Representations of Motherhood

Moms in the News

Throughout the semester I've loved watching my classmates present over various news articles they find over mothers in the news. From listening to each individual as they present and thinking back over the semester and the news we've heard of there seems to be an overwhelmingly large amount of news involving mothers doing a poor job of being mothers. Mixed in are the wonderful stories of incredible mothers doing great things for their children and thriving in the role of motherhood, but unfortunately it seems that the mothers harming their children, or completely neglecting their children seem to be more prevalent than other stories. I believe this is first and foremost due to the fact that interesting news is bizarre and shocking and often poor motherhood is just that. Mothers who are doing a good job of being mothers aren't drawing attention to themselves because they're busy being good moms. Good mothering isn't news worthy, it's expected and that is why we're bombarded with news regarding mothers often being shocking and awful because good mothering isn't what our world is entertained by. In understanding that it has made me more aware of how the role of good mothering won't receive attention as it is expected. Good motherhood is expected, but then not praised as it should be. Through looking at mothers in the news I've seen the nature of good mothering being that which is often overlooked and under respected.
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Moms in Music

Through our studying of mothers in music I was surprised by the amount of songs that we were able to study, but still saw a great overall lack of mothers being a topic of many songs. There were many songs of praise towards mothers, like my song that I was assigned by the backstreet boys that talked about their mothers being their biggest fans and how they wouldn't be where they are now without their support. There are also songs, like one by Enimen that is nothing but hate and disrespect for his mother from the deep hurt that he has felt from her not being the mother that he wished she would have been. In looking at everyones music presentations I was reminded of how deeply personal and emotion driven music is. In the natures of feelings and the heart songs are often going to either be inspired by great love that moves or great hurt that also moves. Motherhood when sung about is either from those who appreciate and have been affected by a great mother who loved well or a mother who failed to do the job that they were given to do. Music is a reflection of the heart and through it we see how deeply impactful the role of motherhood is.
The Perfect Fan - Backstreet Boys (with lyrics)

Moms in Advertising

Studying how mothers are represented through advertising was one of the more frustrating topics to study. Overall I felt that more often than not mothers were displayed in very traditional or stereotypical roles. In the advertisements I looked at it reflected the idea that mothers were only about cleaning and cooking. The advertisements that were directed towards them most often involved cleaning or cooking and the advertisements that mothers were present in were most often those where she was cooking or cleaning. In surveys taken by actual mothers in response to these adds there was an overwhelming sense of annoyance towards this pattern. Women do much more and are about much more than just cleaning and cooking and the women's surveyed vocalized that very clearly. The idea that mothers are still women who are defined by the things they do and their relation to their responsibilities as a woman in a household is well past its time. Women respond most positively to the advertisements that reflect reality, and the things that truly matter to them like loving and caring for their children and families well, not just simply the act of cooking and cleaning to provide. The fact is that most mothers do cook and clean but they do so out of love and care for their families, therefore reflecting that mothers do those things because they enjoy the act is often misplaced. Mothers cook and clean and take care of their children because the love them. The advertisements that are most moving and most effective are those that understand that and go off of the idea that love and care is at the core of why mothers choose to do what they do. Advertisement, even now, often misses the point of motherhood and portrays motherhood and why mothers do what they do incorrectly which often makes for annoying and ineffective advertisement to actual mothers.

Moms in Television

When looking at how mothers are represented in television it shows the pattern of stereotypical roles and over simplifying motherhood is also found in this form of media. In the project that we were assigned over mothers in television I reviewed Malcolm in the Middle, Friends, That 70's Show, Gilmore Girls and Boy Meets World. When studying each mother character in the film, only Amy Matthews in Boy Meets World was portrayed as a sensible and capable mother. The others mothers in the shows looked at were far from the idea of a capable and able mother. They were often shown as neurotic, high in emotion and unstable. They were shown as a weak link and often incapable, which is not very accurate to many mothers. From what I learned by looking at the shows I studied as well as other shows that we looked at in class I saw a continued patterns of moms made entertaining by making them incapable and unstable. They made the characters entertaining, but unfortunately degrade the image of mothers by doing so. The mothers in most television shows are often made to be laughed at and amusing at the expense of accurately representing what it means and what it takes to be a mother.
Top 10 Memorable TV Moms

Moms in Film

Mothers in movies and films seem to follow the pattern of mothers being inaccurately represented just like they often are in other forms of entertainment and media. We see mothers made as an image of entrainment at the expense of accurately representing what it means to be a mother. Unfortunately often times as well there is an overall lack of the presence of the mother in general. There are many movies that have been made over the years and there are definitely some that accurately show what it means to be a mother and how to do it well but there are also movies that show mothers as crazy, absent, overprotective, hurtful, inconsiderate, uncaring, controlling and any other manner that a woman can be a mom. From looking at movies from many generations, any way that a mother can be represented has been done at one point in time over the decades. There is much diversity of what it means to be a mother and I feel that it is often shown in movies as there are so many different kinds of mothers in movies and films.
Top 10 Memorable Movie Moms

Moms in Magazines

First thing this semester we looked at how mothers were represented in magazines by looking at various home and women magazines. It was interesting to look at magazines over many years and to see what was popular during different times in the past 80 years or so. Listening to others present over different years and to see how different trends emerged and disappeared was quite interesting. I thought it was very much interesting to see how women were addressed and what was included in the magazines to capture their attention. I really was captivated on how limiting and stereotypical magazines were in the 30's-50's to women's roles in their families and homes. They were seen as only to be homemakers and the family's caretaker and thus all of the magazines focused on those two aspects of life and only that. As the years went on more progressive thinking and articles started to emerged that openly addressed how women were being limited to just be those who take care of things instead of ones who create and are progressive and valuable thinkers. The advertisements included in the magazines also coincided with the ideas found in the articles present throughout the magazines. I honestly found it very fascinating to watch as the magazines got more progressive as the years went on and loved looking at how what it means to be a woman has grown and progressed so much over the years.
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Moms in Literature

In looking what I learned from studying mothers in literature it is much like what I saw when studying mothers in music. Writing is someones own ideas and creation and much like music there are going to be all sorts of experiences and ideas expressed in ones writing. I enjoyed studying mothers in literature because it gave me a quick overlook of all sorts of new books, which I really enjoyed. I felt that studying mothers in literature was great because I got a new list of books to read. I enjoyed seeing that there were so many different kind of mothers represented in literature. There were definitely good, effective mothers represented in literature but like in what we saw with mothers in film. It is often true that interesting mothers, when it comes to entertainment purposes, are the crazy and unstable ones. From what I concluded in looking at the pattern of mothers in literature there were also a large amount of mothers who represented the neurotic and deeply troubled mothers. I don't think one can look at literature as a whole and conclude that there is an accurate or inaccurate representation of motherhood because the nature of literature is so vast but when looking at one genre over or another I can imagine it to fluctuate and have patterns particular to each group.

Letter to my Mother

Mom,

The world likes to tell us a lot of how mothers should be and what they should do to be the best mothers but I think you already figured that out. From what I can tell the best thing you did for me was just be yourself. I know you had ambitions and goals for how you wanted to be as a mother and I have no idea how you matched up in your mind to who you actually have been to Maddie and I but I can tell you that when I talk about you I am proud. I am proud to have a mother who is fully and truly a friend, someone who I seek counsel from and deeply value the opinion of. I am proud because you are every bit of the word sane. You are rational and understanding. You are slow to anger and slow to let us be fully ourselves. I have never once felt in my life that I had to be someone or do something to have your approval or love and that is a gift. I am proud because you are loving, regardless of middle school and early high school. You are the most comforting and life giving human being I know--mostly because you're my mother but I don't think every mom is that way. I am proud because you are a fully capable and able woman. You pursued your dreams in life and didn't settle for the expected. You made great adventures for yourself and now have wonderful memories and stories to share. I am proud because you lived, and you have set that standard now for me to go out and do the same. I am proud because you have shown me that there is much life and purpose in a marriage and a family but it's not the destination in life, it's the crew that makes up the team that goes along beside you. I am proud because you put in me a desire to achieve and to follow dreams and passions and I am proud because you have given me the freedom to do so even when it's far away and even when you might want me close by. I am proud because you love me so selflessly and there are so many mothers who are manipulative and self-seeking when it comes to how they love their kids as they've grown up. I am proud to be your daughter and to see parts of you in me. I am proud to have a mother who I want to be when I grow up and hopefully have children of my own. I can't imagine what it would be that would make you better than you already are. In my mind you are the standard of what it means to be a mom and all else fail in comparison. I know I have to be biased in some form or fashion but I still can't help but believe in the deepest parts of me that I'm just pointing out what everyone else in the world would say if they knew you. I am proud because all of my friends who meet you love you and tell me how real and down to earth you are and how much they love that. I am proud because I never have anything to say when my friends complain about their moms. I am proud because people tell me what a gift it is to have a mother who doesn't expect their child to be someone their not and who doesn't nag or manipulate them. I am proud to be your daughter and I cry almost every time I leave home simply because of you. I'm never really sure why, but I do, and I think its because of how much I love you and I how deeply I value and cherish my time with you. I don't think all the weird feels of growing up and hormones help anything either.For the record I am able to pull myself together, as I think I should and as you probably would want me to as well, but there is something to be said for the emotional reaction stemming from love and respect that rises from within me when I dwell upon who you are and what you mean to me. Even now as I write this I am overwhelming proud, crying, and so beyond what the word thankful expresses when it comes to who you are. I am proud because you are a woman worth knowing and a mother worth becoming. You may compare yourself to others, but in my mind you have achieved it all. You have lived, you love well and set an example by your actions and life, you are graceful and beautiful in all of your ways but strong and firm at the same time. You are hilarious and so wise, you make life sweetly simple when i've turned it into a complicated mess in my mind. There are representations of mothers in everything around us and rarely do they meet the standard of what it truly means to be a mom as you have been to Maddie and I. I am thankful for the twenty two years I have gotten to be your daughter, my life would be so drastically different if I was anyone else's daughter and I am so thankful that Jesus had me as yours. Mom, as a woman I know there are tendencies to compare and to wonder how we measure up and the reality is that what the world throws at us as the standard really isn't an acceptable standard at all. Motherhood and being a woman isn't done well if it's only about the image. I think the standard is measured in the lives of those you impact and I believe only those who know you can tell you if you're doing it well or not. I believe you have achieved it all as to what it means to be a woman and a mother and there is no single thing I would change about you. You make me all sorts of emotional because of how much I love you and I wish i could look you in the eye and say these things but even writing about it now makes the tears increase at a faster rate so that would be a horrible hot mess that I don't need to create. Mom I am proud of who you are, of how you have lived and how you have loved. I am every bit of proud to be your daughter and to be like you without even trying to be. Mom in every ounce of my soul I am thankful for who you are. To me you are perfect and lovely and wonderful and there is no woman better than you. I am glad that you are you and nothing less, and especially that you are you and not the image that the world gives us to be. You are the reality of what it means to be a woman and a mom and to do it well. I absolutely adore you and am so underserving of such a normal and loving woman to love me as you have. Mom I know what it means to be a woman because of you and I am forever a better woman because how you have lived and loved me.

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