-groomed. Such adjectives refer to the overall physical aspect of one’s womanhood without getting into the sex only aspect.

    I also like what Susanne said about “a happy medium.”

    Speaking as a senior who might be old enough to be your children’s grandmother, I would try to avoid phrases like “dragging the withered uterus.” Although they eventually are rather useless, I don’t think uteruses actually wither! : )

    • http://www.seekingfaithfulnessblog.blogspot.com Holly

      Yes, likely not, Ruth Ann….but it sure did make me giggle. With nine kiddos, I’m sure that’s what people think about ME! :)

  • http://musings--aloud.blogspot.com Leah

    An ex of mine mentioned to me that he thought my own mother was a MILF. Apparently I was supposed to be pleased because that meant he thought I was still going to be hot when I’m older {& look like my mom??}?? Instead I was highly offended that anyone would refer to her in that way… plus it was just weird that my bf was checking out my mom!
    Apparently there are lots of acronyms referring to this topic; I’ve gained a reputation of not being DTF…. not being “down to f—”. To say that referring to sex in this way cheapens it would be an understatement!

  • http://www.madamerubies.com Heather

    As blacks and whites now playfully toss around the N word and “cracker.” That is what came to mind, when I read this post. Though, I suppose, MILF was meant as a compliment. The only kind of compliment the person making it knows how to share. I am happy to be a MILF… to my husband. No one else should be thinking of me in such terms, so I do not feel the need to “take”: back to word. I don’t feel the need to take it forward or sideways or anyway I can come up with.

    I want my children to rise up and call me Blessed. MILB, maybe. Mother I’d Like to Bless.

  • Denise

    If I’m not mistaken, this first came up as a way for young men (teens/early20s) to refer to friends’ moms. Even more gross.

  • Joanie

    Yucky. I’m so glad you brought this up, EE. I agree that I don’t want to be called a MILF. It would honestly creep me out.

  • http://frombitterwaterstosweet.blogspot.com/ Mara

    You’re right EE. Women should not be flattered by this but rather disgusted that men have been drinking at the fountain of porn for so long that this term has gone main stream.

    Women of all ages should be disgusted that all they have to do is take care of themselves and walk out in public and some porn-headed-male (which seems to be the majority of them now, what a shame) feels the right to label them with this label or some other degrading and objectifying term that doesn’t value a woman for anything except for how she serves a man’s raging and worshiped libdo.

  • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife

    okay….getting my hair cut so I can at least be at that happy medium :)

  • http://www.emaconly.blogspot.com/ Emily M.

    All the people *I* know who are referred to as MILFs are in their 50s…

    • http://www.elizabethesther.com elizabeth

      even WORSE!

  • Becca

    Well, I’m not an “M” yet, but the only person who I want thinking about “F”ing me is my husband, thankyouverymuch!

  • http://www.seekingfaithfulnessblog.blogspot.com Holly

    Mkay. Dang it, EE, I did NOT even know this was a term. Sheesh. Now I’m all up in arms about it. :)

    Seriously. Really? People. Get a life. Stay busy. Build something. Adopt some children. Start an orphanage. Feed a nation. Start a business. Anything…but do something with your lives besides please your sexual side and/or live to please someone else.

    I agree that this has to do with the acceptance of and normalization of porn. I hate it. Thanks for standing against it, sis!

  • http://www.tamaraoutloud.com Tamara Out Loud

    Interesting to read your thoughts on this, EE. I feel like the term should offend me, but it just doesn’t. Maybe it’s because I take it to simply be synonymous with “hot.” And maybe that’s a naive way to take it– I don’t know. Good stuff to think about, either way.

    • Erin

      I completely agree! I’ve never been offended by this term.

  • http://randomlychad.com randomlychad

    So, just to be clear, I’m entirely against the objectification that is so rampant in our society today. Neither men, nor women, should be seen as objects of gratification.

    That said, while MILF is “bad,” what about “cougar?” I mean folks will tell you that it’s about empowerment, but it seems like it’s just the other side of the coin.

    But what do I know?

    • http://www.elizabethesther.com elizabeth

      Agreed. “Cougar” is also offensive. The whole point is narrowing a woman’s identity to her sexual availability or desirability. It’s degrading, dehumanizing and very anti-Christian.

  • http://about.me/chasy Chasy

    What a wonderful way to disrespect my husband: encourage other men to want to have sex with me!

    Good heavens, are they seriously serious??

    I cannot fathom how anyone could be flattered by the label, unless they have a total misunderstanding of what the word F*** means and what goes on in a man’s head when he thinks about doing that to a woman he doesn’t even know!

    If feminists want to take something back for themselves, fine. They need to find a way to keep women like ME out of it. They’re making it harder for me than MEN make it, to be the amazing, capable woman that I am — and to ENJOY it!

    I am not a MILF and I purposefully strive NOT to be. I am a God-fearing mother who raises her children well, who actively tries to bring honor to her husband, and who can’t do any of it without God’s truth and strength. I would be terribly offended if someone called me a MILF and I’m angry that someone out there thinks I’m unintelligent enough to EMBRACE such a label!!

  • http://about.me/chasy Chasy

    (But I’m not angry for long! Part of my kind of empowerment includes the ability to recognize and ignore nonsense so I can go on being an amazing woman! ;))

  • joy

    So, I just clicked on the link and read the actual article about “reclaiming” the term. The article itself is actually not so much about being a MILF as being a Mother Who Likes to [Have Sex]. The point seemed to be that sex and motherhood are inextricable and that mothers should not be seen as asexual beings, nor should they be seen as sex objects. Obviously, not everything in the article was in line with Christian approaches to sex and marriage, but it was actually a lot closer to some of the thoughts put forth in the comments to EE’s post here than I would have expected.

  • Sarah

    Ha! I had never heard this term before, and when I first saw the MILF acronym the first thought that popped into my head was “Mother In Law Forever”. Whaaa?

    • http://www.elizabethesther.com elizabeth

      LOL! If ONLY it was that!

  • Lorinda

    I never want to be a MILF. Not a goal of any woman with self-respect. So tired of others trying to “classify” me – can’t I just be myself?

  • http://www.adamshome.blogspot.com erin

    Dead on, EE. It is so disheartening that so many woman don’t know what it is to be honored for her whole self, so they are willing to be objectified, so that they receive some sort (the negative sort) of attention. Like the neglected child who keeps throwing crazy tantrums, just to get someone to pay attention to him.
    No thanks, don’t call me a MILF. You don’t even have to call me hot. My husband does. And he also calls me a good hearted, intelligent, creative woman. He honors all of me. I don’t need to seek cat calls from the guys on the street.

  • Tara S

    Yuck! I don’t even want to be called a “Yummy Mummy.” It’s all gross to me – part and parcel with sexual objectification. Why can’t we be clean and pretty without having people’s oversexed hangups thrown at us? Blech.

  • http://downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

    I think the term MILF really came into being after the hit song Stacey’s Mom in 2003. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGUG1aCUY2o

    Since then, I have just always regarded the term as one used by prepubescent boys who can’t think of anything but sex all the time….with anything that basically moves. As someone posted earlier, it has more to do with the one using the term than it does the object of that term.

    So, being a MILF is nothing I’ve ever really thought was that big of a deal….not really an insult or compliment when you really consider the source. ….unless you are of the likes of Mary Kay Letourneau.

  • Pingback: The Pornification of Marriage | Elizabeth Esther

  • Lara Lee

    This reminds me of the recent proliferation of “slut walks” – liberated women “taking back the term and using it for empowerment” – oh yeah, I want to own the term “slut” and wear it with pride. Puh-leeze.