I’ve been hammering away all weekend at the stereotype of motherhood. First, while some stereotypes have the potential to be positive, there are probably more dangers in stereotyping than we care to admit or realize. I believe stereotypes blinds us from the uniqueness of an individual and serves to categorize them in groups making it easier to maintain assumptions about them. Essentially, a stereotype is a one-size-fits all mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.
Mothers are human, not gods, or goddesses. They make mistakes, have character flaws, and not all of them are the same, nor do they bring the same talents to the table. I would hazard that many mothers are also sexual beings, engage in fellatio, are not that nurturing, can't cook, or generally have what we as a society have decided are "un-mother-like" attributes.
And we give them one day of the year where we offer bullshit Hallmark platitudes and pigeon-hole them. Then we spend the rest of the year, as individuals and as a society, enacting policies that are often hostile to mothers. I have more to say on this, but for now I’ll share the following post I came across the other day.
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-=[ The Seven Deadly Stereotypes of Motherhood ]=-
The woman Wonders in Pink shared a list that included the seven most common deadly stereotypes of moms...
Bon Bon-Eating Mom
Stay-at-home moms don't do anything all day but watch TV and eat bon bons. Stay-at-home moms are loving and nurturing but their brains are mush.
Working moms are selfish careerists who neglect their kids. Working moms are competent and intelligent but cold and uncaring.
Supermom is the perfect nurturing mom -- always attentive to the kids, doesn't miss a school event, bakes the brownies from scratch -- plus the Do-it-All Mom is the perfect professional career woman -- always available for work, stays on the fast track and makes it to CEO - plus she has a perfect marriage, perfect sex life and perfect kids.
24/7 Bliss Mom
Good mothers love every minute of it, never feel ambivalent, never have a bad day, never yell at their kids, and are always smiling, relaxed and in control.
Long-Suffering/ Martyr Mom (aka Marianismo)
Good mothers always put their family's interests ahead of their own. Good mothers do not have their own needs and interests, and do not seek their own fulfillment.
Good mothers are glamorous; young, attractive, perfectly fit, designer dressed, perfectly coiffed - and so are their children.
Domestic Goddess Mom
Good mothers love to do housework, are obsessed with cleaning. Only mothers are capable of housework. Good mothers have a spotless house and do everything from scratch; home-cooked meals, perfect birthday parties, and crafts.
For the mothers out there: what stereotype do you think the world sees you as? Which one can you relate to the most?
I will never say I can know what being a mother feels like, but I was the primary caregiver to a child least seven years, and that gave me sense of how little that kind of work is valued. For example, if mothers and motherhood is such a great thing -- something so “divine” “blah, blah, blah... ” then why don’t we pay them? In a capitalist society, I find it odd that a role that’s considered primal, is not valued, economically speaking. In fact, most people would consider such a proposition absurd, and those people make my point.
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization...
Postscript: Not that I would claim insight into what being a mother actually entails, but I was a stay-at-home father and primary care-giver for a child for several years..