The Feminine Mystique
The Feminine Mystique is a novel that describes many women throughout the United States as having a similar dissatisfaction and unhappy lifestyle despite the fact that they were happily married and had a few children. “The problem that has no name” was seen by a majority of U.S. women because they led unfulfilling lives that gave themselves no satisfaction or purpose in life. Women were more than just wives and house-keepers. Women were intelligent and wanted to put their talents to use instead of cleaning the house or watching over the baby. This book was a powerful message to women everywhere because it encouraged women to go out and explore and find out what was meaningful to them and gave them happiness.
After reading the novel, The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe, I learned that relationships can be easily mended with the right amount of time and effort; especially the relationship between a mother and a daughter. Despite the fact that Cara’s mother, Lovie, spent most of her energy devoted to preserving baby loggerhead sea-turtles, Cara was able to forgive her mother when she learned that Lovie was only trying to save Cara from a traditional southern future that she was destined for. Although, their relationship was strained for many years, the one thing that brought them back together was the possibility of starting a fresh and new relationship.
Mothers in television shows are portrayed very differently depending on the time period of the show and the genre of the show. In Pretty Little Liars there are five very different type of mothers. Aria’s mother is free-spirited and encourages her children to express themselves through various artistic channels. Hanna’s mother is an independent single mother while Emily’s mom is very traditionalistic and believes in traditional moral values. Spencer’s mom is a workaholic and typically puts her job before her kids. Lastly, Allison’s mother believes that image is everything and does everything in her power to make sure that everybody knows that they have a perfect little family. I think this show is highly relatable because there are a variety of mothers that daughters can relate to having.
Throughout the course of the semester many surveys have been given and many responses have been recorded. I have learned that a lot of mothers are pretty similar in their responses, but differ in the fact that they all each have their own unique experiences. I have also learned that most mothers are willing to give advice to new mothers because they want other people to learn from their own mistakes. The most important thing that I’ve learned from these groups of mothers is that it is ok to make mistakes when it comes to dealing with children. No mother is perfect and no mother should have to be because in order to learn you need to make mistakes.
Children & Teens
When it comes to children books a majority of the mothers are absent in the story or the story-line doesn’t include a mother, which is ironic because I’m sure the person reading the book to the child is a mother. Only a few popular children books acknowledge a mother in a story. In regards to teen books there seems to be a lot of tension and disagreements between a mother and child which I’m sure a lot of kids can relate to because during the teenage years kids are trying to become autonomous and independent. During this time period parents are also struggling with the fact that they need to give their child some freedom and room to make mistakes so they can learn from them.
Nyquil - This advertisement shows that moms are super-moms and are always on the go and taking care of their children. I think that mothers should be able to take sick days because they deserve a break every once in a while.
Jif - This advertisement portrays that only good mothers choose Jif because other mothers who are not choosy would choose another brand of peanut butter that is not as good or as healthy for their children. I think this ad is ineffective because it doesn’t show any health benefits that would lead a mother to choose this brand of peanut butter.
Swiffer - This advertisement expresses that mothers are constantly cleaning and picking up after their children. I found this ad to the be the most offensive because mothers are more than just house-keepers.
Mothers in the News
Mothers in the news are portrayed very poorly, especially if the news report is about them being an unfit mother. The media tends to construe all of their actions and make the situation worse than it actually is. Rather then focusing on the situation or act that occurred, the media focuses mainly on the characteristics of the mother and blames them profusely. Granted, a majority of the mothers on the news who did unfit and unforgivable acts to their child should be shamed and criticized, but it shouldn’t be taken out of proportion because there are some mothers who just simply make mistakes.
Film & Disney Film
The musical drama, The Sound of Music, does not portray an actual mother in the film, however there are mother-figures throughout the storyline. Maria and Baronness Elsa Schraeder are both given the opportunity to become the mother for the seven von Trapp children, but ultimately the children favor Maria because she brings back music into their household by teaching them how to sing and perform. Eventually, Maria does end up becoming the children’s real mother and goes on to fulfill this role by loving and protecting the children from the war that is going on in Germany. The main take-away point that I took from this film was that a mother-figure can come from the most unlikely of people and that they do not necessarily have to be the biologically related to the children.
Mothers in disney films are hardly ever represented, yet if they are included, very little information about them is ever given. With most disney films the mother is either dead or absent, or the mother or mother-figure is actually present and seen as being protective and loving. There is no middle ground for a mother in a disney film. If a mother isn’t included it’s usually because they want to portray the main character as strong and independent, but if a mother or mother-figure is included it typically means that the character needs some help and guidance along the way.
Magazines in 1980 gave a lot of advice on big and fluffy hairstyles, funky fashion choices, and surprisingly encouraged women to be in business and join the army. With Glamour magazine the writers introduced a lot of controversial topics and wanted women to express their opinions by including write-in letters that were to be sent back to the magazine. A majority of the articles throughout the year were job-related and inspired women to take control of their lives by asking for a raise and learning how to handle your boss. This magazine even presented an article where gender roles were reversed, thus encouraging equality amongst women and men.
Mr. Mom by Lonestar takes a different approach on the representations of motherhood. Rather than portray mothers throughout the video, this song gives thanks to dads all over the world who are either taking on the role of a mother or who are simply being a mother for the day. Although moms are seen as the primary caregivers for children, fathers also play an important role in a child’s life. This video shows that dads can do everything that mothers do, maybe not as good as mom would have done it, but dads definitely do try their best.
Mothers have come a long way throughout the years. They have continued to make strides in the workforce and in motherhood. From housewife to CEO of a large company, mothers are showing that balancing a family and job is very realistic and doable. This class has shown me that mothers come in every shape, size, and personality. However, the one thing that all mothers have in common is the love they have for their children. The relationship I have with my mother isn’t the greatest, but it isn’t the worst either. From this class I’ve learned that I need to be less critical and give her some credit because she did the best that she could. I know when it came to raising my sister and I that she gave it her all and I should be thankful for that because there are mothers out in this world who do not give 100% when it comes to raising their child. Throughout this class I’ve learned that mothers in general get criticized a lot, and personally that makes me quite sad because as women we shouldn’t be tearing each other down, but we should be helping by building themselves up and encouraging them to keep trying even if mistakes happen. Now when it comes to my child, I can only hope that I will be able to give the same amount of love that my mother has given me because if there is one thing that I know about my mother it is that she has given me unconditional love.