So I wrote a piece for Eureka Street in response to Leunig’s latest mummy-shaming cartoon. Have you read it yet?
I’ve had a few requests to share the comments I ended up deleting because they were too snarky. Here are the sweepings from the cutting room floor. I don’t take much convincing – they were my favourite bits!
Here we go:
1. “I was using the phone to get work done. Although, from what I know about you, being a working mum is another thing to be sneered at. I know you think I shouldn’t be working. But we don’t get to relax on a single income. As a generation, we have to hustle. I know you’re a Boomer and it was different for you, well done. Just so you know, #metoo isn’t a conversation about which one of your friends has bought another investment property.”
2. (this one just has an extra bit at the end) “It would be easier, perhaps, to put my baby into childcare for one day a week. Then I could get some rest, get my freelance work done. But I don’t dare to. I’m still haunted by those cartoons you did when I was a teenager. The baby in creche, all alone, staring at the ceiling, wondering why Mummy doesn’t love him (“Call her a cruel, ignorant, selfish bitch if you like, but I will defend her”). Do you remember? You did them in the 90s, back when you were still relevant.”
3. “I’m guessing you were that man in his seventies. I saw you in the cafe I passed, reading the paper with your avocado toast, before sauntering home to dash off your latest judgey cartoon.
That cartoon. My brain picks at it like a dried scab. I can’t help myself. I spent the best part of this week in the exclusive company of a small person whose conversational qualities are limited to say the least. My brain needs something to work on. I can hear your defenders inside my head: “Somebody’s sensitive! Guilty conscience?” But it’s not that. Well, it’s not just that.
Look, I have notes. Firstly, I liked how you rhymed ‘pram’ with ‘Instagram’. That’s the cartoon’s main strength. The poem’s meter is a little off. Plus, it would have been funnier if the baby were given a name, don’t you think? (“poor little Hunter” reads better than “beautiful bubby”). Also, next time, try making the cartoon two years ago, before the topic has become overworked and trite. I just think that if you’re going to insult me, you should do a better job of it. Be edgy, you know?”
Thank you for letting me get that off my chest. I feel like I’ve just been to confession. As you can see, I have a wise editor who protects me from myself!
Thank you for your reply to Leunig about his cartoon of the baby falling out of the pram. Have often thought he was beyond the pale but people adore him. Dont see it myself.
You put it very well. Barbara H
Thanks so much, Barbara! It can be hard to speak up against someone so adored!