Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson

When a well mannered mother recently saw the term “MILF” in a mainstream, albeit regional, publication, she nearly choked on her cup of morning tea. Excuse me? Did I just read “MILF” on the printed page? On the page of a magazine for which I actually paid money? 

The uninitiated can check MILF in the Urban Dictionary here, and we can move on to agree that the term is a vulgar acronym for a crass sentiment, and as usage spreads, this mother, at least, must protest.

To some, becoming a mother means changing from sexually desirable “hot” woman to... well, somebody’s “mom.” Possibly even one who wears the dreaded mom jeans: "I'm not a woman anymore, I'm a mom!" Yes, nobody checks you out when you’re driving a minivan.

But there have always been exceptions. Mrs. Robinson of The Graduate might be the original sexy, desirable older woman, who also happened to be someone's mother. Saucy seductress she might have been but she was not labeled with such a graphic acronym. She remained Mrs. Robinson.

Now, we live in the age of hot, sexy mothers: Heidi Klum, Angelina Jolie, and Desperate Housewives. While most mothers might be happy to know that being a mother and being attractive are not considered mutually exclusive, no woman wants to be defined only by her desirability. Or in such a crass way.

Really, Boston Magazine, couldn’t you do better?  We suspect the term was used as shorthand for the well heeled, well groomed woman, of a certain age, frequently seen roving around high end shopping malls. But for the future, may we suggest the slightly less vulgar term, yummy mummy? The term did originate in Britian, so it must be more tasteful and refined. We suspect that Mrs. Robinson might approve.


Alex Dumortier said...

I'm not a mother, but I find the term pretty humorous and I think it's possible to take it in a lighthearted manner. I think it's just a coarse term for an attractive, older woman (technically, I suppose she needs to be a mother, but I don't think those who utter the term are too much concerned about that technicality).

I'm not it sure it reduces anyone to anything, either; I think it's just a judgment on a certain aspect of their person. In the same way, when you say of a beautiful woman that she is beautiful, you're not excluding that she has other positive attributes.

Oh, and Anne Bancroft was a total MILF.

EHP said...

To be honest, doesn't really bother me in conversation or even online. Just in print form -too coarse.

And yes, Anne Bancroft was fabulous and about 35 when the movie was made, despite the fact that she played an "older" lady.

EBB said...

Cougar works. Of course some of us are still deemed "Cougar-in-training" but have high hopes for the not as distant as it used to be future...

Anonymous said...

oh i hate them all... cougar milf. yuck. be called a "mrs. robinson" wow i'd feel hot. that pick still gives me chills. may anne bancroft rest in peace.

Mommy Lite Online said...

I happily stumbled upon your blog and just had to join in this conversation! I am the author of the upcoming book "Got Milf? The Modern Mom's Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great and Rocking a Minivan" which will be out on April 5th.

I believe we need to embrace the term MILF! Although it's origins may be crass, today the term has morphed, evolved and is even embraced by popular culture! To me, being called a Cougar is far more offensive. It implies you prowl for conquests. A Milf is pursued and adored. (and for the record, Anne Bancroft was a Milf, but her character Mrs. Robinson...well...she was a cougar.)

Anyway, I hope you'll join my Milf revolution because Milfs rule! Seriously, if there weren't any Milfs, we'd all be only children.

EHP said...

MommyLite: When I was writing this, I did actually wonder if any one out there was planning to try and subvert the term by embracing it... and now I know!

And yes, you are right that Mrs. Robinson was really a "cougar" - even if no one called her anything close to that. Ooops. We're definitely not advocating for mothers "on the prowl."

Best of luck with your book!

Amy said...

Me, I can't quite embrace MILF. Because it is, after all, an acronym -- and one I don't care to explain to my children. But then again, I came to motherhood late in the game, at an age when women tend toward invisibility anyway. Frankly, I'm rather enjoying it: No time to shave my legs? No worries - no one's looking! :)

casapinka said...

I just picked up my Alumnae Quarterly and saw you listed in our year's news! I don't like the term MILF, especially in Boston Magazine, yet I was berating myself that I wasn't the one to come up with "Go the F**K to Sleep*, so I guess we each have our own areas of offense. My 4 year old was dared by his sister to say Fu**in' A in the middle of our family get-together in Ireland earlier this month, to my absolute horror. I don't think they are as mannered as they could be, yet I'm working on them. Maybe if they'd the fu*K to school already and not have a school with no electricity due to the Un-MILFish Irene, we'd all be better mannered!

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