Why “Bad Moms” is not a Feminist Film

In this new comedy from the grateful husbands and devoted fathers who wrote “The Hangover”, Amy [Mila Kunis] has a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn [Christina Applegate] and her clique of devoted perfect moms” (STX Entertainment).

“Bad Moms” is not a good film. It’s lazy, and as Matt Brunson of “Creative Loafing” simply puts it: “our dear mothers deserve better”. What’s worse than the film, though, is that it’s selling itself as a gift to feminism. In one of the previews shown in theaters, Mila Kunis makes an introduction for the trailer, praising its female cast. However, the movie is practically anti-feminist. I won’t go as far as saying that “Bad Moms” is taking women a step backwards, but it’s definitely not pushing them in the right direction. So, for all the following reasons, I beg of you: do not call “Bad Moms” a feminist movie!

The main character undermines the capabilities of real world mothers.

I know a lot of mothers who raise their children and work full time. But, for some reason our dear, sweet Amy of “Bad Moms” can’t even raise her kids and work part time – which doesn’t really make anyone bad-moms-spaghettifeel sympathetic for her. Also, working part time doesn’t mean you need to make bad decisions, like eating spaghetti while driving. We all know that women can do both – it’s no longer the 1950s and it’s easily conceivable that mothers work full time. So, don’t tell us to regard this woman who just can’t do both as an ideal standard.

The main conflict is cattiness – a juvenile stereotype of women.

There is a stigma around women: that they’re “fake” and “bitchy”. Except, I haven’t really heard this
stigma since high school – until “Bad Moms”, that is. Christina Applegate’s “perfect mom” is fake; one minute saying of Amy, “wow, such a hard worker,” and then the next moment deciding she must be destroyed. Essentially, this movie is taking a group of moms, and making them act like high school girls. There are cliques – the “popular chicks” (Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Annie Mumolo) and the “losers” (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn). These cliques clash over the pettiest of things, like, (good lord!) somebody bringing store-bought doughnut holes to a bake sale. Are you kidding?

bad-moms-1 (1)

Really, it’s not a movie that appreciates moms, it’s making fun of moms. You can almost hear the guys in the theater thinking, oh, how cute! They’re having a bake sale! I bet the husbands are off doing the “real jobs”.

There’s an utter lack of women on the creative team.

News flash: having a film that almost exclusively stars women does not make the movie equally staffed; because everybody knows that the people on screen only play a small part in the making of a film. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore wrote and directed the movie, with the production crew as well being almost exclusively male. Don’t say you couldn’t find any women to work on the creative team, because that’s a load of bull. As an added feature to this article, here’s a small handful of top notch female comedy writers who could have improved the “Bad Moms” script:

  • Tina Fey (“Mean Girls”)
  • Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”)
  • Carrie Brownstein (“Portlandia”)
  • Kristen Wiig (“Bridesmaids”)
  • Mindy Kahling (“The Office”)
  • Liz Meriwether (“New Girl”)
  • Michelle Wolf (“Late Night with Seth Meyers”)
  • Becky Mann (“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”)

I just wanted to point out that when making a movie targeting female audiences, it’s helpful to have one or two ladies on your crew.

So gentlemen, next time you want to make a “feminist” film, try getting some women involved.

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7 thoughts on “Why “Bad Moms” is not a Feminist Film

  1. Preach! I’ve seen some favourable reviews of this but, honestly, the trailer made me roll my eyes so hard. I’m a mom who has been both stay at home AND working, made educational Pinterest activities AND plonked them in front of a TV watching movies (how else am I going to make them film buffs?), I’ve made my kids handmade superhero birthday cakes filled with swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache AND I’ve stacked store-bought donuts on top of each other, stuck candles in and called it a day. So this whole concept of splitting moms into two distinct camps and “allowing” one camp to be “naughty” is just…tiresome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So who gives a shit if it’s not a feminist film? You know I read an article by a feminist that American Psycho is a feminist film and it 100% most definitely isn’t. Even the writer of the book for American Psycho hates feminists. So basically you feminists will take a movie not at all feminist and make it feminist OR take a movie that was some how promoted as feminist and say it’s not feminist. The hell do feminists want? Oh I know, to whine about NOTHING. This is why I’m a woman against feminism.

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  2. I think I liked it because I appreciated it for it’s stupid jokes. It is what it is and I had a good time watching it. I never went in thinking I’d get a solid presentation of what motherhood is all about, and that’s fine. To me it was just another comedy. To each their own opinion of course and I thought your article was very interesting, great read.

    How’d you feel about sharing your work with a bigger audience? Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’d like me to expand on that. You can find my contact details on my blog. I’d love to hear from you.

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  3. I enjoyed the film – it made me laugh. It was pretty obvious that it was written by men but I found the subject matter refreshing. Whilst I agree it is not a feminist film per se I think it highlighted some useful feminist themes. I agree with your points about the production and writing team however, your statement that you know women who manage to work full time and manage motherhood seems to miss the point of the film. I imagine a lot of women can identify with Amy’s struggle of trying to perform both the mother role and worker role whilst shouldering the burden of domestic work within the home.

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  4. Thanks for this. I was thinking of seeing this tomorrow but now I don’t know anymore, you made it sound horrible. And I don’t want to waste my precious time in cinema for this kind of crap.

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