I originally wrote this post with some sort of structure in mind. My first impression was that Carol Todd might have encouraged Amanda’s online activity by being a ‘pushy parent’, but when I hit the December 23rd 2010 event of the photo, I completely failed to find any excuses or any valid reasons for why Amanda was allowed so much unfettered access to the Internet. Believe me, I really wasn’t trying to find reasons to blame bad parenting – it just became an unavoidable conclusion. So I’ve left my first ramblings intact. Maybe it adds something to the narrative. I don’t know.
Now this is a doozy, and I’m going to have to really think about what I’m saying here. Not that I don’t always think about what I say, but this needs a certain amount of care and attention.
Let’s get something out of the way – this is all guesswork. It’s sort of educated guesswork, but I could be way off track. The odd thing – and this is going to sound bonkers – is that a lot of what I have surmised in this story has come true. I was semi-estimating that Amanda was a friend of Mary Jane, but that was only properly substantiated just recently. I have yet to find conclusive evidence that she was a friend of Johnny Walker as well, but I think we can almost take it for granted. And you know what? That thought of mine that says Amanda might still be alive – well, I’m still not fully dismissing it! But if there’s one thing I’ve learned during the research of all this story, it’s that no proposition can be too outrageous when it comes to looking at online behaviour. Just think about Megan Meier or Jessi Slaughter. And I’ve not even mentioned the repressed homosexuality theory yet (What?! Yes, I’ll get round to that later).
But let’s not wander. Just why did Carol Todd allow all of Amanda’s online activity? (At some point, I will have to deal with Norm. He’s kept a low profile through all this. I might have a look at his role in all this next).
What do we believe about Mrs Todd with regards to how much she did or didn’t know about Amanda’s shenanigans? It’s difficult to tell.
We could take the view that she didn’t know much. If your daughter disappears to her room and goes on webcam, you can’t immediately think she’s flashing her boobs, especially when she’s only 12 or 13. (Except that EVERY parent who reads this blog or has heard of the Amanda Todd story will think exactly that from now on). And if questioned about what she was doing, Amanda was hardly likely to have said ‘Flashing me tits, mom’. And we have another slight problem – just where was Mrs Todd throughout all this story? She mysteriously disappears from the Todd household around 2009, leaving her son and daughter with Norm. It’s not until early 2012 that she is reunited under the same roof as her daughter. So all of Amanda’s activities could have been done in relative secrecy.
BUT……we have the added complexity that Mrs Todd seems to imply that she knew all about what was going on. This part of the story has changed over the last few months. At the beginning, Mrs Todd seemed to say that she was only slightly aware that her daughter made the September video. There are conflicting reports, but she appeared a bit vague about everything. And at the beginning, Mrs Todd seemed to be like the rest of us – taken in by her daughter’s story of the one-off photo and by her tale of being the innocent victim. Then, when the nudie pictures appeared, and the Daily Capper story reinforced Amanda’s online notoriety, Mrs Todd’s story changed to one of knowing absolutely everything her daughter did, even before all the blackmail/stalker malarkey.
So it’s difficult to know what to believe. That’s why I’m reduced to guesswork.
I’m guessing – from Mrs Todd’s seemingly insatiable desire to get her fizzog seen as much as possible – that she and her daughter shared the same narcissism genes. Or is it that simple? Could it be that Mrs Todd, like so many other mothers, might have been trying to push her daughter into the limelight for her own vicarious pleasure? Like those in this spoof video? Did it ever pass through Mrs Todd’s mind that fame for her daughter was the thing to aim at – at whatever cost? Is it better to be notorious than not known at all?
Do you see what I meant at the beginning? I’ve really got to think about all this.
What would be Mrs Todd’s motives for allowing all this to happen? Right from the beginning, we know that Amanda liked singing and showing off. OK, that might sound a bit harsh, but there is always a fine line between cute kid and annoying attention-seeker. Now, combine this with a pushy mother, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
If your kid is in any way talented, then it might be a good idea to want to push them forward. But let’s face it – if Amanda’s videos are anything to go by, she sang like a scalded cat. And while I’m in harsh mode, I’ll introduce another factor – Amanda was a bit thick. Talentless and a bit thick makes a dangerous mix. Having said that, I now need to explain why I think it’s worth mentioning.
Trying to be succinct, I think that Mrs Todd never taught Amanda to be happy about who she was. I honestly don’t know if I’m talking bollocks here or not, and I would love some feedback, but I think that Mrs Todd encouraged this sort of mindset – that if you are seen as a failure at school, then some sort of performing or attention-seeking will compensate for that. I’ve really made a mess of that, so I’ll try again.
I believe that early on Amanda cottoned on to being seen as an intellectual failure by her mother. I think that Mrs Todd’s actions – to get her kid educated properly, to make sure that she was getting the right classes and so on – were well-meaning but detrimental. It showed Amanda just how much her mother valued intellectual achievement, and only succeeded in highlighting her failures. But Amanda could perform. She could cheer lead. She could sing. She could gain approval through performance. And eventually she arrived in front of a webcam – where she could perform in front of the whole world.
In front of a webcam, Amanda could gain the type of approval that she wasn’t getting at home – approval for being just her.
But that still doesn’t explain why Amanda’s mother sanctioned it all. (I’m confusing myself now!) Well, I did say it was a doozy!
So I need to recap. Situation: strange mother, possibly absent; daughter in need of affection/attention and not getting it. That would certainly explain the beginning of it all. And it’s pretty simple. But then why the continuation of it all after the disaster of 2010?
Skip through all the previous stuff. Just put the events pre-December 2010 down to some dreadful mistakes – a kid looking for attention in the wrong places. I think I’ve possibly tried to read a lot more into it than is necessary (or maybe I’m just being lazy).
But that still leaves us with the problem of why Mrs Todd allowed Amanda to still maintain such a presence online. It’s too weird. After the terrible events of December 2010, what on earth possessed Mrs Todd to allow her daughter such free rein. Does anyone see why this story confuses me so much?
After December 2010, ANY decent responsible parent would have made every effort to protect their daughter, whether it be with Draconian measures or with more simple supervision of their activity. But to knowingly allow the existence of Mandaa&Shyy to continue, and to allow the isabella100555 YouTube channel to flourish, is beyond comprehension. Especially when, according to the story, the stalker struck again a year later.
So just why would Mrs Todd allow it? OK – I’ll have another guess. Mrs Todd was basically being controlled and manipulated by Amanda. That would be one explanation. Using the guilt that Mrs Todd would have had from being an absent mother, combined with her willingness to keep her daughter happy at whatever cost, Amanda could have run rings around her mother. Is that a viable explanation? It sort of puts all the blame back on to Amanda. Was she really quite a nasty and manipulative person? Did she just know how to get her own way? Was Mrs Todd sufficiently weak-willed to let her daughter get away with it all? Maybe.
I’ve just realised I’m getting nowhere with this. But in a way, that’s a good thing. The fact that I can’t find a neat and quick solution to this question shows that there really is something dreadfully wrong with this story. There are simply too many ifs and buts, too many unbelievable examples of behaviour. Is it REALLY possible just to say that the Todds were absolutely shit parents? It would be so much more convenient just to assume that. But nobody’s that shit, surely? Or am I just naive?