Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Thoughts on Octo-Mom vs Tot-Mom

I'm reminded of a quote I read a while ago in the New York Times, by Susan J. Douglas, author of The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women. She said, 'We have a long history in this culture of mother blame. Media images of the 'bad mother' serve to police all mothers. We still have a virgin-whore binary in American pop culture, and this governs motherhood as well." This virgin-whore binary can be seen in the polar opposite archetypes of the two stories that are captivating us right now.

Ironically, Nadya Suleman seems to have been trying to approach some idealized notion of the "good mother," of the mother who sacrifices all for her many children. But she took this idea too far, and it backfired on her. Suleman eerily has been trying to physically and psychically emulate Angelina Jolie, who herself has successfully co-opted the "good mother" image, adopting children of different races and ethnicities, one African, two Asian, so that she has become an uber-mother, which has changed her image from the punk girl who in 2000 kissed her brother at the Academy Awards and wore the blood of Billy Bob Thorton around her neck, making her more popular with the masses, especially women, than she was before she projected this image.

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