Feminist Mothering

Edited by Andrea O'Reilly

Subjects: Women's Studies, Feminist, Family Studies, American Studies, Cultural Critique
Series: SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory
Paperback : 9780791475584, 295 pages, October 2008
Hardcover : 9780791475577, 295 pages, October 2008

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Table of contents

Andrea O’Reilly
Andrea O’Reilly
1. Professional Women, Timing, and Reproductive Strategies
Michele Y. Pridmore-Brown
2. “No, I’m Not Catholic, and Yes, They’re All Mine:” The Narratives of Feminist Mothering on the Tenure Track
Kecia Driver McBride
3. Feminism, Motherhood, and Possibilities in the Writing of Bronwen Wallace
Shelley Martin
4. Planned Parenthood: The Construction of Motherhood in Lesbian Mother Advice Books
Kristin G. Esterberg
5. The Voice of the Maternal in Louise Erdrich’s Fiction and Memoirs
Aimee E. Berger
6. African American Mothers: Victimized, Vilified, and Valorized
Shirley A. Hill
7. Mothering as Relational Consciousness
Amber E. Kinser
8. Feminist Family Values: Parenting in Third Wave Feminism and Empowering All Family Members
Colleen Mack-Canty and Sue Marie Wright
9. Feminist Motherline: Embodied Knowledge/s of Feminist Mothering
Fiona Joy Green
10. (Un)usual Suspects: Mothers, Masculinities, Monstrosities
Sarah Trimble
11. “That Is What Feminism Is—The Acting and Living and Not Just the Told”: Modeling and Mentoring Feminism
Andrea O’Reilly
12. Rocking the Boat: Feminism and the Ideological Grounding of the Twenty-First Century Mothers’ Movement
Judith Stadtman Tucker
13. Women Staging Coups through Mothering: Depictions in Hispanic Contemporary Literature
Gisela Norat
14. Maternal Activism: How Feminist Is It?
Janice Nathanson
15. Balancing Act: Discourses of Feminism, Motherhood and Activism
Pegeen Reichert Powell
List of Contributors

Essays explore a wide range of contemporary feminist mothering practices.


Feminist Mothering goes beyond critiques of patriarchal motherhood to locate and investigate feminist maternal practices as sites for women's empowerment and social change. The contributors see "feminist mothering" as practices of mothering that seek to challenge and change the norms of patriarchal motherhood that are limiting and oppressive to women. For many women, practicing feminist mothering offers a way to disrupt the transmission of sexist and patriarchal values from generation to generation. Contributors explore the ways in which women integrate activism, paid employment, nonsexist childrearing practices, and non-child-centered interests in their lives—and other caregivers into their children's lives—in order to challenge existing societal inequality and create new egalitarian possibilities for women, men, and families.

Andrea O'Reilly is Associate Professor in the School of Women's Studies at York University and Director of the Association for Research on Mothering. She is the author and editor of many books on mothering, including From Motherhood to Mothering: The Legacy of Adrienne Rich's Of Woman Born and Toni Morrison and Motherhood: A Politics of the Heart, both also published by SUNY Press.


"…the essays in this collection … will be useful in gender and women's studies courses … [and] will stimulate further analyses of inequities within the home, as well as discussions of the experiences of transgender feminist parents not represented in this volume." — Feminist Formations

"Feminism, political activism, late-in-life (either single or married), professional, heterosexual, African American, Native American, or lesbian mothering—if any of these topics is your area of research or personal interest, then you want to read this book … Reading it will stimulate your thinking about motherhood and feminist mothering from a number of diverse angles." — Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

"Andrea O'Reilly has assembled a collection of essays that explores the challenges of twenty-first-century motherhood in relation to the legacies of Second Wave feminism. With intelligence and passion, its contributors offer a variety of nuanced perspectives on women's efforts to act simultaneously on behalf of children and on behalf of themselves. Taken together, these essays remind us that carework—the work that mothers do—must be recognized as foundational to our political and personal well-being." — Meredith W. Michaels, coauthor of The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women