There are MILF’s among us…

A suburban MILF

A suburban MILF

As a word of caution, this post will inevitably contain the f-bomb.  Prepare accordingly.

Both in the blogosphere and in my suburban neighborhood, I have been hearing this word (if you want to call it that) fairly often.  For the uninitiated, MILF is an acronym created by a young man in the movie American Pie to delineate “moms I’d like to fuck.”  Crude, yes, but we are talking about teenage boys.  MILF seems to me to be a term used primarily in relation to 40’s-ish moms who are deemed attractive to young men.  It’s one of those words (I will use the term “word” from now on, knowing that it is in fact an acronym) that seems to pervade the culture in a slow and steady way, until it becomes a moniker that we can all understand.  Even though my friend Barbara had to look it up.  Which made me like her even more.

In the blogosphere, there has been a huge debate going on mostly led by Danielle Smith of extraordinarymommy.com.  She finds the term offensive, believing that it is demeaning to women in that we may feel the need to make ourselves look hot for the opposite sex.  She goes on to say that being called a MILF is not a compliment and never was, however, goes to great pains in her radio interview on “Q” to say that when she goes out with friends, young men hit on her and the silly little fools don’t realize that she is older than she appears.  She also says the term feeds into a misogynistic society’s desire to pigeon-hole women into an ideal of pornographic object.  Her last point is that the word itself is shocking, so as to align with our current culture of “reality” programming: fast, loose and sell-worthy.  While I agree with her assertion here, let’s not kid ourselves.  Ms. Smith on her site is selling her book and her brand, and she righteously says she is not going to use profanity.  She does say, “oh my heavens” though.

All this debate about MILF’s started when Ms. Smith received a press release about a book called “The MILF Diet:  Let the Power of Whole Foods Transform your Body, Mind and Spirit,” by Jessica Porter.  I know, at first read this title seems at cross purposes:  How does eating in a clean way make you a dirty and naughtly girl?  But apparently, Ms. Porter has some very clear ideas on MILFdom.  A true MILF is confident, sexy and radiates natural feminity, she says.  Really?  Go back to the American Pie clip and you will see the original MILF in a self -aggrandizing photo looking anything but natural.  Clearly, it’s a ploy to sell a book.  Both of these women have persuasive bones of contention, but both have a financial interest in their defending their side of the argument.  I, however, do not.

My friend Taryn has, in her authentic and exuberant way, put together a running team for an upcoming event.  The name of the group?  “The Vantucky MILF’s.”  Obviously not landing on Ms. Smith’s side of the argument, she sees the term as empowering and a great way to rally the troops.  Having not officially signed up for the team yet, I can say that I think that this type of mommy-promotion is great.  When in years past, can you remember a mom being called outwardly sexy?  There was a latent Carol Brady sexuality some might say, but it has truly come to fruition in the term MILF.  This generation is not content to sit on the sidelines while younger women pass them by.  So what?  I am of the camp that if it makes you feel good and it’s not hurting anyone, then go ahead and own it.  If feeling attractive to the opposite sex is not something you are interested in, then let it go.  Most women I have unscientifically polled would take it as a compliment, but not all.  So if you don’t, fine.  But really, can’t it just be a little bit fun?

But here’s the neuroscience facts, ladies.  We are complex sexual beings.  In Louann Brizendine M.D.’s compelling book, “The Female Brain,” she states that basically, we need to relax.  Unlike men, it takes a lot of “neurochemical stars to align” to feel comfortable in the bodies we inhabit. A certain amount of letting go, thanks to that lovely little structure called the amygdala, is required to get there.  So, if seeing yourself as a MILF and proclaiming it helps you along, what’s the harm?  You may be more inclined to eat whole foods, go for a run, bake a pie or even start a business to feel desirable and alluring.   Whatever works.  Of course, like many of you, I do not look forward to the day when, perhaps my daughter might ask me what a MILF is.  (She recently asked me what a prostitute was.  Eesh.)  But I am sure on my feet and in my words, so I know the answer will come.  Popular culture dictates that all things provocative and in-your-face are of the moment.    However, I am also confident that, with our help, the generation we are raising knows the difference between “reality-tv” and well,  reality.  We have to keep making that distinction for them.  It’s a new and challenging aspect of being a parent in our time.

In the meantime, I enjoy seeing how the word makes it’s way through our culture.  I am not in control of it, and am powerless to rail against it even if I was so inclined.

What about you?

Photo courtesy of Mt. Hood Mama Iphoneography

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11 comments on “There are MILF’s among us…

  1. Although amusing as I am not a prude, I still suspect MILF is a mere blip on the cultural radar screen that will fade back underneath the massive shadow of “cool” the same as “boss”, “rad” and “phat” did in the past. The death rattle just prior to its passing will sound like a mild case of sleep apnea followed by shallow snoring and any popular recordings of the term looked at in the future will seem as quaint as break dancing and pet rocks..

  2. Barbara says:

    Again, another great post, Jeanne! I have to say that part of me is uncomfortable with the term, but maybe it is because I am not much of a cusser (did I spell that right?). I like the idea of feeling fit and sexy and healthy, but not for the younger male generation or really any of the male population at all, except for my husband — now him, well, I hope he always finds me sexy! I can see both sides of the word, but now that I know what it means I need to think about it more. Ignorance is really bliss–haha 🙂

    • Jeanne says:

      Of course you are right, hopefully no one is pursuing the ideal of MILFdom. Pursuing “fit,sexy and healthy” like you said is a great way to go. Thanks for reading even through the cusses…

  3. Jeanne~ I thought I would stop by to join your conversation about the word MILF, my post and subsequent radio interview on Q with Jessica Porter. Oh my heavens…. I do figure it would be fun to clarify a few things for you beginning with my apparent ‘financial interest in defending my side of the story’.

    Like you, I wrote about something about which I have an opinion. Since you quite clearly have spent very little time on my site, until very recently – it appears – you were unaware I existed in this space and we have never met, you are unfamiliar with how I make money. I can assure you, writing a post like this has less than zero monetary potential for me.

    I wrote the post back in November, when I and a number of other bloggers received the pitch. It received a series of comments, Jessica responded and I posted her reply in its entirety. However, until 2 weeks ago when I was contacted by a newspaper reporter in Canada and Q, the ‘debate I’m leading’ as you call it, had been all but dormant.

    Additionally, while I find the less-than-subtle personal jabs at me interesting, or maybe laughable, I think your point could well have been made otherwise.

    My original argument (keep in mind the title of my first post) was against using the word MILF in MARKETING. It had nothing to do with me being in bars and getting hit on – or – as I can only imagine, you misspoke, ‘silly little fools don’t realize that she is younger than she appears’… So I apparently feel sorry for the massive amounts of young men hitting on me who think I’m actually OLDER than I AM? Please.

    I feel compelled to reiterate as it seems you have misunderstood my position (though I can’t tell if that is simply because you were too caught up in mocking me)… I think the idea of a woman feeling comfortable in her own skin, embracing her sexuality and loving to feel attractive is a wonderful thing. Jessica and I agree on this. We have, in fact, been in contact a few times.

    I simply don’t find MILF to be a respectful term. It isn’t said simply when a man finds a woman attractive. It insinuates that it is an anomaly that a woman can be both a mother and still be sexy/worthy. I just don’t ASPIRE to be a MILF, I don’t want my daughter to aspire to be a MILF and I don’t want to explain the term to her based on a book sitting on my shelf.

    All that being said, Jessica and I had a very respectful conversation about it, and though your ‘unscientific’ poll leads you to believe many women would find the term to be a compliment, not only did I find otherwise personally, my twitter stream before, during and after the Q show indicated the same.

    Jeanne – I certainly have no qualms about a differing opinion, and am always happy to engage in conversation, but I do find your snarkiness (and misinformation) about me personally to be unfortunate.

    • Jeanne says:

      Danielle,
      I am nothing less than thrilled that you have responded to my post. You are quite right that I misspoke about the older/younger piece and have gone back and corrected it. Thank you for letting me know. My team of editors didn’t catch that one:)

      Yes, we do both have opinions on the topic but I fail to see your interpretation of “personal jabs.” When I wrote this piece, I clearly linked back to your site, Jessica’s site and the Q interview so that readers may make their own opinions. Yes, your original point was on marketing when discussing the term MILF but clearly it evolved to other areas.

      And no, I did not fully explore your website. I will now, however, because I see you are quite smart and I am keen to read more of your thoughts. In how quickly your responded, I doubt also that you explored my posts. If you had done so, you would see that this is fairly reflective of how I write and how I see the world.

      In rushing to defend yourself, I fear you may have missed the original intent. It was not to “mock” you. In fact, I gave you credit for being persuasive. My intent is to present ideas in a fun and approachable manner that allows readers to feel that even if we are on different sides, there are things we can agree on. I have a daughter, too and I have no doubt you love yours as fiercely as I love mine. And that we want the best for them. Always.

      Furthermore, I completely agree with you that “it insinuates that it is an anomaly that a woman can be both a mother and still be sexy/worthy.” I think those who find MILF to be a compliment would assert this line of thinking as well. In many ways, we are saying the same thing.

      I am glad you and Jessica have been in contact. You both seemed content to agree to disagree when you were on “Q.” I found it a lively and engaging chat. I want to thank you for opening the discussion. I admit I hadn’t thought about it the way you had.

      You are obviously someone who is determined, successful and from your photos, lovely too. I am very unscientific when it comes to polls and hopelessly lost in most things digital, electronic and website-related. I stand corrected that you have nothing to gain financially, but do maintain that you have a brand to protect. But I do have an opinion, and followers and a community. Just like you. Only no twitter feed…

      Respectfully,
      Jeanne

  4. Barb says:

    For me it’s like cougar or bitch or any other term used to classify women by age or perceived attribute…we can negate the word’s connotation by taking it over and using it in our own way.

  5. michelle gd says:

    such a fantastic conversation!
    i am unsure how i feel about this word. i can appreciate certain aspects of it…but – at the end of the day – i mostly find it yet another means of objectifying women while simultaneously undervaluing the inherent beauty of aging women in general.
    plus…where are the DILFs?!

    • Jeanne says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Michelle. I think most of us have mixed emotions. As an aging woman, I would like to be appreciated for my inherent beauty, too! I think those who embrace the term MILF think of it as a way to attribute sexiness to a large group of women who have previously been considered not unsexy but sexLESS. DILF! I love it! Way to change it up!

  6. 2/9/2013 ~ Some sectors in this society are so literate that they are more hip to acronyms. I stumbled upon the MILF website years ago. I assume it is still around. I am a man so I do not necessarily take offernse to the MILF term…. as long as it is not about My Mom! (though rumor has it that my Mom and Dad actually had sex!).

    I can understand the negative sexism involved here. It is true that older women naturally tend to be more mature and experienced that young ones. + and – to many matters.

    Peter S. Lopez AKA @Peta_de_Aztlan

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