Bad Mothers The Politics of Blame in Twentieth-Century America

ISBN-10: 0814751202

ISBN-13: 9780814751206

Edition: 1998

Authors: Molly Ladd-Taylor, Lauri Umansky

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. . . a powerful volume of finely written essays.Journal of Social History In the past quarter century, "bad" mothers have moved noticeably toward center stage in American culture. While Susan Smith will eventually fade from the tabloids, the monster mother that she represents has a storied and long history. Mothers have been blamed for a host of problems, from autism in children (due to chilly "refrigerator" mothers), to homosexuality (attributed to "smothering" moms), to welfare dependency and crime (caused by black "matriarchs" and single mothers). Some mothers are not good mothers. No one can deny that. There are women who neglect their children, abuse them, and fail to provide them with proper psychological nurturance. While such mothers have always stimulated the American imagination, the definition of what constitutes a bad mother has expanded significantly in recent years. Indeed, with a distinct minority of American families living the two-parent, one-worker lifestyle once considered the norm, we all face the discomfiting question, Do most mothers now qualify as "bad" mothers in one way or another? Drawing together the work of prominent scholars and journalists,"Bad" Mothersconsiders such diverse topics as the mother-blaming theories of psychological and medical "experts," bad mothers in the popular media, the scapegoating of mothers in politics, and the punitive approach to "bad" mothers by social service and legal authorities. The volume also includes the stories of individual "bad" mothers, from sterilization survivor Willie Mallory to rock star Courtney Love. Ably edited by two leading scholars,"Bad" Mothersmarks an important contribution to the literature on motherhood.
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Book details

Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 1/1/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 422
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

Lauri Umansky is Professor of History at Suffolk University and is the author of The New Disability History: American Perspectives  and "Bad Mother: The Politics of Blame in the Twentieth Century America . 

Mending Rosa's "Working Ways": A Case Study of an African American Mother and Breadwinner
The Sterilization of Willie Mallory
Hospitalizing Maria Germani
Taking on a Mother's Job: Day Care in the 1920s and 1930s
"Mother Made Me Do It": Mother-Blaming and the Women of Child Guidance
Antiracism and Maternal Failure in the 1940s and 1950s
"Momism" and the Making of Treasonous Homosexuals
Bad/Good, Good/Bad: Birth Mothers and Adoptive Mothers
Nonmothers as Bad Mothers: Infertility and the "Maternal Instinct"
On Being the "Bad" Mother of an Autistic Child
"Immoral Conduct": White Women, Racial Transgressions, and Custody Disputes
The Making of a "Bad" Mother: A Lesbian Mother and Her Daughters
Mothering to Death
On a Hickory Limb
The Overprotective Mother
How to Be a Jewish Mother: A Very Lovely Training Manual
Murder in Alabama: American Wives Think Viola Liuzzo Should Have Stayed Home
Mothers Who Don't Know How
"Fetal Rights": A New Assault on Feminism
Breastfeeding in the 1990s: The Karen Carter Case and the Politics of Maternal Sexuality
Rejecting Zoe Baird: Class Resentment and the Working Mother
Moms Don't Rock: The Popular Demonization of Courtney Love
Murdering Mothers
On Fixing "Bad" Mothers and Saving Their Children
Poisonous Choice
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