The Mommy Myth by P-SimonSchuster

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Susan Douglas first took on the media's misrepresentation of women in her funny, scathing social commentary Where the Girls Are. Now, she and Meredith Michaels, have turned a sardonic (but never jaundiced) eye toward the cult of the new momism: a trend in American culture that is causing women to feel that only through the perfection of motherhood can true contentment be found. This vision of motherhood is highly romanticized and yet its standards for success remain forever out of reach, no matter how hard women may try to "have it all."The Mommy Myth takes a provocative tour through the past thirty years of media images about mothers: the superficial achievements of the celebrity mom, the news media's sensational coverage of dangerous day care, the staging of the "mommy wars" between working mothers and stay-at-home moms, and the onslaught of values-based marketing that raises mothering standards to impossible levels, just to name a few. In concert with this messaging, the authors contend, is a conservative backwater of talking heads propagating the myth of the modern mom.This nimble assessment of how motherhood has been shaped by out-of-date mores is not about whether women should have children or not, or about whether once they have kids mothers should work or stay at home. It is about how no matter what they do or how hard they try, women will never achieve the promised nirvana of idealized mothering. Douglas and Michaels skillfully map the distance traveled from the days when The Feminine Mystique demanded more for women than the unpaid labor of keeping house and raising children, to today's not-so-subtle pressure to reverse this thirty-year trend. A must-read for every woman.

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									The Mommy Myth
Author: Susan Douglas
Author: Meredith Michaels
Table of Contents

ContentsINTRODUCTION The New MomismONE Revolt Against the MRSTWO Mouthing Off to Dr.
SpockTHREE Threats from Without: Satanism, Abduction, and Other Media PanicsFOUR Attack of the
Celebrity MomsFIVE Threats from Within: Maternal DelinquentsSIX The War Against Welfare
MothersSEVEN The "Mommy Wars"EIGHT Dumb Men, Stupid Choices -- or Why We Have No
ChildcareNINE Moms "R" UsTEN Dr. Laura's Neighborhood: Baby Wearing, Nanny Cams, and the
Triumph of the New MomismEPILOGUE Exorcising the New MomismNotesAcknowledgmentsIndex
Description

Susan Douglas first took on the media's misrepresentation of women in her funny, scathing social
commentary Where the Girls Are. Now, she and Meredith Michaels, have turned a sardonic (but never
jaundiced) eye toward the cult of the new momism: a trend in American culture that is causing women to
feel that only through the perfection of motherhood can true contentment be found. This vision of
motherhood is highly romanticized and yet its standards for success remain forever out of reach, no
matter how hard women may try to "have it all."The Mommy Myth takes a provocative tour through the
past thirty years of media images about mothers: the superficial achievements of the celebrity mom, the
news media's sensational coverage of dangerous day care, the staging of the "mommy wars" between
working mothers and stay-at-home moms, and the onslaught of values-based marketing that raises
mothering standards to impossible levels, just to name a few. In concert with this messaging, the authors
contend, is a conservative backwater of talking heads propagating the myth of the modern mom.This
nimble assessment of how motherhood has been shaped by out-of-date mores is not about whether
women should have children or not, or about whether once they have kids mothers should work or stay at
home. It is about how no matter what they do or how hard they try, women will never achieve the
promised nirvana of idealized mothering. Douglas and Michaels skillfully map the distance traveled from
the days when The Feminine Mystique demanded more for women than the unpaid labor of keeping
house and raising children, to today's not-so-subtle pressure to reverse this thirty-year trend. A must-read
for every woman.
Excerpt

Introduction: The New MomismIt's 5:22 P.M. You're in the grocery checkout line. Your three-year-old is
writhing on the floor, screaming, because you have refused to buy her a Teletubby pinwheel. Your six-
year-old is whining, repeatedly, in a voice that could saw through cement, "But mommy, puleeze,
puleeze" because you have not bought him the latest "Lunchables," which features, as the four food
groups, Cheetos, a Snickers, Cheez Whiz, and Twizzlers. Your teenager, who has not spoken a single
word in the past four days except, "You've ruined my life," followed by "Everyone else has one," is out in
the car, sulking, with the new rap-metal band Piss on the Parentals blasting through the headphones of a
Discman.To distract yourself, and to avoid the glares of other shoppers who have already deemed you the
worst mother in America, you leaf through People magazine. Inside, Uma Thurman gushes "Motherhood
Is Sexy." Moving on to Good Housekeeping, Vanna White says of her child, "When I hear his cry at six-
thirty in the morning, I have a smile on my face, and I'm not an early riser." Another unexpected source of
earth-mother wisdom, the newly maternal Pamela Lee, also confides to People, "I just love getting up
with him in the middle of the night to feed him or soothe him." Brought back to reality by stereophonic
whining, you indeed feel as sexy as Rush Limbaugh in a thong.You drag your sorry ass home. Now, if
you were a "good" mom, you'd joyfully empty the shopping bags and transform the process of putting the
groceries away into a fun game your kids love to play (upbeat Raffi songs would provide a lilting
soundtrack). Then, while you steamed the broccoli and poached the chicken breasts in Vouvray and
Evian water, you and the kids would also be doing jigsaw puzzles in the shape of the United Arab
Emirates so they learned some geography. Your cheerful teenager would say, "Gee, Mom, you gave me
the best advice on that last homework assignment." When your husband arrives, he is so overcome with
admiration for how well you do it all that he looks lovingly into your eyes, kisses you, and presents you
with a diamond anniversary bracelet. He then announces that he has gone on flex time for the next two
years so that he can split childcare duties with you fifty-fifty. The children, chattering away happily, help
set the table, and then eat their broccoli. After dinner, you all go out and stencil the driveway with autumn
leaves.But maybe this sounds slightly more familiar. "I won't unpack the groceries! You can't make me,"
bellows your child as he runs to his room, knocking down a lamp on the way. "Eewee -- gross out!" he
yells and you discover that the cat has barfed on his bed. You have fifteen minutes to make dinner
because there's a school play in half an hour. While the children fight over whether to watch Hot Couples
or people eating larvae on Fear Factor, you zap some Prego spaghetti sauce in the microwave and boil
some pasta. You set the table. "Mommy, Mommy, Sam losted my hamster," your daughter wails. Your
ex-husband calls to say he won't be taking the kids this weekend after all because his new wife, Buffy,
twenty-three, has to go on a modeling shoot in Virgin Gorda for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and
"she really needs me with her." You go to the TV room to discover the kids watching transvestites
punching each other out on Jerry Springer. The pasta boils over and scalds the hamster, now lying
prostrate on the floor with its...
Author Bio
Susan Douglas
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.<br/>


Meredith Michaels
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.<br/>
Reviews

In the idealized myth, mothers and babies spend their days discovering the wonders of life, reading,
playing, and laughing. Mom wears her baby in a sling, never raises her voice, and of course has unlimited
time and patience. Baby grows up safe, happy, and respectful.In real life, however, it's a different story.
Douglas and Michaels blow the lid off...



and author of My Sister's BonesFascinating, funny, smart, scary, and long overdue,The Mommy Myth
debunks the next big myth that's gotta come down: that of the Perfect Mother. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT
skip this book.



I have one word for The Mommy Myth: FINALLY!With humor, wit and solid information, Douglas and
Michaels take on the sentimentalized, privatized moralism of contemporary motherhood and show how it
harms both women and children.

								
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