Top Ten: Worst Moms In Pop Culture

Published on May 5th, 2016 in: Feminism, Movies, Top Ten Lists, TV |

By Laury Scarbro

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There are good moms, and then there are these selfish hags. These are not the kinds of women you want looking after a houseplant, let alone being in charge of a child’s welfare. If you’re a parent, please, either don’t be like these people or do your kids a favor and put them up for adoption. If you’ve ever questioned your mom’s parenting abilities, just have a look at this list. Then go hug your mother and be grateful.

10. Lori Grimes (The Walking Dead, AMC)

Don’t misunderstand me, Lori loved her son. But most of the time she was alive, she was more worried about sorting out everyone else’s dramas, and her own, than she was concerned about taking care of her kid. I lost count of how many times I had to hear someone ask “Where’s Carl?” when the survivors were staying at Hershel’s farm. Seriously, lady, how can you NOT know where your kid is during the freaking zombie apocalypse??

9. Padme Amidala (Star Wars Prequels)

Yeah, I’m saying it. Padme was a terrible mother. Don’t give me that “well she died of a broken heart” nonsense. If you’re a real mom, you don’t just up and lose the will to live just because your man turned to the dark side. She was presented to be this ambitious, independent-minded person who, at the tender age of 14, became queen of an entire planet. Then she meets a guy who is, I’m sorry, the whiniest person in all of the galaxy. They fall in love, secretly get married (because no one ever left the Jedi before…?), she gets pregnant, and just because he joins the Sith, she dies? Seriously?

8. Joan Crawford (Mommy Dearest, 1981)

This woman still gives me nightmares. Is it the rage? Is it the way she takes her own insecurities out on her kids? Is it the freakishly high-arched eyebrows, coupled with the crazy eyes? Is it the beatings? Is it the anger-fueled butchering of a child’s hair? Yes, yes to all.

7. Margaret White (Carrie, 1976)

There’s almost nothing scarier than a mother (or any parent, really) who uses their own backwards religious beliefs to undermine a child’s self-esteem and then proceeds to use mental and physical abuse to reinforce their control over their child. This ensures that the daughter won’t have even a basic knowledge of female biological processes, which will cause her to panic in the school bathroom because she thinks she’s dying, all while the other girls are taunting the daylights out of her. That just makes things worse. When the daughter has telekinetic abilities you’ve got a volatile cocktail. You’re going to get what’s coming to you, and I can’t help but feel a bit of elation when Carrie gets her revenge on her mother.

6. Aleida Diaz (Orange Is The New Black, Netflix)

Admittedly, I’m not up to date on this show, but by the time you’re halfway through the first season, you can already tell this lady is a piece of work. She’s got five kids by five different men, and rather than take care of her kids, she’d rather go out and have fancy dinners with drug-dealing jerks while her kids sit at home eating mac and cheese. Then if that isn’t bad enough, after she goes to prison, her daughter brings the other kids to see her for visitation and the woman is more interested in accusing her daughter of sleeping with the drug-dealing jerk than she is in hearing about one of her kids making a paper airplane. Then she tries to seduce the prison guard her felonious daughter’s in love with, just to prove a point. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t end up getting shivved.

5. Ruth Dewitt Bukater (Titanic, 1997)

You’re accustomed to living a certain way, but the money’s running out. Instead of remarrying, or god forbid, standing on your own two feet you spineless flesh peddler, you decide to sell your daughter into marriage with someone she’s not even sure she wants to marry. Then you force conformity and nag about every little tiny flaw. She’s going to rebel; you may as well accept that as a fact. Ruth should have drowned, not Jack.

4. Atia (Rome, HBO)

Atia is another of the conniving, scheming, manipulative, and murderous mothers of television. Instead of allowing her daughter to choose true love, she would rather kill her daughter’s husband then have his dead body brought into the courtyard, all the while feigning innocence of having anything to do with it. She interferes in her son’s life, but he at least has the intellect (and is by Roman traditions, head of household), so he cannot be bullied as easily. That doesn’t stop Atia from interfering in everyone else’s lives, though, using her family’s status with Julius Caesar to secure power grabs for her baby boy, all the while ignoring the plight of her daughter sinking into the pits of despair.

3. Gemma Teller (Sons of Anarchy, FX)

The mother of Jax Teller, president of the Sons of Anarchy, Gemma likes to believe that she actually has any control over anything that her son and the bike club do. She’s never happy with any girl her son may be involved with, going as far as to forcibly inject the mother of his first child with heroin just to ruin her chances of getting custody, and later, murdering his wife when faced with the threat of her son and grandchildren moving out of state. To make matters worse, she schemes to force Jax into killing his stepfather, and instead of owning up to murdering Tara, she instigates a war between the Sons and the other factions. Top it all off with a healthy dose of remorselessness because she really believed her heart was in the right place. Why she couldn’t just let her son be happy is beyond me.

2. Corrine Foxworth Dollanganger Winslow Jackson (Flowers In the Attic, 1987 & 2014)

When you’re a character in a V. C. Andrews novel, you can pretty much count on being one of a few types of people: the abusive matriarchal figure, the ridiculously weak mother, the sexual predator, the charming male love interest with the cerulean eyes, or the long-suffering protagonist who has to overcome the backwards family you’ve been cursed with. This pathetic piece of cow feces drags her kids back to her parents’ house, begging them to take her in and help her get back on her feet after the loss of her husband. They agree, but there are stipulations. The kids can’t be seen, so they get stuck in the attic. Grandma’s going to feed them arsenic hidden in the powdered sugar on their pastries. Mom, meanwhile, is living it up, being wined and dined by as many suitors as possible and ignoring the fact that her children are being poisoned and are dying. And beginning incestuous relationships because what else are they going to do in that attic all day long? Ugh.

1. Olivia Godfrey (Hemlock Grove, Netflix)

Another one for the lying, manipulative, controlling, murdering mom category (are you guys seeing a pattern here?). She has a son who has inherited her vampire traits, and a daughter who is horribly disfigured after nearly dying and being brought back to life thanks to some very questionable medical practices. She literally lies to everyone; it’s a wonder she can even keep her lies straight. She manipulates her son into having sex with his cousin to produce an heir, which inevitably kills his cousin (who just so happens to be the daughter of Olivia’s long-time lover and her husband’s brother). Later, when her daughter has the opportunity to have her consciousness transferred into a pretty lab-created girl, Olivia kills the lab creation. There’s much more that goes on, but by the end of the final season, honestly I was glad to see the credits roll. Yes, she pissed me off -that- much.

(Dis)Honorable Mention:

Lois Griffin (Family Guy, Fox)—I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “But why??” Well, she’s pretty much clueless when it comes to her children. Look at how long it took her to realize Stewie had tried to kill her. Remember the time he tried to frame her for murder? Meg is in dire need of a good maternal figure that she can rely on when she needs support and guidance. Between the way she is treated by the other kids at school and the belittling she gets from Peter and Chris, it’s a miracle Meg hasn’t killed herself yet. And speaking of Chris, she just lets her son go spend time with a pedophile on a regular basis. I get that her own parents are pretty much wastes of space themselves, but being a bad mother is a choice, not a learned behavior.

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