Mother Is Mothering

What is a ‘mother-off’? The internet has some ideas.

What does it mean to “mother”? In modern parlance, it means to serve, to be iconic, to deliver divine feminine energy in the way that only our favorite divas can. 

And when you put two mothers together, you end up with a mother-off.

The concept recently went viral when a user on X (formerly Twitter) posted a simple question: “What is a mother-off?” And the internet had answers in spades.

Mother-offs, it turns out, can happen across any form of media. Any pop duet will usually do the trick, like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé’s “Telephone.”

Then there’s Britney Spears and Madonna’s “Me Against The Music.”

And Mariah Carey can have a mother-off with pretty much anyone — like Patti LaBelle, for example.

Or Whitney Houston.

Or even herself (on multiple occasions).

Mother-offs have a long and rich history, spanning decades into the past. Founding mothers include Cher and Tina Turner

Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett in Julie & Carol: Together Again

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

…and Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand with one of history’s most iconic mashups, “Happy Days Are Here Again / Get Happy.”

Often, the most powerful mother-offs come from real-world mothers playing fictional mothers, like Jessica Lange and Angela Bassett as all-powerful witches in American Horror Story: Coven.

Mixing in music always sweetens the deals, which Amber Riley and Naya Rivera proved by belting out “River Deep, Mountain High” on Glee.

The entirety of Big Little Lies was essentially a mother-melee, especially Season 2, when Meryl Streep joined the show.

Of course, that wasn’t Streep’s first rodeo. Just look at her and Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her.

Sometimes a movie doesn’t even need to be out yet to earn the title. Take the upcoming film May December, which stars Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. Automatic mother-off qualification. For more proof, check out the newly released trailer.

And generally, any room full of actresses is going to make the grade.

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