By: Myles Osborne
I would first like to say, thank you. Thank you for overcoming the pressures that society puts on you to be the perfect mother. Thanks for being genuinely you. Thank you for teaching me all that I know. Thank you for allowing me to watch Disney movies, but for always teaching me what it is to be an imperfect good mother, and an imperfect beautiful daughter. This semester I have learned through time what it has meant to be a mother, and from what I can tell, it hasn't been easy. From the time you were a little girl, there were ads telling women to wear dresses, please men, cook well, and clean the house all while looking like a Barbie. By the time you became a mother, it was becoming more and more acceptable for women to not be super mom. But you are super mom! You have worked and managed to be an incredible mom. You cook delicious meals, taught me how to do my laundry, and you even helped me to buy a car. Though you don't wear pearls, and the first thing you do when you get home is get in your pajamas, turn on the TV, and rest, you are super mom. There are so many factors telling you to be a perfect mom to other peoples standards, but you are that perfect mom! Thank you, you deserve more credit, and this class helped me realize the pressures you are under.
I love you,
Reconstructing Amelia written by Kimberly McCreight showed me a contemporary view of motherhood in novels. The thing I most appreciated about this portion of the class, was that a novel is catered to every person. For example, Reconstructing Amelia caters to a mother who has suffered a loss of a daughter, or who is a single mother. In our class we had books from all different cultural backgrounds, time periods, and subject matter. I thought it was great because each person can find a novel that caters to them, and there is such a wide array of options. Not only does it cater to each person, but they are entertaining and it was good to hear of mothers in books that relate to you.
As a class, we had the opportunity to see a wide array of mothers and what they portray in the movies. My project was on Pride and Prejudice, and the mother in the movie was so concerned with her daughters, that she could think of not much else. Seeing other movies we saw different depictions of mothers and mother figures. Such as Maria in the Sound of Music, though not a mother but a mother figure, nurtured and cared for the children as if they were her own. This is another project that I found many different genres so any person can relate, which I appreciated. Every mom can find a movie, that in a sense resonates with her.
Pride & Prejudice (1/10) Movie CLIP - Mr. Bingley's Single (2005) HD
Having the opportunity to watch clips from different Television series through time was most beneficial. We were able to see how the mothers were depicted, and how they changed. For example the mothers from older television were generally depicted as house wives that wore their pearls while cooking dinner for the family, in their dresses. They were the ultimate housewife. In contrast with the present, we see a lot of sitcom mothers that are more independent and have more of an identity of their own. The most challenging part of this section was the project where we had to find movie clips from 5 different shows. The clips were hard to find on Youtube, and watching 5 shows was a lot to find.
Exploring different ads was interesting because there are different means that people receive these ads. We get them on TV, the internet, billboards, magazines, and so many more places. Ads are the ultimate way that we are subjected to products. Because of this, ads try to cater to who is going to buy their product. In the ads that I used, they were commercials that would be considered "tear jerkers," to any mom that watched them. Because of this, I thought it would be interesting to see how the moms would react to the ads. It made me more aware of the way they pull you in, and make you want to buy their product. The moms also pointed out that half the time they didn't even know what they were selling, which I found interesting. If they aren't making it clear what they are selling, what is their overall goal in the ad? Is it just branding, or specifically selling the product. This definitely made me think because ads are such a big part of our lives.
pregnant 1 Publix Mother's Day Commercial
Every day coming in to a fresh start of different news articles was fascinating. We were able to see stories that were filled with tragedy and joy. Hearing stories of good mothers who bad things happened to, and truly awful mothers who inflicted horrors upon their children. This was one of two things that gave us insight into real life mothers. It also pleasantly surprised me how many news stories there were about mothers, they were easy to find and often in the headlines. I concluded that mothers are well represented in news articles. Though we did experience some stories that would headline with the word "Mother," just to grab your attention, and then the story would not mention her again, which I found intriguing.
Betty Friedan created a book that was revolutionary to women during the time period. She explained a sickness that housewives had. It was a physical sickness that these women were experiencing, and it was because they were bored. The women thought they were the only ones experiencing a discontentment in their lives, and the Feminine Mystique brought this to the surface. This was fascinating seeing how liberated we are, and yet how far we have to go until women are equal. We were able to discuss things like the pay gap between men and women, and the opportunities we have as women to do what we truly desire to do.
While studying Disney films, it was shocking to me how absent mothers were from the movies. I have watched Disney movies, gone to Disney World, and entirely been engulfed by Disney my entire life and never noticed this absence of mothers. More shocking than the absence, was the tragedies of how the mothers died, that were so common. The deaths included pirate ships, car wrecks, and barracuda attacks to name a few. These tragic deaths being shown to children of all ages was something that never occurred to me, and definitely impacted me in my awareness of the presence of mothers in what we are showing our children.
Brave - Mother Daughter Relationship | Official Disney HD
Because each group had a different year, though they were different magazines, we had the opportunity to see how magazines changed throughout time. What stuck out to me the most was the amount of articles and how they were concentrated through time. The earliest magazines empowered women to be independent and driven, but as it went on, the articles shifted towards outward appearances and things like having the perfect home decorations. Women read these articles, and it shapes what they will buy, and how they will act. These magazines have a large sway over women, and it is intriguing to see what is depicted through time in them.
The surveys were really interesting because we had the opportunity to hear from women that we knew and respected. The women that I polled each had a special place in my heart, and I valued what they had to say. The responses, though they were not as easy to get as initially thought, were valuable assets to this class. Getting to compare real life women, to the women in the ads, television shows, films, books, and other things really helped to give a real life spin on what we were learning. I got to talk in person with women who were enlightened by the surveys, especially the Disney films survey.
Children and Teens
What was compelling about this section of class was the misrepresentation that mothers portray. A large majority of women in contemporary society are working women. Day care, nannies, and babysitters are a significant aspect of many children's lives. The amount of mothers that were portrayed as working mothers was significant because there were so little. I understand why the mothers are presented in the children's books as constantly saying they love their children, and over nurturing, but the diversity of mothers seems to be lacking. Single mothers and career mothers which are a large percentage of mothers in todays society are misrepresented by numbers.
The music portion made me reflect on a more personal level my own life and the mothers that I am surrounded by. I realized how many songs are focused on mothers compared to other things like sex and alcohol. The amount is extremely not proportional, especially for someone who grew you inside of their wombs. As for this portion though, I was able to go through and see what a wonderful mother my sister is. It was lovely to get to watch her story of a mom unfold as I was going through pictures and reminiscing on her journey to motherhood. Though the song I chose was from the point of view of the mothers son, it was still special to get to honor my sister in her motherhood.