The State of the Union

January 24, 2011 by Katy Brown
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When President Obama tossed the first pitch at a baseball game this past summer, critics didn’t throw stones at his slider, but at his choice of clothes. Obama’s relaxed-fit Levis were dubbed “mom jeans” by half the country, prompting websites such as Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia) to add the phrase to its database.

Editors define mom jeans as “a perceived fit of women’s jeans considered very unflattering, consisting of a high waist (a few inches above the belly button), which accentuates a flat curvature of the buttocks, as well as generous cuts in the stomach and leg.”

During an interview a short time later, the President agreed that he “looked a little frumpy”, but confessed that he chose loose fitting denim because those types of jeans were comfortable.

With all due respect to America and the Commander in Chief, I have to ask: Why aren’t they called “dad jeans?”  After all, the First Lady wasn’t wearing them.

Not too long ago, a man in the grocery store remarked that my hairstyle made me look like Nancy Pelosi.  I wasn’t sure if this man was a Democrat or a Republican, but I was sure that he was a nut. Described as “mom hair” or “helmet head”, the sculpture is cut shorter in the back and left longer in the front. Ironically, the coif’s formal title is “The Bob”, which begs me to ask why a man’s nickname is used to describe a woman’s “low maintenance hairstyle”.  Shouldn’t The Bob be considered “dad hair”?

Finally, we come to a woman’s carryall, or “mom purse”.  In 2002 B.C. (Before Children), I admit that I carried an elegant handbag containing four specific things: a wallet (holding my driver’s license, bankcards, and few dollar bills), a mirrored compact, lipstick, and a pen. Once I became a mother, I adopted my daughter’s fabric diaper bag that featured 11 whopping pockets for things such as hand sanitizer, tissues, pacifiers, wipes, and a changing pad. When she turned four, I realized that I was still using the same bag to hold receipts and notepads, a much larger cosmetic case, a coloring book, broken Crayons, a can of Lysol (yes, a full-sized can), an iPhone, and snack bags of food.

But no one picks on the “man purse”, dubbed by as “a carrying case for men, yet similar to a large purse for women. Very, very European.”

Stylists around the world claim that it’s “metro” for men to tote a lot of stuff around. A man purse suggests importance and self-confidence; a product of visual distinction. But a mom purse? Hideous; a product of visual disgrace.

Without a doubt, mothers everywhere are in the midst of a public relations crisis. From the hair on our head and the clothes on our back, to the bags on our shoulders and under our eyes, the maternal image is under attack.  We most assuredly have a major battle on our hands… in addition to something sticky.


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4 Responses to “The State of the Union”

  1. Kara MooreNo Gravatar says:

    I love this Saturday Night Live sketch about Mom Jeans.

  2. AnnNo Gravatar says:

    I think I’ll take the Mom jeans over those icky low rider things that seem to be the only alternative and are far from appropriate for a woman of “my age” i.e. past 27

    • Katy BrownNo Gravatar says:

      My 7 and 4 year old daughters wear ‘mom jeans’, too. Finding appropriate clothes for little girls has become a real challenge.

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