Susan Douglas Essay

Susan Douglas Essay-23
Today's mom needs to be a therapist, pediatrician, mind reader, caretaker, consumer safety expert and homemaker. She says there are four main factors that created the new Mom: "Fear, fantasy, marketing and politics." Douglas says, "I think motherhood is the unfinished business of the women's movement. Douglas defines "the new Momism," by saying, "It's a highly romanticized myth of the perfect mother. Her 'to do' list includes: piping Mozart into her womb, using algebra flash cards with her 6-month-old, teaching her 3-year-old to read James Joyce, driving five hours to a soccer match, and oh, yes, being sexy and cheerful through all of this." What are the roots of the "new Momism" - how did we get here?To distract yourself, and to avoid the glares of other shoppers who have already deemed you the worst mother in America, you leaf through People magazine.

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Central to the new momism, in fact, is the feminist insistence that woman have choices, that they are active agents in control of their own destiny, that they have autonomy.

But here's where the distortion of feminism occurs.

After dinner, you all go out and stencil the driveway with autumn leaves. You have fifteen minutes to make dinner because there's a school play in half an hour.

While the children fight over whether to watch Hot Couples or people eating larvae on Fear Factor, you zap some Prego spaghetti sauce in the microwave and boil some pasta. "Mommy, Mommy, Sam losted my hamster," your daughter wails.

Your ex-husband calls to say he won't be taking the kids this weekend after all because his new wife, Buffy, twenty-three, has to go on a modeling shoot in Virgin Gorda for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and "she really needs me with her." You go to the TV room to discover the kids watching transvestites punching each other out on Jerry Springer.

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The pasta boils over and scalds the hamster, now lying prostrate on the floor with its legs twitching in the air.

"Get your butts in here this instant or I'll murder you immediately," you shriek, by way of inviting your children to dinner.

"I hate this pasta -- I only like the kind shaped like wagon wheels! " If you're like us -- mothers with an attitude problem -- you may be getting increasingly irritable about this chasm between the ridiculous, honey-hued ideals of perfect motherhood in the mass media and the reality of mothers' everyday lives. " (and exhorting us to enter its pages and have great sex at 25, 35, or 85), the nightly news warning us about missing children, a movie trailer hyping a film about a cross-dressing dad who's way more fun than his stinky, careerist wife (Mrs. Laura telling some poor mother who works four hours a week that she's neglectful, the siren song blending seduction and accusation is there all the time.

Then, while you steamed the broccoli and poached the chicken breasts in Vouvray and Evian water, you and the kids would also be doing jigsaw puzzles in the shape of the United Arab Emirates so they learned some geography.

Your cheerful teenager would say, "Gee, Mom, you gave me the best advice on that last homework assignment." When your husband arrives, he is so overcome with admiration for how well you do it all that he looks lovingly into your eyes, kisses you, and presents you with a diamond anniversary bracelet.


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