Taylor Glenn’s had it with subtly shit-stirring clickbait.
I recently came across a quiz reposted on Netmums called ‘40 Things That Make You A Supermum.’ I should have known better than to click on it, but in the same way you pull at a scab that isn’t ready, I went for it.
‘Supermum’ is one of my trigger words, and not because in my native Yank tongue it’s ‘Supermom’. That’s no better, although it sounds more like it should be a sitcom with a straight-talking character called Dorito. No, I hate it because it’s a lame and loaded expression that’s become so media-blessed I want to hit my own face with a bottle of hot sauce.
The quiz was as asinine as expected (#30: Never runs out of milk or washing-up liquid. Oh, what a cornerstone of raising a well-balanced human that female-regulated dairy and detergent supply is!). So naturally, it drove me to drink, and then it drove me to write this response while drinking. Thanks Metnums.
Where do I start with these quasi-comical, subtly shit-stirring clickbait delights? Is it with the stock photos, which inevitably fail to hit the mark? “Look! A Supermum is Caucasian and blonde and thin and large-breasted! I WANT TO BE HER! No wait, FUCK HER. Hey maybe she’s an ironic Supermum…?”
Maybe it’s the lack of awareness of its own hypocrisy: The biscuit brand Wahoo! surveyed 2,000 UK mums to put together a checklist of 40 things a ‘Supermum’ does… #33: Ensures their child eats ‘anything and everything’. Even biscuits? I think I lose points with the Supermum Council for giving biscuits, Wahoo.
Or is it that it completely reinforces the idea that 1. As a woman, mother or not, there’s a way of operating which we all agree is Perfection and 2. As a woman, you’re neither safe striving for Perfection (Other mums don’t like Supermums…) nor being too far from it (most mums who took the test scored an average of 28/40 – or 7/10. PS – thanks for that fraction reduction, dicksmacks. Supermums can do quick maths!).
In sum: if you take a Supermum quiz your score is YOU CAN’T WIN.
I’m as drawn to online quizzes as anyone – they’re fun, they kill time, and they’re almost completely devoid of those burdensome complete paragraphs other articles tend to have.
But at their cold, dark hearts, quizzes like this one are perpetuating a myth that doesn’t seem to ever die: women are at war with one another and their performance is being graded. It’s Battle Royale with perfect boobs so don’t try to opt out of the slaughter.
Maybe I sound a bit too outraged over a silly little quiz, eh? Well, when it hits me that there are approximately 0 out of 3bn dudes hovered over Netdads right now, quizzing whether they’ve kept the toilet roll supply topped up and whether their egg-poaching skills are up to scratch, I realise this isn’t just a storm in a sippy cup. These lighthearted mosquito-like quizzes are carrying disease with them whenever we click.
And the irony of that is we are in danger of passing on these split male v female expectations to yet another generation. Not convinced? Have a look at these two articles are making the social media rounds again, on raising boys v girls. If these were quizzes, then today I’ve learned my daughter is in fact a boy. At least she won’t end up taking Supermum quizzes.
Supermum quizzes can go fuck themselves – just so long as they don’t reproduce. If the world has too many humans, it certainly has too many articles pitting us against each other about the ones we’re trying to raise.
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Taylor is an American comedian, writer, and former psychotherapist based in London. She has a two-year-old and a dead basil plant.