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The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women Paperback – Bargain Price, February 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
I love the way most of this book is written and I think it's hilariously funny except that it's not, iykwim. It's a very pithy history of feminism and 'good mother'hood -- what they are, what they're not, what they could be, and what various folks would like you to think they should be -- from the perspective of 'real' women (ie not 'experts') with real opinions which they are unafraid of expressing.
For the most part, I highly recommend this book. As women of all ages, we should know about and understand the context in which we are living our lives.
*** (Caveat: Parts of the last chapter can be skipped entirely. I think that's where the authors themselves got a wee bit sidetracked and possibly even a mite self-righteous. It is apparently inconceivable to them that some women might make choices different from theirs for reasons that don't fit so well into the binary paradigm the authors have attempted to describe. Rather than taking sides in the "Mommy Wars" perhaps they might have returned to their original proposition that many women are ambivalent about their life choices; in truth, there are trade offs no matter what you do, and life choices span a range of A to Z, not merely A or B. It's a shame, because I really LOVED the rest of this book. It's still very much worth reading, and offers PLENTY of food for thought.) ***
However, after I got this message, established in the opening chapters of the book, the mocking tone that the authors are fond of using began to grate and I feel that they take their hypothesis too far.
I appreciate the section regarding welfare mothers and the illuminating contrasts of media representations of moms. I like being reminded that I don't have to love and adore parenting every single moment in order to be a good parent. (Though the authors seem to believe that the only way to combat not loving every moment is to get away to your real job and make sure the kids are in a comprehensive system of government sponsored child care.)
However, the authors seem to clearly feel like there is a right way to mother--and that is to reject the cozy media images of motherhood that tell you the right way to mother (ironic, eh?). They do not seem to believe that there are mothers out there who truly believe in homeschooling, homebirthing, babywearing, extended breastfeeding, etc. and who enjoy their lives with their children (not all aspects, granted, but do enjoy it). Or, if they do recognize that some mothers are committed to these concepts, they seem to feel that those mothers have stupidly bought into a vast conspiracy to undermine women (not that they might hold these ideals because they actually make sense!).Read more ›
A central theme of The Mommy Myth is the ways women have been set against each other -- black vs. white, rich vs. poor, careerist vs. stay-at-home, parent vs. nonparent, -- in a series of sensationalized media catfights, thus destroying and/or subverting most of the gains of feminism.
A fascinating overview of media distortion and cultural brainwashing on such topics as "welfare mothers" (the proportions of welfare recipients who are black, who are single black women with more than two children, or who are teen mothers, are far, far from what the public has been led to believe) and news coverage of nonevents like Satanic day care sex rings and "crack babies" (turns out there's no such thing).
The chapter on marketing to children ("targets," according to the industry) is chlling.
Book is marred by overuse of cutesy, hip language: way too many "whatever"s "No, no, no"s and similes drawn from famous names in pop culture. But that alone didn't lose it the fifth star.
The worst flaw, in my opinion, is Douglas' and Michaels' serious misreading of attachment parenting. Reading over some of the reviews here, it seems that lost them a lot of symphathetic readers, too. Attachment parenting simply is not part of the artificially intensified mothering phenonmenon that the authors are exposing here. It's not a "fad" and it doesn't make mothers feel inadequate. In fact, one reason that I like it -- and the reason why I believe it when proponent Sears claims it's natural -- is because it's so much easier. Baby cries? Pick him or her up. Baby doesn't like to sleep alone?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Susan J. Douglas is professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; she has also written the books Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Steven H Propp
Clear but comprehensive writing. The tone isn't smug, it's humorous. Great if you like feminist essays, and still great if you have an open mind to critically analyzing the world... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Leif
Love this book! Very interesting whether you have kids or not, are planning to someday or not. A lot of history I didn't know (Nixon vetoed a bill that would have provided... Read morePublished 17 months ago by T. Carroll
Great job "Professor Douglas." Because of privileged upper-middle class white women like you and your fake liberation ideology, the prospect of a young woman finding a man today... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Boetius
I got my book in a timely fashion and it was even put in Kindle form for me. But the book was old and the front cover tore from the front of the book. :*(Published on June 24, 2014 by Jeanette Gilbert
The overall message is important and the writers are witty and engaging, but I'm not pleased with how much it swings in the opposite direction-- attacking children hands-on parents... Read morePublished on November 24, 2013 by Juniper
This is the best book on motherhood I have ever read. The best way to approach this book is as a research piece, rather than an indictment on or endorsement of any specific type of... Read morePublished on January 5, 2013 by NZ