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ERIC Number: EJ827309
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-0951-8398
Performing Motherhood in a Disablist World: Dilemmas of Motherhood, Femininity and Disability
Malacrida, Claudia
International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), v22 n1 p99-117 Jan 2009
Women are expected to aspire to norms of femininity that include ideal motherhood, where mothers are positioned as ever available, ever nurturing providers of active, involved and expert mothering--indeed, being a caregiver is a master status for adult women in modernity. While this may be the case for all women, mothers who are disabled can have more a complicated relationship to ideal motherhood than others, because they are perceived of either as asexual and inappropriate to the role of motherhood, or conversely because they are seen as sexually victimized and at risk. This study examines the contradictions and tensions embedded in disabled mothers' performances of ideal motherhood, drawing on qualitative interviews with 43 Canadian mothers with a variety of disabilities. The article examines how women with disabilities reconcile the demands of ideal mothering against the realities of their disabilities. I ask how these women perform motherhood in ways that will undermine or challenge the perceptions of others. It also attends to the ways that normative orders relating to femininity and motherhood are embedded in mothers' social interactions with peers, helping professionals and structures such as funding and care provision policies. Despite these barriers, however, women with disabilities go to creative and extraordinary lengths in order to be seen as complying with ideal motherhood, perhaps as a way to lay claim to a maternal and sexual identity that society frequently denies them. The experiences of mothers with disabilities as they negotiate the tensions of ideal motherhood permit us to see the challenges this construct poses for all women, and thus they call for a feminist politics that will challenge this ideal and work for change in the lived experiences of mothering. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada