‘Bad’ Moms Far Outnumber ‘Bad’ Dads on the Internet


The internet, or at least a large swath of it, doesn’t appear to be an entirely friendly space for moms, at least according to a whole smörgåsbord of data presented by current Buzzfeed and erstwhile Jezebel writer Anna North. After surveying a pretty comprehensive collection of headlines from over 200 Buzzfeed-affiliated sites — which range wild and free over major news, sports, politics, gossip, and fashion sites — from 2012 thus far into its late middle age, Buzzfeed’s special data collecting task force found that the top ten adjectives most likely to be paired with “mom” or “mother” were, in order, new, old, free, bad, best, full, happy, naked, good, and real. Most startling, however, was that, while the fourth-most deployed mom adjective was “bad” on the internets, it didn’t even crack the top ten adjectives paired with “dad” or “father” which, so glad you asked, were American, free, old, new, full, big, best, happy, greatest, and real.

“American,” North points out, most likely owes its genesis to the unfortunate popularity of American Dad. (Also, tips for looking good “naked” were way more prevalent in mom-related articles than dad-related articles.) The data miners further analyzed incidence of the following key adjectives: good, bad, lazy, and absent. Moms, as it happens, were overall way more likely to have their parenting scrutinized, and were described as “bad” a little less than six times as often as dads (they were also twice as likely to be described as “good”). All this internet mom-evaluation, North explains, shows that, while stay-at-home dads are becoming a less notable phenomenon, women in our culture are still judged way more often than men when it comes to parenting

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. While stay-at-home dads are getting more coverage lately, the phrase “daddy wars” has yet to enter the mainstream. And though the finding that older dads could increase their kids’ risk of autism recently caused a stir, it’s still moms (or women who hope to be moms) who find themselves at the center of debates on fertility, work-life balance, and childcare. Despite some changes, our analysis bears out what recent magazine covers have suggested: in our culture, motherhood is far more examined – and judged – than fatherhood.

Another important lesson all this data teaches us is that the internet, for anyone who was starting to worry, is still the best place to have one’s life choices baselessly criticized by strangers. Hooray for the great scourge of anonymous judgment!

Exclusive: Moms Nearly Six Times As Likely As Dads To Be Described As “Bad” On The Internet [Buzzfeed]

Image via Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock.

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