Matter of Jonas vs. Turner: Bravo, Hollywood’s lightning-fast romance. Pop singer Joe Jonas and actress Sophie Turner are getting divorced after four years of marriage. The details of the separation are sketchy, and I don’t really want to speculate on the unpleasant practicalities of divorcing in the media while raising two young children, but Jonas has reportedly hired Tiger Woods as his divorce lawyer, and Turner is already being accused of being a bad mother (perhaps on purpose?).
The Internet Is Taking Sides in the Matter of Jonas vs. Turner—And, for Once, It’s Right
Sources close to the couple say Jonas has been exhaustingly trying to salvage the marriage, that filing for divorce is his last resort, and, tellingly, that Turner likes to party, whereas Jonas likes to stay at home. “They have very different lifestyles,” a source told TMZ. It’s an interesting strategy, to lightly tinker on keys of absent motherhood, broadly painting Turner’s alleged over-partying as a hindrance to fully serving the domestic needs of her family. From an outsider’s point of view, Team Jonas is throwing a careless-mother narrative at proceedings and seeing if it sticks, sowing seeds of his wife being a less-than-gold-star parent. Nobody is saying out loud she’s subpar; it’s just heavily, heavily insinuated that her liking to go out clashes with his homebody status. It’s very read between the lines, please, she is not mothering at an acceptable standard.
Narratives About it
This isn’t a new narrative—a woman supposedly underperforming as a mother—and speaks to centuries-old societal expectations on women to place nurture, for their men and their children, in front of their own needs. Having given birth, there’s an expectation for women to fully surrender all former parts of themselves for motherhood, to emerge postnatal as mothers (TM), forfeiting their desires and autonomy.
What will happen if women don’t fulfill our rules for mothers? God forbid a woman isn’t a domestic goddess. God forbid a woman isn’t balled and chained to her partner and offspring. God forbid she isn’t at home right this minute. Whatever next? Women working? Women voting? Women thinking for themselves!? I’m being deliberately facetious because the misogyny here is so ridiculously stark. All these motherly expectations serve only to keep women repressed. A barrage of judgment against their decisions keeps them in narrowly confined roles—Madonna or whore; party girl or good mother. There’s a feeling of comply or be socially shunned, be femininely docile or be called a witch.
Fear not, however: The internet has done me proud this week, seeing the misogynistic undertones of Jonas’s reported allegations a mile out. I’m often bemoaning the internet’s reactionary panic modes, unnecessarily vicious pile-ons, fact-free judgment, conclusion jumping. But today I’m scrolling through tweets and we’re having absolutely none of it. I guess I’m here to say congratulations to the internet? After years of hysteria, we’re finally seeing the overarching narrative, we’re finally seeing sense. We have collectively smelled the rat of insidious woman-shaming and batted it away.
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It does feel genuinely refreshing that we’re not falling for a tired trope of the woman being at fault when things go awry—when a relationship sours, when men stray, when the baby needs feeding in public, when a toddler has a tantrum. Societally, women get blamed and shamed for so much. You just have to light a little tinder—to murmur a woman’s underperforming womanhood—and watch it catch. It’s nice to know that this time, we’re not fanning the flames.
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