1. John Morales says

    “a married mother of three”. (My emphasis)

    (“Married father of three poised to lead the BBC”)

  2. Brady says

    I was vaguely curious about this, so I did a quick book search with the Google Ngram viewer. Interesting history of the terms “mother of #” vs “father of #” (in English language books). This seems to be vaguely recent, especially when we narrow the search to just GB – “father of #” is in decline, “mother of #” is growing. And it looks like most of these uses are from non-fiction books.

    The results across British English books:

  3. says


    While that is interesting, books are not the context being discussed here. The context here is the content of news headlines about someone new in charge of something.

  4. Brady says


    Err… I am perplexed by your comment. Obviously, the original post was about a woman doing something new in the broadcasting space as reported by a daily printed newspaper in England (OK, I am making that last bit up – no idea what paper this was in). Does that mean I shouldn’t bring up a sentence in the body of an online American magazine about a woman being appointed to lead a tech giant? I was only trying to point out that not only is this use of the phrase more common for women (in certain places, like non-fiction books in British English), a point specifically raised in the original post (‘Remember the last time you saw the headline “Father of three poised to lead the BBC”?’), it is a recent trend. Specifically, describing women as motherhood of a number (not a specific person, but a number) is increasing when compared to similar results for father, and no, this is not cherry picking (there is real data to back it up). Obviously, this doesn’t tell the whole story (like why it is increasing), but it seemed like a data point that might be interesting given the original post. It seems entirely relevant to the discussion at hand. I wish I had as easy access to headline data, but I don’t.

  5. says

    What? Talking about a newspaper headline is not at all the same thing as talking about the body of a book. Obviously it’s not. That’s the whole point – yes, the body of a newspaper story might very well talk about a male executive’s family farther down in the story, after talking about the more relevant stuff. But in a headline? That would be extremely abnormal and peculiar. The difference between headline and body is the whole point, and books are a whole other level, so no – the content of books really isn’t relevant. It’s ok to talk about side issues, but it’s also ok to note that they’re not relevant.

  6. Stacy says

    Absurd. Where’s the important information about her–what does she look like? Does she dress well?


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