Public Discourse Relies On Tropes Of Motherhood, Parenting, And Family

Decent Essays

Public discourse relies on tropes of motherhood, parenting, and family: The bodies of mothers belong to feminine (Hine 2013; Kinser 2010), heterosexual, monogamous, married women (Morris and McInerney 2010). Heavily entrenched in these tropes is the notion of monomaternalism. Monomaternalism has been defined by Shelley Park (2013) as an ideology and practice that upholds the heteropatriarchal nuclear family, residing at the “intersection of patriarchy, heteronormativity, capitalism, and Eurocentrism” (7). Despite the growing number of lesbian parents, evidence suggests that many, including political and legal institutions, struggle to conceive of how a child might have more than one mother, or how lesbian and gay people are able to have children.
Jeffrey Bennett (2009) has conducted research on the conflation of blood and identity, lending support to challenging the claims of monomaternalism. Blood is universally understood as a marker of kinship, to describe relational ties, and the significance of those ties (Bennett 2009; Freeman and Richardson 2006; Ryan-Flood 2009). Western understandings of kinship are structured around these blood relations, but also marriage and patrilineal dissent (Freeman and Richardson 2006; Ryan-Flood 2009). In a broader discussion regarding feminism and mothering, though one which certainly applies to this idea, Kinser (2010) suggests that thinking of kinship and its legitimacy in binary terms oversimplifies relations, missing multiple

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