There’s a video making it’s way around Twitter right now. A woman with long, blonde beach waves sits in front of a sofa, a gleaming modern kitchen, and what appears to be a large wooden Buddha and launches into what can only be described as a horribly misplaced attempt at poetry:
“Dear President Vladimir Putin, I’m so sorry I was not your mother. If I was your mother you would have been so loved, held in the arms of joyous light.”
Excuse me while I gag.
Dear Mister President Vladimir Putin… pic.twitter.com/LbDFBHVWJf
— AnnaLynne McCord (@IAMannalynnemcc) February 24, 2022
IS SHE ACTUALLY BLAMING PUTIN’S MOTHER?!
I thought I’d seen it all but this takes some kind of cake. First, way to center an international crisis and an entire nation’s loss of sovereignty and security around your own fragile emotions, lady. In a whole internet full of narcissists, her comically amateurish verse and pleading tone manage to stand out as especially offensive. What is she even talking about? Was Putin famously tortured as a child at the hands of his own mother? It doesn’t look like it! A cursory internet search on Putin’s childhood describes an upbringing in hard poverty, but there’s no mention of a lack of maternal love by Putin’s mother.
So this yearning to mother a baby Putin comes as a baffling shot in the dark. It’s as if to say, if only he had been loved properly as a baby, he wouldn’t have rolled tanks into Kyiv. In essence, when an almost-70-year old megalomaniacal dictator decides to invade a independent nation for no other reason than to stroke his own ego, this woman has the gall to blame his mother! No, no, no, no, no.
Let me it break down.
When we blame Putin’s mother, we shift the blame from society as a whole and place them on one woman.
There should be a shared obligation to provide food, clean water, clothing, shelter, and education for every child. Mothers (and all new parents) should be given ample paid time off to care for newborn infants. Quality childcare should be an affordable option for every family. Schools need the resources to identify and support children with all kinds of different needs: physical, educational, and emotional. And even when children are grown, a justice and welfare system based on principals of clemency and dignity will go a long way toward lifting up wayward individuals. These are our collective burdens as a society and we have much work to do. When we deflect blame onto the mother, we are shirking our shared responsibility.
When we blame the mother, we also shift the blame from the individual to the mother.
At a certain point the individual person is responsible for their own actions. Certainly, some behaviour can be partially explained by the circumstances of childhood. Poverty, trauma, abuse, and neglect can all take their toll on an individual psyche. But ultimately, rational adults are responsible for their own choices. We applaud people who are able to overcome difficult starts in life and go on to become successful role models. By that same token, the people who decide to engage in harmful or criminal behaviour (or just act like assholes, to be honest) should also be held accountable.
When we blame the mother, we make the stakes impossibly high.
It’s nothing new, after all. Everything from the Virgin Mary (talk about an impossible ideal!) to Freudian theories about maternal rejection to the modern idea of the supermom pile all the past, present, and future worries about a child onto the shoulders of the mother. And, quite frankly, we’ve got enough on our plates without the extra pressure! Kids don’t get raised in neat little theoretical bubbles. Real life is messy and happens day by day and year by year. There will be tears and fights and nights filled with panic and worry, no matter what. That I can promise. But any mother who manages to give her kids love and attention on top of the physical necessities is definitely doing a good enough job.
And good enough is pretty freaking great.