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Bad Mothers : The Politics of Blame in Twentieth-Century America - Molly Ladd-Taylor

Bad Mothers

The Politics of Blame in Twentieth-Century America

By: Molly Ladd-Taylor (Editor), Lauri Umansky (Editor)

Paperback Published: 1st January 1998
ISBN: 9780814751206
Number Of Pages: 422

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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" Mothers considers 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" Mothers marks an important contribution to the literature on motherhood.

" . . . a powerful volume of finely written essays."

-Journal of Social History

Introductionp. 1
Mending Rosa's "Working Ways": A Case Study of an African American Mother and Breadwinnerp. 31
The Sterilization of Willie Malloryp. 41
Hospitalizing Maria Germanip. 58
Taking on a Mother's Job: Day Care in the 1920s and 1930sp. 67
"Mother Made Me Do It": Mother-Blaming and the Women of Child Guidancep. 99
Mother-Blamingp. 127
Antiracism and Maternal Failure in the 1940s and 1950sp. 145
"Momism" and the Making of Treasonous Homosexualsp. 169
Bad/Good, Good/Bad: Birth Mothers and Adoptive Mothersp. 191
Nonmothers as Bad Mothers: Infertility and the "Maternal Instinct"p. 198
On Being the "Bad" Mother of an Autistic Childp. 220
"Immoral Conduct": White Women, Racial Transgressions, and Custody Disputesp. 230
The Making of a "Bad" Mother: A Lesbian Mother and Her Daughtersp. 252
Mothering to Deathp. 257
On a Hickory Limbp. 266
The Overprotective Motherp. 268
How to Be a Jewish Mother: A Very Lovely Training Manualp. 271
Murder in Alabama: American Wives Think Viola Liuzzo Should Have Stayed Homep. 273
Mothers Who Don't Know Howp. 280
"Fetal Rights": A New Assault on Feminismp. 285
Breastfeeding in the 1990s: The Karen Carter Case and the Politics of Maternal Sexualityp. 299
Rejecting Zoe Baird: Class Resentment and the Working Motherp. 310
Moms Don't Rock: The Popular Demonization of Courtney Lovep. 319
Murdering Mothersp. 334
On Fixing "Bad" Mothers and Saving Their Childrenp. 356
Poisonous Choicep. 381
Contributorsp. 403
Indexp. 407
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780814751206
ISBN-10: 0814751202
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 422
Published: 1st January 1998
Publisher: New York University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.68 x 15.29  x 2.69
Weight (kg): 0.58