On Mother’s Day, John Oliver goes HAM on the US’s crappy family leave policies

On last night’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver covered a big feminist issue: paid family leave. 

He wasn’t the only one to celebrate Mother’s Day by suggesting that we make mothers’ lives a little easier beyond cards, flowers, and breakfast in bed one day a year; Hillary Clinton’s campaign seized the opportunity, too. But unsurprisingly, they didn’t do it as profanely, or as entertainingly, as Oliver, who went in hard on the hypocrisy of a culture that makes motherhood a beloved, compulsory form of feminine martyrdom, but that, if budgets and policies are anything to go by — and they are — doesn’t really give a crap about mothers.

As he put it, “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t go on and on about how much you love mothers, and then fail to support legislation that makes life easier for them.” Then, with an assist from the great America Ferrera, he presented us with this honest Mothers Day commercial:

I apologize for the lack of transcript here, folks. If you want to provide one in comments, I’d be so very grateful.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

Read more about Chloe

Join the Conversation