Angelinas and demons

Who made Babble's list of the top 50 most loathsome mothers?

Published March 12, 2009 1:39PM (EDT)

It will surprise exactly no one that the No. 1 most hated mother in America, according to editors at Babble, is the one whose nickname sounds like a close relative to a Spider-Man villain. "Oh how we hate Nadya Suleman!" they write of the mother of 14."'The Lord will provide,' she said. 'Taxpayers is more like it,' we responded."

But wait, who is that holding down the No. 2 slot? Why, it's that dark-haired actress who bears a striking resemblance to Suleman (someone call her publicist!). "You heard us, St. Angelina!" What have they got against Ms. Jolie? "Love the kids, love the humanitarian work. Hate the sanctimony, pretend scorn toward the paparazzi and how she's building a family with the eye of a Beanie Baby collector."

Hmm ... so the women we most love to hate are those who a) jettison our most cherished notions about the rights and responsibilities of motherhood so completely that they send people scurrying for an indictable offense or b) embody our most cherished notions of ideal motherhood so completely that they leave us gnashing our teeth in despair that we will never measure up.

Writer Madeline Holler clarifies the hater criteria: "We say, 'hate,' but not in the Biblical sense, more like a loathing, a sense of disgust and jealousy. These women bring out our worst feelings and many times unjustifiably so."

Those mothers who inspire the kind of loathing that veers on this side of jealousy include Victoria Beckham (improbably hot sex life), Demi Moore (husband hot enough for your teenage daughter to crush on) and Heidi Klum (hot enough to walk down the Victoria's Secret runway three weeks after giving birth, but expects us all to believe it's just "good genes"). Stage moms, it seems, are perceived as especially crappy parents: Dina Lohan, Lynne Spears and "the self-centered and soulless moms featured in 'Toddlers and Tiaras' and 'Little Miss Perfect.'" And no Bad Mom list could be complete without Britney Spears ("the Nadya Suleman of the rich and famous, what with all her having babies against our better judgment") and the mother of all despised mothers, Sarah Palin.

Nothing, it seems, inspires notoriety like fecundity: The top five mothers on the list have a whopping 48 children between them. In order: 1) Nadya Suleman (14); 2) Angelina Jolie (6); 3) TLC reality-star mom Michelle Duggar (17 ... and counting!); 4) other TLC reality-star mom Kate Gosselin (8). In contrast, Posh Spice (No.5) looks pretty paltry with a mere three kids. Take that, Zero Population Growth.

By Amy Benfer

Amy Benfer is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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