HomeWorld NewsJoe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s divorce is making the media ask the worst questions – The Guardian
Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s divorce is making the media ask the worst questions – The Guardian
September 9, 2023
Give him a medal! Joe Jonas spends time with his kids
This time last week I wouldn’t have been able to pick pop star Joe Jonas out of a police line-up. If you’d asked me what I’d thought about him I’d have said: “Uh … nothing?” Over the past few days, however, I’ve had the misfortune of seeing his face everywhere and hearing about him nonstop. It’s possible you have too. After four years of marriage, Jonas and the actor Sophie Turner are getting a divorce; the news has sparked endless coverage, scurrilous rumours and a lot of online outrage about mom-shaming.
To be clear: Jonas and Turner may be celebrities, but their divorce is nobody’s business. What does merit attention, however, is how misogynistic much of the reporting about their split has been. Thanks to various “anonymous sources” the narrative that has been spun in tabloids like TMZ and the Daily Mail, is this: Turner, 27, is a hedonistic party-lover and absent mother who wants to go out all the time instead of looking after her kids. Jonas, 34, is a devoted father who has been looking after his children all by himself despite the fact that his band is on tour. “She likes to party, he likes to stay at home,” an anonymous source in TMZ solemnly declared. “They have very different lifestyles.”
Jezebel’s former editor in chief Laura Bassett summed up the gist of the coverage in a viral tweet. “I think I’m supposed to gather from all the carefully placed headlines that [Turner’s] a partier and thus a bad mom, while he is the hero dad making sacrifices,” Bassett wrote, “but no one seems to question why [Jonas] at 30 decided to marry a 23-year-old and thought she’d suddenly turn into a tradwife.”
It’s true that the couple’s young children have been living with Jonas in recent months. But do you know why that is? It’s because Turner has been filming in the UK and the two agreed that, because of Turner’s hectic work schedule, it would be best for the kids to stay in the US with Jonas. That’s it! That’s how banal this breathlessly reported situation is! If the kids had been living with Turner while Jonas was busy with work in a different country then nobody would have batted an eyelid. Women, after all, are expected to make sacrifices for their kids. They’re expected to always put their kids in front of their career. Whenever a father spends time with his own children, however, he gets lauded for “babysitting”. Whenever a father makes sacrifices that people routinely expect from mothers then people seem to want to give him a goddamn medal. And, let’s be honest, it’s not exactly like Jonas is making any sacrifices. He’s doubtless got an army of hired help to look after the kids and do the housework. He has hardly had to give up his career because of childcare issues.
The Daily Mail, in true Daily Mail fashion, has had a field day with this story and published umpteen pictures of Turner out on the town having a drink. They have juxtaposed these with pictures of Jonas at brunch. I don’t know if the Mail is aware of this, but it’s perfectly possible to have a night out while still being a good mother. Again, if Jonas was out on the town nobody would be insinuating that he was a bad father. Dads are allowed to have fun. They’re allowed to have an identity beyond their offspring. The moment a woman is pregnant, however, her body becomes public property. Everything she does is suddenly viewed through the prism of her child and scrutinized. As the coverage around Turner demonstrates, all a woman has to do to be labelled a bad mother is to be pictured having a glass of wine.
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The week in pawtriarchy
Don’t let her sweet face fool you, Gingee, a four-year-old Maine Coon, is trouble. For months she’s been pilfering whatever she can get her paws on from houses in her neighbourhood. The list so far includes “a child’s spade from the sandpit, a pair of goggles and – for some reason – a sieve”, said one of Gingee’s owners. Eventually she was caught redhanded when her owners set up a night vision camera and saw her creeping into their house with a knife in her mouth, which she then deposited in their bedroom. I’m sure there is a purr-fectly innocent explanation.