Kara Jesella

Kara Jesella frequently writes about culture for The New York Times and other publications and is the co-author of How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time.

Recent Articles

Naughty Mommies

Are bloggers who proudly identify as "bad moms" challenging ideals of motherhood or reinforcing them?

(iStock Photo)
A mother tells her child that Häagen Dazs is a special medicine for mommies because she doesn't want to share. Another purposely ruins her daughter's favorite T-shirt with red nail polish. One joins Weight Watchers so she has a place to go by herself once a week. Another mom admits, "I can't wait to wean my daughter so I can get stoned again." These are some of the "mommy misdemeanors" revealed in the book True Mom Confessions , published this month. In the introduction, author Romi Lassally explains that she launched TrueMomConfessons.com in 2007 as a forum for women to share their transgressions. "Online, under the veil of anonymity and with 24/7 accessibility, I believed that the conversation about the REAL and not the IDEAL of motherhood could flourish," she writes. The book is a compendium of Lassally's favorite admissions, which pour in daily from all over the country. Welcome to bad-mom culture, in which women don't just own up to their maternal shortcomings -- they flaunt them...

Are Motherhood Politics a Good Idea?

Sarah Palin is not the only candidate reclaiming the political authority of motherhood -- but are mommy politics bad for women?

"Does the mommy movement bother you?" Pamela Tsigdinos recently asked readers of her blog Coming 2 Terms . It was a little more than a week after Sarah Palin's You Tube-arrific speech at the Republican National Convention, and mommies -- the one smiling beatifically at her five kids, the one her daughter was about to become, the ones Palin was supposed to appeal to -- were on everyone's mind. On Slate.com's XX Factor blog, Meghan O'Rourke praised the vice-presidential nominee -- who has called herself an "average hockey mom," "team mom," the "mother of one of those troops" -- for doing "something I've always thought female politicians should make more use of. She used her authority as a mother -- the vital center of many families, and the first authority figure many of us know -- to coax Americans into seeing her as a 'force to be reckoned with,' as CNN kept putting it." Palin's speech was proof: Maternalist politics have arrived -- again. Over the last two years, mothers --...