Mother Id Like to Fathom: The MILF Conundrum

Mother Id Like to Fathom: The MILF Conundrum

May 19 2003 should be a national holiday. Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne was released and the MILF was born. But, what defines a MILF? The dictionary definition, if Merriam-Webster had the balls, would be “mother I’d like to fuck”. A hot woman with kids. A yummy mummy. Oh, if only things were that simple.

But MILF is more than that. It is an all-encompassing metonym for a much larger concept — the concept of a sexy, older woman, often one that doesn’t even have kids, ostensibly the core feature of MILFhood. Winona Ryder is devoutly child-free, but you can’t tell me that Will “Stranger Things” Byer doesn’t have a bangin’ on-screen mama. Childfree MILFs are an oxymoron, but they do exist, sustaining themselves on pure vibes alone.

I made the mistake of Googling “MILF” on University wifi, forgetting that the results are entirely porn. There are few published papers on MILFs for some reason. Critic decided to fill his gap in academic research by taking to town on an intrepid journalism journey. We heckled drunk students and asked two questions:

  1. Are children a prerequisite to be a MILF?
  2. If MILF is a vibe, at what age do you enter MILFhood?

15% of people responded that kids are essential to MILFhood. 85% believed that MILF is an energy.

The average age at which you become a MILF, according to drunk students, is 24. Fucking hell. I have one year until I begin exclusively drinking red wine and answering the pizza boy in skimpy nightgowns. I’m going to guess that this is exclusive to Dunedin’s younger student demographic, as the MILFs who inhabit the sticky lands of Pornhub are implied to be middle-aged at least, even if they’re played by a 24-year old wearing glasses.

The demarcation is messy. You can have an 18-year-old MILF, but she certainly isn’t a MILF in the classic sense of the word. And, apparently, you can be a MILF at age 24 even without having given birth. 

Science teaching fellow Daryl* says that MILFhood “depends on where your fetish lies. Do you fetishise the fact they’ve had kids, or are you fetishising the fact that it’s a slightly older woman?” He argues that age alone isn’t enough to define a MILF. A GILF (grandmother/grandfather I’d like to fuck) could theoretically be in her thirties, he points out. 

Fox believes that childbirth is essential for the MILF due to biological reasons. “Body and mind must experience chemical changes due to pregnancy,” he says. “Otherwise you’re just a GWILF. A grown woman I’d like to fuck.” He muses that C-section versus natural birth might play in as a factor, having “big implications for tautness”, displaying both an intimate knowledge of female anatomy and unfortunately implying the need for a flappiness scale to determine MILFhood. 

When you bring cougars into the mix, it gets even messier. Cougars are not MILFs, but they definitely exist upon the same taxonomy. One student, Liv, believes that MILFs vs. cougars is a matter of conjugation. ‘Cougar’ implies that the woman is on the prowl, whereas MILF is a submissive object of desire. Is a cougar simply an active, childfree MILF? The on-screen MILF preying on young plumbers is definitely an active participant, though.

Liv pauses, and then brings up another contentious point: What is the difference between the MILF and the fun aunt? A Funt, if you will. It appears to be context dependent. In this case, a sexualised one. 

Perhaps it’s time to expand our MILF terminology, to create a clear distinction between the pure MILFs and vibe-MILFs. My opinion is that we should not gatekeep the MILF. We all have the potential for MILFhood deep down. Perhaps being a MILF is about what you felt in your heart all along.

*Name changed.

This article first appeared in Issue 17, 2021.
Posted 5:28pm Sunday 1st August 2021 by Asia Martusia King.