Comm 411 Final SMORE

By: Fallon Gordy

Mothers in Novels

Novel: "We Need to Talk About Kevin"

In the novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, the unbearable repercussions of a child's horrific actions of shooting his classmates, teachers and family consume Kevin's mother, Eva. Eva is depicted as a mother who, since Kevin's birth, struggled to connect with him. This consumes her with guilt and frustration, which skyrocket after Kevin's incarceration for murder. The sadness and loneliness that Eva is faced with after Kevin kills her husband and youngest daughter, and Kevin, who is taken to prison is overwhelming and heart-wrenching. For me, the overall take-away from this novel is that being a mother is difficult and unpredictable. By choosing to have children we are choosing to allow them to be who they are and love them through it, even if your child kills a dozen people, because that is a mothers love.

Mothers in Advertisements

The Mother ‘Hood Official Video

Survey Results

After surveying present-day mothers and asking their opinions on commercials targeted to mothers, it is clear that advertisements do influence which products and services we purchase. However, this influence over mothers is unknown to them; Of the 15 mothers that were surveyed, 2 said "yes" that advertisements, like the one shown above, influence which products they purchase, 6 said "no" and 7 said "sometimes". These results were interesting because when asked, "In the past 12 months have you made a purchase as the direct result of seeing an advertisement?" 10 mothers said "yes" and only 5 mothers said "no" which means that they are, in fact, purchasing products because of mother-specific advertisements, however, they are not aware that they are doing so.

Mothers in Television

Mothers in the News

Baltimore mom: I don't want him to be a Freddie Gray

Baltimore Mother in Response to Riots

The mother shown in the above video represents the vast majority of mothers and how they are depicted in the media. Mothers are usually shown as over-protective, like the Baltimore mother shown above, of completely aloof and uncaring. This characterization of mothers restricts their identities and presents mothers to society as such that, only a mother. In the above clip, this Baltimore mother is described as a "single mother of five, with four girls and one boy." By only discussing her role as a mother, as many news stories do, we only see mothers in one role which only fuels the long-held stereotype that mothers are only mothers.

Mothers in Disney Films

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Sleeping Beauty and other Disney Films

In the Disney film Sleeping Beauty, and many others, the mothering figure is either killed, evil or completely absent. It has been speculated that the reason for this is because Disney films are so short and without a mother present, a child or character, is forced to grown-up and become independent. This is an interesting perspective and a logical one, however, by not including mothers in these frequently viewed children's films, children can feel confused by the lack of mother or devastating removal of a mother-like character. In my opinion, the subliminal messaging that Disney films without a strong mothering figure have on a young, developing child is potentially enormous and therefore it is the mother's role to monitor the content that her children are subjected to seeing.

The Feminine Mystique

In the novel, The Feminine Mystique, it is clear that not all women are happy in their mother- and wife-roles only. The phenomenon that women felt before the release of this novel was an overwhelming sensation of guilt and hopelessness. By denying their needs and desires to have a role and life outside of the home drove many women near crazy. As a society, the depiction of the "perfect housewife" or "home-room mom" whose only needs were the latest and greatest gadget for the kitchen only fueled this growing epidemic. This novel shows the importance of challenging oneself and not ever becoming complacent in life. By not utilizing our brains or working to improve one, we are all destined to become victims of the Feminine Mystique.

Mothers in Films

Mothers in films are generally shown in a very stereotypical way, as either a helicopter mom, working mother or mother who just can't balance it all. By predominately only showing mothers in these ways, we as an audience, do not get a holistic representation of what motherhood is truly like. The more images of mothers either being an all-good or an all-bad, the more we set unrealistic expectations for real-life mothers.It was very eye opening to see the ways in which mothers are shown in films through this course.

Mothers in Magazines

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After researching and reading different magazines from different decades, it is clear that motherhood has evolved greatly over the past 100 years. The roles of motherhood have shifted and the articles that women's magazines publish reflect these shifts. From the 1960's housewife and stay-at-home mother to the present day "working mother" we can see how the interests of mothers have changed. The articles from the 1960's were centered on hosting business dinners for one's husband or baking the perfect homemade cake for a child's birthday party. Nowadays, the articles, generally, focus on a mother as a mom and an individual woman, which subjects like breastfeeding or formula, the best summer camps for kids and weeknight meals. This evolution is empowering and exciting, by writing articles about a mother's needs as both a mother and a woman, society can begin to view mothers in both roles.

Children and Teens

Renesmee & Bella
Children and teen movies portray motherhood in different ways, such as overprotective, aloof, evil, etc. These depictions are particularly important because of the audience that these films and shows reach, children and teenagers. Whether the film over-glamorizes or unfairly condemns motherhood is something that all parents should be mindful of when deciding which shows their children should watch. By not fully showing the struggles, joys, and daily occurrences that accompany motherhood, a distorted image is cast. Shows such as The Secret Life of the American Teenager or Teen Moms, children and young adults view only a slice of the responsibility, sacrifice and time that is required by a parent. The best way to combat these influences is to actively monitor and regulate the types and amount of time a child spends watching television or movies.

Mothers in Music

John Lennon - Mother

Through learning about motherhood and how it is portrayed in music, it was clear that there are not many songs that pertain to motherhood. The limited number of songs that do discuss motherhood, predominately, refer to the comfort of "momma's house" or are an ode to mothers. These songs about motherhood are sweet, sentimental and charming. However, as mentioned before, these types of songs are difficult to come by. The importance of songs like these is that is serves are a defense mechanism against the over-worked, constantly stressed out, and sometimes-crazy depiction of mothers that we see in mainly in most other forms of media. These feel-good songs provide a small buffer and reminder to us all that good, loving, supportive mothers do and will continue to exist.

Mothers in Surveys

The surveys that were completed by mothers that I know were very eye-opening. The responses made it clear that most women wish that they could have/be a stay-at-home mother, yet few actual are stay-at-home. Additionally, the younger the mother, there was an increase in the number of televisions present in the home and the number hours of watching television allowed for the children. This shift in television usage reflects the changing roles of mothers; many mothers work and rely on the quick and accessible activity of watching television in order to complete the increasing number of tasks required with everyday. Also, from my research, mothers tend to respond favorable and consequently purchase products that are advertised by showing accurate depictions of motherhood.


Throughout this course, I have learned so much about what it means to be a mother in real-life and in the eyes of society. By researching and reading about the different ways that mothers are characterized and depicted in the media was shocked and empowering. After learning so much about the ways in which mothers are negatively, positively, or not at all shown in our society, I feel confident that I will be a more equipped, smart and understanding parents, someday. The lack of mothers in Disney films was one of the most shocking things that I learned in this course; as an avid Disney-movie watcher as a child, it was startling to realize how many movies have no mothering figure or an all-bad figure. Additionally, the over-glamorized depiction of motherhood in children and teen movies was alarming. Now, knowing how poorly and misrepresented some of these films and television shows are of mothers, I will like it will directly influence the way I raise my children. I grew up in a household with no cable and only a few Disney movies that we were able to watch. I always thought that once I had children of my own that I would make sure that they were not deprived of cable like I was, however, after this course I feel like I will not want cable in my household once I have children. This course made me appreciate my mother and all the hard work, sacrifice, and love that she showered over me as a child. I want to make sure that I play an active, hands-on role when I become a parent and make sure my children understand that the media, usually, does not depict people (and mothers specifically) in a holistic, truthful manner.