Ah Mia Freedman, it all makes sense now

Hey look everyone, look what I did for you. I read Mia Freedman’s latest piece of shaming nonsense so you don’t have to: Are you a mother or a porn star?

Because porn stars are bad, donchaknow, and looking like one is the worst thing in the world and mothers should never, EVER, look sexy or like they know what sex is, even though we all know they’ve done it at least once because there’s a baby.

Freedman’s wearing her shaming pants because Kim Kardashian isn’t wearing any. Kardashian posted a damn hot photo to instagram. Freedman reckons the photo is “ridiculous”. I reckon it’s SPECTACULAR. To quote @Msloulou77, “if my booty was bangin’ in a skimpy white cosi you guys would have more pics of that than hot dinners”. Hell yes.

You know, call me overly sensitive but starting your piece with a quote about burning the place down – when hundreds of people have lost their homes in fires in the last 24 hours – is a dick move. Justifying the quote later by saying it was written months ago doesn’t make it less shitty.

The thing that cracks me up the most about Freedman’s piece is that it demonstrates how little she understands the pop culture she’s been writing about for decades. Like this bit:

Why did you need to do this? Why does the world need to see up your bum and inside your top?

This has nothing to do with need. It’s about want. Kardashian instagrammed a photo for people who want to see her photos. It’s pop culture, not a meeting of the Security Council. If Freedman doesn’t want to see photos like this, it’s pretty easy to unsubscribe. It would mean she’d miss out on opportunities to shame other women, but surely that’s a small price to pay for no longer having to look at bodies she doesn’t like.

Why not just cut to the chase and post a link to the sex tape (you know, the one you claim to be mortified about while disingenuously ignoring its role in your fame)? Are you really that desperate to reclaim your hotness that you’re happy to discard your dignity and that of your daughter?

Woah, woah, woah, there’s a lot going on here. By Freedman’s logic, if you’re wearing a pair of swimmers – at the beach or the pool or in a change room – you might as well be having sex. Um, Mia, if that’s what you think sex is, then you are actually doin’ it wrong.

Now to the sex tape nonsense. The sex tape didn’t make Kim Kardashian famous – journalists creamed their jeans and made it a huge news story because she was already famous. Do you really think journalists would care about a sex tape made by unknowns? For fuck’s sake, it’s not rocket surgery.

As for the last bit, apparently once you have a baby it’s undignified to look good in a swimsuit. Particularly because it will discard your daughter’s dignity. I’m not quite sure how that works, but that’s probably because I don’t have a daughter.

I’m not suggesting that being a woman comes to a screaming halt when you become a mother. Nor being sexy, if that floats your boat.

Actually, that is EXACTLY what you’re suggesting. In your own words, you headlined your piece “Are you a mother or a porn star?” and you wrote that you got “whiplash” because Kardashian has posted a sexy photo AND a photo of her baby. So you’re either bullshitting and hoping that no one notices, or you don’t actually know what those words mean. Which is it?

But putting on a transparent and gaping white leotard, shoving your arse in the air and taking a rear view selfie (with extreme side boob) is not the action of a woman comfortable in her skin.

Gonna have to disagree with you here, Mia. I reckon it’s the action of someone who is incredibly comfortable in her skin. You can’t seriously believe that a woman who doesn’t like her body would take a photo of herself in a pair of swimmers and put that photo online for millions of people to see, do you?

I don’t have the ovaries to post a photo like that – probably because I read Freedman’s magazines when I was a teenager and learned that the most important thing I could do was to “Drop a dress size by Saturday!” then I’d be able to “Buy the swimsuit to suit my body!” (even though none of the models had a body like my body), so finally I would be able to use those “Sex tips to blow his mind!”. I don’t recall seeing anything about my pleasure, but seeing how icky Freedman is about sex workers and women recording the sex they have and women being sexy, it all starts to make sense now. After all, if you’re comfortable with women’s bodies and women being sexy (and if you understood social media) then you wouldn’t think it was so “weird” for Mariah Carey to tweet a photo of her boobs. Hey Mia, just to freak you out, here’s a photo of my arse and my boobs that I’ve tweeted. It’s no big deal, they’re just parts of my body that I happen to like. I’m 37 which means – going by what you wrote about Carey – you’ll probably suggest I tweeted these photos because I’m old and desperate. Whatevs, love.

wait, what’s the purpose of Kim Kardashian again?

Oh wow. Could there be a nastier comment than saying there is no point to a person being alive?

“Mia stop being a bitch about Kim Kardashian” some commenters will say in 3….2…..1……

“Stop judging and slut-shaming.”

Yeah but no. Because Kim is the canary down the mineshaft. Kim is simply a magnified reflection of society. In this photo – by taking it and publishing it and thinking it’s a good idea to do both – she is merely tapping into this sick societal obsession with women having to look hot at every moment in their lives – from child to cougar.

And I, for one, have had a gutful. New mothers are more than their arse. Stop reducing everything to that.

Oh, sweet jeebus, what a mess. I love how Freedman demonstrates that she doesn’t understand the criticism she gets over and over again.

If Kim Kardashian is “merely tapping into this sick societal obsession with women having to look hot at every moment in their lives”, then where’s the bit where society is blamed for it? Sure, let’s talk about the pressure on women to look hot – fuckable but not slutty – and let’s talk about how Freedman’s magazines and tv appearances and website have contributed to this pressure. But let’s not pretend that this is actually Freedman’s point. Because if it was, then that’s what she would have written about. Her article is nothing more than shaming a woman for posting a sexy photo of herself online. How dare she? She’s a mother!

As for reducing women to just their body parts, this is exactly what Freedman has done. The swimsuit photo and the baby photo show that Kardashian is a woman and a mother. Freedman just wants her to be the latter.

And you know the bit that makes Freedman look like a real goose? At the end of her piece she has a gallery of 98 photos of Kim Kardashian. Obsessed, much?

Update: Freedman is a goose AND a hypocrite. Check out this tweet from September 12. I guess now that Kardashian is being sexy in her body, instead of growing a baby in her body, then it’s ok for Freedman to define her by her body.

50 responses to “Ah Mia Freedman, it all makes sense now

  1. See, here’s the thing: Mia says she refuses to read her twitter mentions because of all the hate, yet she has no compunction about delivering such hate towards other women. Who aren’t judging her.

    Mia is playing in to a very interesting society place right now-the “we’re NOT slut shaming or victim blaming, but PLEASE stop wearing short skirts and getting drunk” society. This is the one full of “feminists” who use their position to tell other women what to wear (never leggings, for the love of God), what to name their babies (never anything non-mainstream- remember THAT issue?), and why people like Tony Abbott are good for ladies, coz he knows some. And they do this whilst proclaiming they ARE feminists, and support a women’s right to choose- as long as the choice is one they agree with.

    The stupidity of their position is completely lost on them.

    • Oh yes, it’s incredibly stupid, but the “we’re NOT slut shaming or victim blaming, but PLEASE stop wearing short skirts and getting drunk” position is also the dominant one. I have hope though: they’ve learned the words in the last 12 months but don’t yet understand them, so maybe in another 12 months they’ll realise what the words mean.

  2. Great analysis and article. Well done. I read that MM piece (of garbage) and now may die of fury.

    So… *pinches finger and thumb at bridge of nose*…all mothers all over the world should be exactly the same – modest and motherly both? Won’t someone think of the children! Because children couldn’t possibly have mothers who are real life interesting, diverse, thoughtful and sexual people?

    It’s despicable of MF to accuse KK of taking advantage of her public forum to display herself (in a manner that is deemed crass!) without seeming to observe her own public platform is used for something far worse. I am sick to death of women being shamed for simply existing in a manner that isn’t deemed suitable by another.

    • You’re right. Freedman uses her public platform to shame women and call it feminism. Luckily there are loads of people who see through her bullshit.

      Natasha, welcome to the News with Nipples.

  3. Phew. Not only did you read Mia Freedman for me, you’ve also vented what I would have wanted to vent. So glad you saved me from that – It would have done my head in and made me very angry. you rock.

  4. This thing where you read stuff so we don’t have to? Very important public service, can’t thank you enough. 🙂

  5. As someone born and raised in the Blue Mountains I couldn’t get passed the Caitlin Moran quote about burning things down. For Freedman to write a non-apology but not take the quote down makes me think that she really is just a nasty, self interested person. It’s heartbreaking because I try to think the best of other women online. I think that ultimately Freedman and I are playing the same game on the same team, but if these are her tactics I want her on the bench.

    • I’m not sure if she is on our team. She probably thinks she is, but I don’t know how much thinking about her ideas she actually does. She spends an awful lot of time telling women what to do, what not to do, calling them names, shaming them for doing things she wouldn’t do… The things she writes about other women, the words and insults she uses, reveals a lot about how she sees other women.

  6. I just had to go to that one tweet of hers and comment. If she (Kim) likes her body and wishes to show it off, is that a reason down her? Really get a life!

  7. You might also wish to see her piece on Farrah Abrahams, one of the girls from Teen Mom who did a porn video http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/mia-yesterday-i-watched-a-stranger-have-sex-it-made-me-sad-nsfw/

  8. Reblogged this on From A Whisper To A Roar and commented:
    My rage at Freedman’s (last) example of anti-feminism is in the extreme. News With Nipples expresses it more eloquently…

  9. “because Kardashian has posted a sexy photo AND a photo of her baby”
    This makes me think of Blue Milk’s “Glamorous While Breastfeeding” post. I imagine Mia would have a conniption!

  10. I did not read all the Mamamia article it hurt my brain too much. No matter what Freedman has written be it about women or dogs I find her a ignorant on her topics she chooses to write about.

    Your post was spot on.

    • Thanks Clare. The way Freedman writes about victim-blaming shows that she doesn’t actually understand it, but is aware that people say she’s doing it. I am 100 per cent certain that she thinks victim-blaming is actually saying “she deserved it”.

      Welcome to the News with Nipples.

  11. As a mum who rarely feels particularly sexy, I hate this idea that Mia and the beige brigade have that mothers and sexy can’t coexist. I didn’t stop being a woman with my own wants and desires just because I pushed a baby out of my vagina. Hell if I looked like Kim does then I would walk around half naked too!
    Mia’s thought that she loses her dignity because she posted a photo of herself in her swimmers also leads into the thinking that a woman who doesn’t dress in a way that people deem appropriate, doesn’t deserve the same level of respect. I wrote about her article (I’m loathe to call Mia’s tripe an article though) and focused on body acceptance, that we only have responsibility for the way we dress.

  12. Notepad and Lipstick

    Totally agree with you and this piece! I actually wrote a comment on Mamamia’s facebook page in response to Mia’s article. I thought what Mia said was total crap and almost embarrassing! Also contradictory considering the positive body image campaign she started…pfft!

  13. Look I know what you’re saying, but a lot of this slut shaming stuff in this context is like saying women don’t have agency – like saying we have to go along with the patriarchal view that women are primarily sex objects, it’s the only way we can make a living, KK is just doing her work, making money the way she does, etc.

    That’s BS. If KK were someone who really didn’t have options, it’d be different. But she’s not. She’s a really rich woman who makes a lot of money by presenting herself as a sex object in ways that are approved by patriarchy. She has agency, she doesn’t have to do that. Being rich and famous isn’t the be all and end all of life. A lot of feminists on this blog appear to have been sucked in to thinking that ‘it’s ok to do anything as long as you make money from it’ is equivalent to feminism.

    What about what constitutes a good life? I don’t mean puritanical goody goody good, but how should we live, as women? Would you all actually like to live like KK? And if not, why not?

    Easy to condemn MF (and I’m not a supporter nor normally a reader of MF) but much more difficult to think through the moral issues.

    • Hi Val, welcome to the News with Nipples.

      What makes you think that “A lot of feminists on this blog appear to have been sucked in to thinking that ‘it’s ok to do anything as long as you make money from it’ is equivalent to feminism”? I don’t believe I’ve ever said that, nor have the people who comment here.

      As for what makes a good life, isn’t that a subjective answer? The things that I think make a good life aren’t necessarily the same things that you would list, but that doesn’t make either of us right or wrong, or more or less moral.

  14. Also I love what blue milk does, and I looked at all those breastfeeding while glamorous images, and if KK had been photographed while breastfeeding and wearing those bathers, it would have been a whole different bag.

    Also btw just to point out the obvious, some people seem to think she took the shot in the bathers herself, which she obviously didn’t – she might have been taking a selfie, but that’s not the photo on MF’s post. Actually a selfie in the bathers would be different too.

    Either of those would have been about her (and her baby in the first case) whereas the one posted was about (or at least for) the male gaze. That’s the thing about the breastfeeding while glamorous shots – they actually present a challenge to the male gaze as the sole arbiter of women’s worth.

    • You’re right, it is about the male gaze, which is so much a part of our culture and popular culture. You just have to look at movie posters and print advertising to see that at almost every opportunity, women are photographed so you can check out boobs and butt at the same time. There was an ad on a bus shelter a few months ago, and the woman was handing the viewer some tissues, but she was turning back to the viewer so that you could see boob and butt. It was an ad for tissues, for fuck’s sake. (There was nothing else in the ad to suggest it was a “clean up your jizz after looking at my body” moment.)

      I find this really interesting and it’s on my list of things to look into because it’s an area I don’t know enough about.

  15. Thanks Kim and re your reply to my previous comment, it was an exaggeration for me to say “a lot of feminists on this blog … etc” – it was really only in reference to the comments by yourself and Tegan on the theme of Kim Kardashian having made millions so she can’t be stupid. Well I don’t think she’s stupid either, she’s kind of smart in a way, but I wouldn’t want to live like her.

    You could say that KK and Miley Cyrus are all sort of smart in working the capitalist-patriarchy nexus to make lots of money for themselves, but I feel that that is just the other side of the coin that many women will have their lives damaged or destroyed by the patriarchal- capitalism nexus, don’t you think?

    These are hard questions. I sometimes think about women like Marilyn Monroe (who was exploited and tragic) or Mae West ( who always seems really smart), but I don’t think KK and Miley Cyrus are like either – they don’t seem to be vulnerable like Marilyn but they don’t seem to have a sense of humour or irony, like Mae West, either.

    In relation to the moral question about what is a good life, of course it’s a question we all decide individually, but I guess what I’m trying to say, apart from asking would you actually want to live like Kim Kardashian, is that disagreeing with Mia doesn’t mean you have to like or agree with what Kim Kardashian does either.

    • This is interesting. I think we have to be careful about thinking that we “know” what celebrities are like. We don’t know them, we know the image they present to us. From what I’ve read about Monroe, she was very smart but played the ditzy blonde because that helped her career. I think Miley Cyrus is having a great time (cultural appropriation issues aside) and is laughing her arse off at everyone tut-tutting over her.

      You’re right though, that disagreeing with Freedman doesn’t mean you have to automatically agree with Kardashian. But I’m not interested in agreeing or disagreeing with how other people choose to live their lives. That’s their business and certainly none of mine.

  16. Now I’m really intrigued with all this. I was just thinking well of course it’s great for us to be proud of our bodies and sexuality, sexual attraction is all part of that – and then I thought but this (KK photo etc) isn’t about sexuality, it’s about voyeurism. Hardly anyone talks about voyeurism, but that’s what a lot of this male gaze stuff is – it’s about being able to perve off on another person without having to give anything of yourself, or make yourself vulnerable in any way. So why don’t people talk about voyeurs more? It’s the same kind of question as why don’t they talk about rapists isn’t it? Except that women like Kim Kardashian know that they are marketing themselves to voyeurs, don’t they – at least in some sense? So it’s a bit different.

    My head is spinning I must admit.

  17. You know this whole thing about it’s people’s own business how they live their lives etc also fits rather too neatly with patriarchal capitalism’s idea of the individual who makes free choices in a free market.

    We are inherently social beings, we are influenced by and influence others – and some of these others are trying to influence us in certain ways because they will gain wealth and power from doing so.

    The thing that I sympathise with about Mia Freeman is that she is worried about the world in which her daughter is growing up – which she has every right to be, no matter how poorly she may express her concerns. I have three daughters – now all grown up – and I would hate it if they had grown up to live their lives the way Kim Kardashian does hers.

    In my view KK is allowing herself to be used by patriarchal capitalism to promote a model of women that suits the purposes of patriarchal capitalism – even if she is getting something in return.

    Call me a judgemental old woman if you like but I think this is one of those areas where people sometimes change their attitudes when they have children because they realise that the world is more complex than the notion of ‘individuals who are free to make choices’ allows

    • Oh wow, that is incredibly condescending.

      I think we are done here.

      • Can we really compare old school stars with those of today?
        It’s akin to comparing silent screen stars to Rom-com ones- it just doesn’t work.

        I’m really, really, really bloody tired of being told that, because I don’t have kids, I just don’t understand.

        • It’s an insult instead of an argument.

          It strikes me as the last resort for someone who knows their argument is weak, particularly as you could equally argue that Freedman is “allowing herself to be used by patriarchal capitalism to promote a model of women that suits the purposes of patriarchal capitalism” when she tells women that rape prevention is their responsibility and that there are good women (aka, those who are like Freedman) and bad women (those like Kardashian).

          I think Val just wanted to make a moral judgement about Kardashian being the wrong kind of woman.

  18. It’s not just about being a mother or a parent – it’s that when you are responsible for looking after a child you can – not always do – become more aware about how the social world shapes people.

    I think having a child can – again doesn’t necessarily – make you understand the limitations of patriarchal capitalist notions of self and identity. However I also think you can do that by exercise of imagination and intelligence. The reason that some young women don’t do that I think may be that they have unconsciously accepted patriarchal capitalism’s version of the maternal woman as a lesser and subordinate being.

    • It’s a terrible assumption that as I’m not a mother I am not responsible for children, and thus cannot be aware.

      I volunteer as a mentor kids, most of whom are are disadvantaged, some of whom would be categorised as at risk. I also grew up in the era of Freedman editing the magazines which helped contribute to my eating disorder. Finally, I’m studying Human Rights, with a focus on women’s rights. I’m pretty damn aware of what impacts our society, despite not having my own kids.

      The judgment which Freedman appears to pass on women and girls does not help us. It harms us. She talks proudly about how she axed the Dolly Modelling competition, but that was simply one aspect of the magazines which harmed young girls. As a nerdy, smart, red haired, freckled, glasses wearing not terribly slender girl, there was nothing good in those magazines for me.

      Have you read Freedman’s articles on having “The Gay Talk” with her children? You know, that awkward talk about why people love different people? Or the one where she made sure her daughter – her small daughter – knew that LEGGINGS WERE NOT PANTS? Or, perhaps still my favourite, the one over children’s names? Whereby someone is automatically qualified based on what name they were given as a child? Lucky my mother picked Katherine, eh? Otherwise who knows where little Tribeca-Tiffany would have ended up….

      I don’t know Freedman, other than through what she writes. I don’t judge Freedman, she could be the most amazingly awesome person ever. I am positive that her friends and family love her – she certainly has a huge band of followers who enjoy her articles. I judge her writing. And IMO, what she writes is not friendly or helpful.

      But you’re right, I don’t have kids, so maybe I just don’t get why that tripe is so important.

    • Val, sorry, what? The patriarchy holds motherhood up as the gold standard of womanhood.

      As for your point about some young women not thinking about this stuff, it’s because their priorities are different to those of a woman with adult children, as they should be. Doesn’t make anyone wrong. Also, they are growing up in a different world to the one you grew up in and they don’t look at that world and tut-tut like older people do. Like older people have always done.

      Finally, I get the impression that you think I am a young woman. Hahahahahahahaha. That’s pretty funny. I’d be careful about making assumptions about people you’ve never met, because you know what they say about it making you look like an arse.

  19. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I DO judge Freedman. I should probably work on that.

    • The “wrong names” article was an excellent example of Freedman demonstrating just how clueless she really is, and how little she thinks about her attitudes. There was no recognition that it was people like her who were making life harder for kids with the “wrong names”.

  20. Krjourno you probably cross posted with me but I agree with you – it’s not about having kids but the experience of looking after kids or just being empathetic and aware. So there’s no way I would say because you don’t have kids you can’t have opinions on this stuff. What you do sounds great.

    Kim you are right I did assume you are young so I did make an arse of myself! Weird thing is I partly assumed it because you are doing a PhD and I’m 65 and still doing my PhD! I also agree that Mia Freedman was an agent of patriarchy particularly in her former role as a magazine editor – be glamorous! Buy stuff! – now it seems maybe she’s rethinking but it’s still very ambivalent and I think also classist in many ways. Anyway I don’t really know that much about her so won’t judge any more. I was just trying to say, don’t be in such a hurry to judge her that you end up endorsing what Kim Kardashian does. I don’t know really know much about her either, but isn’t she pretty much about be glamorous! Buy stuff! too?

    Also the motherhood and patriarchy thing, I think you should reconsider that remark – traditional patriarch held motherhood as the highest thing a woman could do because it was bearing the children of men. Women were still seen as inherently inferior and subordinate and role of a mother was to sacrifice herself. In capitalist patriarchy such as we live in now, people’s worth like everything else, is valued in monetary terms, through their ability to participate in the market. If you look at the evidence women overall are seen as having less value than men – ie get paid less for the same work – but insofar as motherhood takes women out of market, they are seen to have less value. Relatively speaking, women with kids get even less pay and promotion.

    Btw just in case anyone gets confused, I am not endorsing the valuing of people in monetary terms – I totally reject that whole system of values – but capitalist patriarchy is still a pretty dominant ideology in the country in which we live, even though there’s resistance.

    Guess it’s time to leave this now but I think we probably agree about a lot of things as well as disagree about some. It’s kind of saddened me lately to see and be involved in some pretty bitter disputes between feminists when we should be working together

    Anyone is welcome to visit my blog fairgreenplanet.blogspot.com and see what my values and ideas are and leave comments if you feel like it

    • Val, what you call bitter dispute, I call healthy discussion of different viewpoints. Feminists don’t need to all agree with each other. After all, I don’t agree with Freedman and she calls herself a feminist, so I’m not going to keep my mouth shut when she body-shames another woman and makes nasty comments about sex workers. I’m also not going to keep quiet when you make moral judgements about another woman: “I was just trying to say, don’t be in such a hurry to judge her that you end up endorsing what Kim Kardashian does”.

      Because if we’re all going to dutifully line up behind one view, one spokeswoman, who is it going to be? Mia Freedman? Caitlin Moran? Helen Razer? Eva Cox? Anne Summers? Beyonce? You? Me? Plenty of room for all of us.

  21. I think there is an interesting level of dissonance between the fact that the patriarchy holds up motherhood as the gold standard of womanhood and simultaneously does not VALUE it.

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