Stephanie Solis


Many novels that portray mothers mostly show them as always trying to do what is right for their child and being the protector. There are few novels that have the mother putting their interest before their child’s. For my novel project I chose the book My Hollywood by Mona Simpson. The novel is about two women Claire, a new mom who just moved to Lost Angeles and Lola, who is Claire’s nanny. The novel follows them through this journey of raising a child and the good and bad things that come along with that. You also get to see this mother/nanny relationship and how they bond.


One thing that I have noticed after doing my film project is that many movies portray mothers as unfunny and in a stereotypical way. Many of the mothers in the films are housewives or may have a job but still do the house work. They are also portrayed as very serious and none of them really have a sense of humor. It is not until mid-90’s/early 00’s that mothers have jobs, take care of their family and they have a sense of humor. I choose Back to the Future as my film and I noticed that his mother was portrayed as unhappy in the beginning when no one really helped her out or pays attention to her. At the end of the movie, when everyone actually pays attention and is nice to her she is just so much happier. Her whole persona is just different and she even looks better physically. Throughout the movie she is portrayed mostly as a caretaker of her family. This movie is just another example of how mothers are portrayed stereotypically in films.

Back to the Future: Marty's new family


When it comes to the television shows, many of them represent mothers in a stereotypical way. The mother or mother figure is always portrayed as the caretaker and the protector. In the early years of television shows, if the father was single it was usually because he was widowed and they always brought in some sort of mother figure. Also in the early years of television mothers are portrayed as domesticated housewives. In the 1960s television shows introduced the working mother. As time goes on television shows have progressed to portraying mothers as more than just housewives, they are single mothers and working mothers.


After presenting the “Mothers in the News” this semester I noticed that the majority of the things that were published about mothers were mostly negative. Anytime I looked for an article I could only find things that put mothers in a bad light. There were very few uplifting or positive articles about mothers. I believe that the news only wants to publish the negative articles because it would get more publicity. Every day we hear or read about negative or horrible things that happen when it comes to mothers, but we only rarely hear or read about the positive and uplifting stories.


For my advertising project I decided to choose three advertisements from the 1950’s. I picked ones that seemed a little more controversial than most advertisements. Going into this project I thought many mothers would agree that most of the advertisements were not effective in selling its product. But I was wrong many mothers actually believed that they were effective, for the time period. Overall, many advertisements portray mothers in very stereotypical ways, like the housewife that cooks and cleans. Even current advertisements are still portrayed this way. When in reality mothers are so much more than just housewives that love to cook and clean. They are women who do so much more than cook and/or clean.


For the magazine project I chose to do Cosmopolitan magazine from the year 1985. The majority of the articles published were about love and intimacy and the next most published were about career and workplace, and novels. To me 1985 seemed like a turning point for women. The issues of Cosmopolitan from that year talked about things that most people were afraid to talk about. There were articles about deciding not to have children, being divorced, infertility, top career women, and becoming a step parent. Many of these topics no one would of even discussed a few years before. These articles talked about many things that people did not speak of at the time. They really pushed the limit for women and changed the preconceived ideas on what was “right and wrong” for women to do.

The Feminine Mystique

Many women at the time were stay at home mothers that only had the job of raising the children and being a homemaker. These women were starting to become very depressed and were feeling unsatisfied with their lives. They started seeing therapists but nothing helped. These women were losing themselves and felt like they had no identity other than being a mother and housewife. These women weren’t satisfied with their lives. They wanted more than what they had they needed something to make them feel like they had an identity. One women said that she always felt like she was just her husband wife’s or her children’s mother never herself.

Disney Films

When it comes to mothers in Disney films, the one thing I have noticed is they are usually absent mothers or cruel mother figures. Many times when the mother is absent, there is usually either a father figure or cruel mother figure that takes the mothers place. Even when a mother is there they usually have a tragic way that they are separated from their child. There are very few Disney movies where the mother or mother figure is actually portrayed as a good and not cruel. When a mother is present they are usually portrayed as primary caregivers and protectors.

Children and Teens

When it comes to children’s books many of them do not show mothers in any way. The few children’s books that actually do show mothers barely have any portrayed as working mothers, single parents, or blended families. The mothers that are portrayed in children’s books are portrayed in stereotypical ways. These mothers are usually caregivers and protectors. When it comes to teenage movies and television shows, many mothers are portrayed as either absent, controlling, or protective. Most of the time in teenage movies and shows the mother is very protective of their child resulting in them to argue and not see things the same way.


When surveying the mothers I did not think many of them would answer the questions the way that they did. After each survey I felt like we got to know more about mothers in general. One question I found interesting was if given the choice how often would you have worked when your children were under eighteen? Half of the mothers answered none but the other half said they wanted to work even if it was just part time. I think that with this question in particular that mothers just want to be a mother and have their own identity, and working gives them that. I had a preconceived notion about how the mothers would answer, but these survey results gave me a better view on what mothers actually think.


Mothers are portrayed in many different ways when it comes to music. When it comes to what these songs are about, it does not depend on the genre of music. Many genres talk about the same thing when it comes to mothers. Most music about mothers is showing how thankful and how much they appreciate all that their mother did for them. Some of the music about mothers is an apology to their mothers for the things they did or did not do. There are very few songs about there they talk about mothers out of anger in a negative way.

Final Summary

Dear Mom,

When I first started taking this class I thought everything was going to be very simple when it came to motherhood. I thought that I knew all there was to know about motherhood and I would find out the rest whenever I have a child of my own. Mothers aren’t always portrayed as they are in real life. They are usually portrayed very stereotypically. After reading The Feminine Mystique, I realized that these housewives did not have it easy. They were starting to lose themselves in their day-to-day lives. Doing all the housework, and taking care of their families was starting to take a toll on them. They were losing themselves and most importantly their identities. When it comes to novels, films, television shows, advertisements, and magazines mothers are usually portrayed as stereotypical housewives who stay at home and if they do work it’s a job that “women should do”. When it comes to news articles, most of the things that are published portray mothers in such a negative way. You rarely see these uplifting stories about mothers. After analyzing all of these different media outlets it really gave me insight on how mothers are portrayed to the world throughout time. These media outlets portray mothers in somewhat of a truthful way but they are so much more than a housewife, primary caregiver, and protector. They are supermoms, working moms, and our heroes. I just want to tell you thank you for all that you do. I may not say it enough but I do appreciate all that you do for me and all that you continue to do.



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