The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women

The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women

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The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women by Susan J. Douglas, Meredith W. Michaels

Taking readers on a provocative tour through thirty years of media images about mothers — the superficial achievements of celebrity moms, the sensational coverage of dangerous day care, the media-manufactured "mommy wars" between working mothers and stay-at-home moms, and more — The Mommy Myth contends that this "new momism" has been shaped by out-of-date mores, and that no matter how hard they try, women will never achieve it. In this must-read for every woman, Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels shatter the myth of the perfect mom and all but shout, "We're not gonna take it anymore!"

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743259996
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 02/03/2004
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.44(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.23(d)

About the Author

Susan J. Douglas is the Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination, Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media, and Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922. Her journalistic articles have appeared in The Nation, Ms., In These Times, TV Guide, and The Progressive.

Meredith W. Michaels is a writer who doubles as a philosophy professor at Smith College. Her research and writing focus on the way that cultural changes affect our understanding of reproduction, parenthood, and childhood.

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The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Douglas and Michaels join the very media catagory that they proclaim are undermining women. They do not miss an opportunity to take jabs at mothers who stay at home or who are happy being around her kids for the better part of the day. The book does make some good points, but they are buried underneath the authors' condescending comments about mothers who do not make the same choices or have the same likes/dislikes. There are certainly problems with the way mothers are portrayed in the media, but this book does nothing to help. I was hoping to find a judgement-free book that promotes a unity among all women (working, stay-at-home, celebrity, poor, etc.) to fight what they've named the 'Mommy Myth.' Instead, I got a lot of snide comments about lifestyle choices.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A big hearty thanks to the brilliant women who wrote this hilarious though troubling book about the many new challenges facing women today. I found this book so liberating and comforting. Ironically after years of wondering if I was I just too selfish, lazy and imperfect to bring a child into this insane violent world while maintaining my own vocational and social interests, this book helped me see that my trepidition was largely based on the MEDIA-hyped illusion that anyone can achieve the ABSURD and contradictory expectations placed on women today. The book's survey of how the media has often prayed on womens' deepest insecurities and love for their children was enlightening--and while some of the criticism may seem obvious, en masse one fully appreciates the awesome cultural impact on our collective unconscious. Thank you---now I actually feel like I could be a loving succssful parent without losing myself in that self-loathing, neurotic abyss of unachievable mom/woman/wife standards. This book stresses our shared humanity and most importantly our need for societal help in childrearing. Even for those women who have the luxury of staying home with their children, to expect any one person to be a fulltime caregiver/homemaker without outside assistance is naive. Many don't have the money or extended family who are willing/able to pick up the slack. The U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries not to provide women with REAL support with quality day care, flextime, etc. that most of Europe provides. So while politicians and talking heads tout 'family values' and prolife they do nothing to really back mothers or fathers up. A wonderful read reminding women that life is so hard--we really need to support one another--not sure why some readers felt it was so 'anti-stay at home mom?' The book realistically expressed what I've heard from a full-spectrum of mothers- ranging from euphoria to ambivalence to depression. But they feel they are no longer free to admit the downside in our PC nation without being condemed as a bad mothers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading just the first chapter, I felt empowered with knowledge. I realized that attachment parenting is a lifestyle CHOICE and not the ONLY right way to parent as mothers are constantly reminded and made to feel guilty about. It is a lifestyle that my husband and I enjoy along with homeschooling our girls that really suits us. Although the book does patronize this choice often, I just brush it off. The point still stands. We must respect and support every woman's right to choose her parenting style and to decide what works for her unique family. Let's face it, if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For all the mothers out there who, with all the day-to-day sacrifices they do for their children and their families, still feel that they have not done enough to show their love; for all the women who are scared to have children because they feel intimidated due to all the expectations that comes with being a mother in the 21st century; to all WOMEN period... You've got to read this book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stay away from this book. It only made a few good points the rest is garbage. Puts down well educated women who choose to stay home with their children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Mommy Myth is a controvercial insight into our culture whether you want to hear about it or not. In an age where the 'feminazi' label has hammered upon women who have ambitions outside of raising children, the images, ideas, and entire perception of adult women in this country is carefully examined in this book. Raising children is a thankless and extremely important job. More women who are ambitious in the working world should stop and realize that women who do choose motherhood are not simply handing themselves over to the age-old mother stereotype. However, the assumption that the media, politicians, and our society in general makes is incorrect--that women are somehow 'unfulfilled' without children, and if they become mothers, somehow 'everything will change'--their ambitions will melt away and they will fade into the woodwork as so-and-so's wife or so-and-so's mother and that will be acceptable. For every woman out there who has no desire to take her husband's name in marriage if it means irradicating her own identity, who is frusterated by the standard that she must opt out of employment if she were to become pregnant, and who went to college to become someone on her own terms, take a seat and read this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What is new Momism? Momism is not even a word, thought or action. The book has a few good points but pretty much puts motherhood down and especially for those who chose to stay at home with children. For most moms today, if you are a stay at home mom, you have made that choice because you wanted to and might have even been putting a highly successful career on the back burner hoping to some day return but will wait for that time and re-evlauate it at that time. Kids are worth it and they deserve the best role model as possible...a mom who is there for her family without complaining and being labeled as a myth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the words of Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels; - 'Then there is 'babywearing.' You wear your baby in a special sling until she wears you out, at which point you put her in the 'family bed' and get in with her to 'co-sleep.' If there's not enough room, your husband or partner can go to the couch. You can purchase the 'original' Dr. Sears Sling on-line at the Dr. Sears Store, or you can order a custom sling from one of the many Web sites, like ...So our point here is not to bash mothers who find these options comforting or convenient. It is to see Attachment Parenting as a fad...' In the words of Dr. Sears in The Baby Book; 'What [they] have is centuries of tradition that have simply taught them that something good happens to women and their babies when the babies are worn.' In the words of MamaRoo; 'Being a woman, becoming a mother, I have started to see that my experiences have already been lived, and I am drawing from a long history of instinctive behavior. Women learn from their mothers, who learned from their mothers, back to antiquity. If women hadn¿t learned to nurture their children, mind, body and soul, we wouldn¿t be here today.' Frankly, Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels, I feel that you are completely out of touch with the world view of parenting. Attachment Parenting encompasses natural parenting, giving a name to our instinctual desire to nurture the next generation. You demean the bond that develops between a mother and child, a bond nurtured through breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, natural infant hygiene... a bond that has brought us as a race to where we are today.