[DWJ] Bad Mothers (was HP)

Jennifer Rowland janamouse at hotmail.com
Wed May 16 13:14:18 EDT 2007


Deborah wrote:
>Exactly!  And  this is why feminism ends up being equivalent to
>bad motherhood -- until very recently, you could assume that any
>woman who had interests outside the home was going to identify as
>a feminist in some way or another. I can't think of too many
>examples of the stereotyped bad mother whose interests outside
>the home are sexually stereotyped as Not Feminist (ignoring her
>children because she is shopping and playing bridge or
>mah-jongg).

But would that necessarily be as noticeable as having feminist interests? I 
mean, right up until the ... thirties? a middle-class or above mother didn't 
look after her children herself all the time, and she went shopping or 
played bridge, and the servant looked after the children, and that wasn't 
thought of as ignoring the children, it was just life. A character would 
have to make it obvious that she never *wanted* to spend time with the 
children to get herself marked down as a Bad Mother.
I think "she spends time on things outside the home, she is wicked!" was a 
useful stick to beat feminists, and if you wanted a Bad non-feminist Mother 
who really did spend all her time with the children you could tar her with 
"she is smothering, she wants her children to be mollycoddles", and it's all 
one big catch-22 Tool Of The Patriarchy.

I can't actually think of any specific examples of the bad mother neglecting 
her offspring for frivolity <g>, but I did immediately think "Agatha 
Christie?"- I think I do recognise it as a literary type I've seen often 
enough to call it a stereotype. Ha, actually, what about Christopher's Mama? 
She's always going on about Christopher taking his place in Society- I bet 
she spends all her time visiting and shopping and that's why he never sees 
her.
Jennifer

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