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5 - Mothers and Others

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Amy Mullin
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

INTRODUCTION: FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY AND THE IDEOLOGY OF MOTHERHOOD

In the first four chapters of this book, I discuss two stages of reproductive labor, pregnancy and birth, which are available only to women. I turn now to a third stage, childrearing. This form of reproductive labor is still predominantly performed by women, both as unpaid and as paid caregivers. However, it is a kind of labor that can be performed by men, and one that not only can be but is undertaken by men, many as unpaid caregivers of their own children and a few as paid caregivers. In this chapter I examine the impact of the ideology of motherhood on the provision of childcare, an ideology that we have seen to have pernicious effects on women's experiences of pregnancy and birth. I approach childrearing from a perspective informed by the ethics of care, which also influenced my ethical analysis of pregnancy. As was the case in my study of pregnancy, an ethics of care perspective considers the needs and interests of caregivers and care receivers and considers questions about who gives care and how caregiving work is allocated. I begin my discussion in this chapter with an analysis of motherhood, but this leads to a much broader focus on childcare work in general, paid and unpaid.

Feminist philosophers have presented sharply contrasting analyses of motherhood. Shulamith Firestone in the Dialectic of Sex (1970) argued that women cannot be free until the biological family is entirely eliminated.

Type
Chapter
Information
Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare
Ethics, Experience, and Reproductive Labor
, pp. 119 - 153
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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  • Mothers and Others
  • Amy Mullin, University of Toronto
  • Book: Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511814280.006
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  • Mothers and Others
  • Amy Mullin, University of Toronto
  • Book: Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511814280.006
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Mothers and Others
  • Amy Mullin, University of Toronto
  • Book: Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511814280.006
Available formats
×