This was a very interesting read ... I sort of connected to it as a female-led "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Throw in some questionable time-travThis was a very interesting read ... I sort of connected to it as a female-led "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Throw in some questionable time-travel to a distant possible future, and it's that easy! This poor, struggling, welfare mother is abused by society, as so many of this class are, and she is stuck in a state mental institution where no one gives a shit about her or anyone there. The "patients" are basically lower than animals at a zoo! Doctors begin to use them as experiment subjects -- when the prison system won't allow it! So they are even lower in the human-class than prisoners, and everything they say is warped into some sort of ridiculous mental-illness label, and they are shot up with Thorazine. The future stuff comes in when a possible society tries to keep itself the actual future -- apparently it can change, then this future Consuelo sees won't ever come to exist. The future bits reminded me a bit of "Egalia's Daughters" because men and women are sort of subjective -- mothering is a career/job that men/women choose to be a part of, gender-roles are absent, polyamorous relationships abound, and that's just the way it is. In a parallel-possible future, women are built like Barbie dolls, locked up, and know life as a prostitution gig with the hopes of getting to the higher-up males in society.
If you can manage to suspend your attachment to real-life beliefs for a couple hundred pages, then this might be the book for you. ...more
This was a really good book about what effect the societal myths of motherhood and expectations of mothers in different decades has on daughters. TheThis was a really good book about what effect the societal myths of motherhood and expectations of mothers in different decades has on daughters. The author admits to a biased view, only telling anecdotes from the daughters' perspectives, not the mothers'. But this book isn't about the mothers, exclusively. Part of the significance is that it is a focus on the daughters and how they responded to mothering of various types (most extreme are those with verbally abusive & hypercritical mothers). The research is well done, the range of topics covered go from "intro to myths of motherhood," to importance of mother's nurturing/emotional attachment to children in general, to difference of mothering to siblings, to father's response to extremely critical mother or how he may or may not step in, to how a daughter chooses to mother when she becomes a mother herself.
I continue to dislike and feel uncomfortable with the title. I don't think "Mean" is the right adjective to describe a mother who is not as emotionally available as some mothers. I think of "Mean" as an intentional harshness or an unconscious harshness, but not as the distant mother, etc. However, once you change the adjective, the book would have to be about a narrower topic, so whatever. Ignore the title, basically.
Also, I didn't like the pervasiveness of becoming a mother as a healing process, etc. for the daughters. I mean, I get that a woman decides if kids are right for her, and lots decide that "yes, they are!" but I would like to see more on the women who choose not to become mothers (there are a few anecdotes, but it makes it seem like it's a rare phenomenon). This is my one problem with a Myths of Motherhood course I took, as well. But I suppose covering everything is a lot.
Anyway, a good book for anyone who takes an interest in women's studies, cultural implications of mothering, etc. ...more
I made it a quarter of the way through this book, and just haven't had any interest in picking it up -- I've read about 5 other books while "reading"I made it a quarter of the way through this book, and just haven't had any interest in picking it up -- I've read about 5 other books while "reading" this one. Anyway, I watched the movie last night, and that cinched my non-interest in continuing my non-reading of this book. ...more