Every month we will be inviting our readers to pitch us articles on a theme revealed in our regular newsletter. Find out what our next theme is by subscribing to our newsletter below. This month’s theme is ‘domesticity’ and plenty of you had a lot to say about this subject. However when freelance journalist Rebekah Pierre pitched her idea about the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel we couldn’t resist finding out more about ‘Mutti’…
Imagine having the opportunity to ask Angela Merkel – a world-leading politician with a doctorate in quantum chemistry – one question.
What would you ask?
The possibilities are endless. You could pick her brain on anything from policy to polyatomic molecules (don’t worry, I had to google that last one too).
One journalist recently squandered the opportunity, preferring to ask ‘who does the laundry?’. And yes, I know this is a comedy website, but I’m not even joking.
For anyone with morbid curiosity, she revealed that the laundry is her husband’s remit – not surprising I suppose. What with being the de-facto leader of Europe, I’m sure she has bigger things to sweat.
No matter how accomplished Merkel is, Europe can’t help but pigeon-hole her as some jolly maternal figure – so much so, that she is referred to as Mutti by the press. Talk about mummy issues.
To anyone with any remaining doubt, let me clarify something: Merkel is not your Mother. It is time that the umbilical cord was cut.
There is nothing warm, fuzzy or endearing about viewing Merkel through a maternal lens; in fact, it’s kind of patronising. You wouldn’t refer to Boris Johnson as ‘Daddy’, would you? Actually, saying that, it kind of seems like a sizeable amount of the population do – although the true number is contested.
On the rare occasion a man is referred to as a father, society falls over themselves to worship any minimal paternal effort. And I mean minimal.
When Johnson claimed to change his youngest son’s nappy, this was deemed as headline worthy. All a man has to do is pretend not to be bothered by human excrement for a second and he gets praised.
And if you went to your local park right now, I would bet you a tenner you would see a crowd of women swooning over any father with a baby sling. If you’re lost, just look for the parade of people holding up ‘We love hot dads’ signs.
But back to Merkel. Can people stop fetishizing domestic ideals of women already? Yes, she might embody traditional feminine qualities of kindness, compassion and risk-management (it’s no surprise whatsoever that women have handled Coronavirus better than their counterparts).
And she may be notorious for making a mean plum cake crumble, but she is so much more besides dreary, sexist stereotypes.
Here are five things Merkel is besides ‘Mutti’.
- Trilingual – She could prove misogynists wrong in three languages – English, Russian and German.
- Environmental pioneer – She’s not your mother, but her green policies wins her the approval of mother earth.
- Gifted economist – She knows how to put her money where her mouth is, having delivered on her promise to accelerate Germany’s financial growth.
- Scientist – Her degrees in physics and quantum chemistry means that she can, and will, prove you wrong with cold, scientific facts.
- A soccer fan – Her love of the game says balls to gender stereotypes.