Why everyone’s supporting Sophie Turner through her divorce

It’s 8pm. I’m out having a quick round of post-work drinks with my colleagues. I joke about how I’m already getting buzzed on half a beer because I haven’t been out in ages. As we take our final sips, I get a phone call that makes my heart sink.

It’s my husband. Our toddler won’t settle to sleep and she’s screaming for me – her mummy. Both my mini-boss – and sperm donor (read: the husband) – need me, stat. I head home and console myself in the Grab ride: at least I had an hour of freedom and 3/4 of a beer. 

So what does this have to do with Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s recent divorce, you might be wondering at this point? Well, when it comes to the roles men and women are expected to play in marriages and child caretaking? Every-freaking-thing – especially in Singapore.

Why’s the media out to get Sophie Turner in a mutual divorce?

mothers miserablePhoto credit: Lionel Hahn / Getty 

We need to talk about this. About how gossip sites have instantly hopped at the opportunity to reveal the tea behind the Game of Thrones star and the former Disney beau’s split. 

She “likes to party” and he “likes to stay at home,” the so-called anonymous sources say. They’d only been married for 4 years, had 2 kids, and seemed to have it all together. How dare she go out drinking in Birmingham, U.K. just days before Jonas’ filing of the divorce was made public? – implies the Daily Mail.

“The marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken,” said the court documents that were obtained by American media outlet Today. The children now live with him, but “it is in the best interests of the minor children that the parties have shared parental responsibility.”

It didn’t help that celebrity gossip site TMZ claimed that Jonas had “been caring for their 2 young children ‘pretty much all of the time,’ even as his band was touring,” for the past 3 months. 

Other keyboard warriors have been quick to point out that Turner is only 27 years old, while Jonas is 34. And that it’s no surprise she’d still want to hold onto some remnants of a life that a typical 20-something-year-old would have.

With these anonymous “sources” creeping out of the woodwork, Turner is being painted as the sole reason why the marriage has broken down. But with the couple releasing a joint statement saying nothing more than “this is a united decision,” and to “respect our wishes for privacy for us and our children,” what reason is there to speculate anything beyond that? 

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Why are mothers expected to be the main caretakers?

Had the tables been turned and Turner had been caring for her kids for 3 months straight while Jonas worked, no one would’ve batted an eye. And the same goes for a majority of mothers.

Instead of staying out late drinking with friends, I now expire by 10pm from looking after my kid.

This brings me back to my sad 1-hour beer o’clock. As I reached home to embrace my screaming child and put her overtired little arse to bed, it dawned on me that I’ve never had a “plan B” when it came to my kid – pun not intended. I’ve always had to deal with whatever situation was in front of me. And I just did it.

Have I deteriorated because of it? Absolutely. My physique, my identity, my freedom, and even my career have taken a backseat because there is just no other way out as a parent. I know that it’s a choice I made, but that doesn’t mean that the person who contributed half of my child’s DNA should get out of doing the difficult part of parenting.

This, I reckon, is why a good chunk of the internet is rallying behind Turner. Here are some notable comments I’ve seen:

mothers miserable

And there are hundreds of similar ones that follow. I guess it’s obvious that the paparazzi smear campaign of Turner isn’t working out as planned. Thank goodness for better news literacy in this day and age.

mothers miserable

It’s also pretty obvious that many are starting to see and call out the huge inequality in the roles mothers and fathers play in raising children. So even if Turner did neglect her offspring, this isn’t something that’s uncommon with numerous fathers around the world, Singapore included.

Cue the string of grievances I read daily on local mum groups on Facebook. Mums giving up their careers to stay home and look after the kids; mums being treated as servants by their spouse in their own home; mums being overwhelmed with caretaking duties to the point of depression; fathers having affairs; fathers staring at their phones all day even when they’re with the kids – the blood-boiling list goes on. 

We’re so tired of women having to bear the brunt of caretaking duties that we’re very, VERY ready to believe that Turner didn’t do anything wrong, and that Jonas is just being a crybaby. And we feel vindictive that finally, a man in a position of power and fame, might actually feel what it’s like to be as powerless as we are.

The world may be hearing our struggles, finally

Again, we don’t know the exact details of why Turner and Jonas’ marriage ended – and we should just listen to the couples’ statement, respect their privacy, and move on. 

Neither do we have a tangible solution for half-drunk beer and clueless dads. But at least one thing’s clear: the world is starting to hear and acknowledge our struggles – even if it’s indirectly through the divorce of an ex-Disney star and Queen of the North.

Cover: TheSmartLocal, Lionel Hahn / Getty

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