The consequences of Piers Morgan tweeting are generally enough to make you want to delete the Twitter app, cancel your broadband and attempt to unlearn the English language. But this time, mercifully, the feedback has mainly been a flurry of men posting adorable pictures of themselves happily wearing their babies, like the awesome accessories they are.
And, as it turns out, the English language itself also had a response to Morgan’s annoyance at a photo of Daniel Craig carrying his baby on his chest, terming him “#emasculatedBond”, with the official Twitter account for Dictionary.com informing Morgan that its definition of “emasculate” contained “nothing about being a load-sharing father”.
But Morgan feels that Craig’s baby carrier – commonly known as a papoose (which actually comes from the Native American word for child) – does not fit in with his role as the current James Bond. Never mind the fact that Craig is not actually James Bond, but an actor employed to occasionally play him – nor the fact that Bond is a fictional character – when Morgan is making the important point that “James Bond would never use a papoose to carry his babies”.
For Morgan, Craig must apparently spend his every waking minute necking glamorous female double agents, duping Russians on speedboats and nagging Ben Whishaw for a wallet that turns into a hot-air balloon. (Full disclosure: I haven’t watched that much Bond. This is largely based on when Alan Partridge acts out The Spy Who Loved Me.)
But it is quite telling that Morgan’s beacon of masculinity is a fictional character, who must surround himself, at all times, with the phallic proxies of copious firearms – fast cars and expensive watches, of course, having never been an indication that a man might be insecure.
And, really, Bond probably would carry a baby in a papoose, because it would leave his hands free for all the punching and the shooting and the jerking off of fanboys.
It is as yet unknown how Morgan feels about the ‘puppoose’ dog carrier, arguably one of the greatest adapted inventions known to humanity
Morgan later referred to papooses as “ridiculous instruments of emasculation”, and suggested that men who do use baby-carriers must have “been ordered to by their wives”, as though the baby-carrying is merely the secondary function to the deliberate man-bashing for which they were originally intended. But it’s an understandable mistake – when history has ensured that almost every aspect of design has developed in relation to men, of course Morgan would assume that this particular piece of equipment must be about him.
These are comments from a man who has had the luxury of spacious pockets his entire life. Has never had to carry a patriarchy-pleasing haul of beauty products around with him every day. Has never tried to condense the contents of a tote into a clutch. Only a person who has not spent a vast amount of time carrying children would whinge about the way someone does it.
I am not a gooey-over-cute-kids person, but I do think babies look hilarious fastened to the front of an adult human with their arms and legs sticking out at weird angles. It’s funny that they’re suddenly at eye-level. And, as someone who inadvertently ended up essentially in a papoose as a grown-up (doing a tandem skydive with an instructor significantly bigger and taller than me meant I was carried into the plane pinned on to his chest), I can honestly say, it’s very freeing. I like to think the babies feel that, too.
But, of course, Morgan’s rant about papooses isn’t really about papooses at all. It’s about him attempting to protect a system of strict gender conditioning that has benefited him and continues to do so. It’s about perpetuating a set of stereotypical characteristics for masculinity that are unhelpful to all people – men, women and non-binary. It comes from a person who believes that masculinity is determined by totting up points awarded based on outdated notions of gender roles. And from a person who, evidently, when tiring of carrying his own child, didn’t require the help of a clever baby-carrying device; instead, he used the old-fashioned option – handing it to the nearest woman.
It is as yet unknown how Morgan feels about the “puppoose” dog carrier, arguably one of the greatest adapted inventions known to humanity. But if he comes for that, expect real hell to break loose.