نوع مقاله : مقاله پژوهشی
1 دکترای انسان شناسی فرهنگی، دانشکده علوم اجتماعی دانشگاه تهران و نویسندهی مسئول firstname.lastname@example.org
2 دانشیار دانشکده علوم اجتماعی دانشگاه تهران email@example.com
3 دانشیار دانشکده علوم اجتماعی دانشگاه تهرانvedadha@ut.ac.ir
عنوان مقاله [English]
Although mothering is widely believed to be a biological and natural stage of women's lives, feminism tells us that not all women have the same experience of mothering. They perceive and act upon it, depending on different cultural contexts. In this research, which includes my reflexive narrative of maternal experience, I attempted to challenge the involvement of dominant ideologies of mothering by narrating the cultural aspects of my own maternal experience. I related this personal story, which challenged my situation alongside others in a social context, to the maternal experience of a marginalized mother. In this regard, I attempted to link our story, which included two small local narratives, to the main body of society by writing a motivational and testimonial text. The story of each of us is full of considerations related to the intersection of gender, ethnicity, social class, language, and other domination systems that determine our privileges, inequalities, and proximity to power. In other words, when the linguistic nature of the word "mother" is replaced by its historical and social reality, it leads to the reproduction of social inequality and marginalizes the maternal experiences of many women.
Motherhood, Social construction, Intersectionality, Feminism, Marginality.
I experienced "mothering" for the first time in the summer of four years ago, which changed something inside and outside of me. Previously, I had the experience of simultaneous identities, such as being a woman, a wife, a Muslim, a Fars, student, and employed. But being a mother was something enormous and ambiguous which, apart from me, was related to the tiny weak human being whom I gave birth to. When I came out of the operating room, seven other recovery beds were filled one after another by other women who recently gave birth. They were all mothers, and I was almost sure that none of them were like me. Each one of us had our identity intersections, and that set us all different. Each of us had mothers, and our mothers also had mothers, and the only point of resemblance between us was "giving birth to a baby." Therefore, we were all mothers, but when the word "mother" is used in the media and press, scientific and philosophical texts, and government documents, they mean which of us exactly? Can the term "mother," which has its characteristics and expectations, represent us all who have different identity elements and belong to different social contexts?
The research's main objective is to understand through what processes motherhood is constructed for me, as a researcher, and for “Maryam” another mother mentioned in this narration? Which parts of our maternal identity are intertwined with other identity intersections? In other words, which social systems organize our maternal experience? As far as women do not establish a homogenous group that shares the same attribute, other influential factors like race and class differentiate them. Therefore, as Spivak (1987), Mohanty (1986), Davis (1983), Collins (1990), and many others have stated, gender cannot merely define all women’s experiences and believes.
In the current study, which is written using the auto-ethnographic methodology, we focus on how identity intersections affect the formation of "mothering" and how these social, cultural, economic, and political contexts can influence the experience of mothering. In this study, I try to answer these questions by narrating my social life experience and also the maternal experience of Maryam who is an ethnically and socially marginal poor mother with a disabled seven-year-old boy. Auto-ethnography as a research method focuses on the researcher’s experience as a basic resource of information and comprehension (Ellis 1999). The researchers start from their own life as a text (Anderson 2006). Therefore, Auto-ethnography against other mainstream methodologies is a personal narrative that challenges one’s positionality among others in a social context (Spry 2001). Therefore, by focusing on my maternal identity, I can clarify whether the problematizing mothering, which is the concern of many specialists and experts in all fields, is related to the general and universal characteristics of mothers? And to what extent it is based on micro-social, macro-social, economic, and local contexts, the construction of power, and identity intersections.
This study shows that the issue of mothering and childrearing is intensively medicalized, there is a societal concept of postnatal depression, and good enough mothering is a capitalist and consumerist ideology. So the modern discourse of specialization in Tehran’s mainstream urban culture has led the studies to adopt a "scientific and professional" approach in reviewing mothers' individual and emotional problems, during the development of parenting knowledge, and also in the stage of providing specialized advice and solutions. The supremacy of medical and psychological discourses and the lack of cultural considerations of social facts greatly influence this discourse. As wolf (2001), Apple (2014), and Moran (2014) addressed this topic of mothering problem in American culture, this approach is also based on the presumption that “mother” is portrayed as a housewife, wealthy woman, a wife, a member of middle-class, an urban resident, an educated and self-sacrificing woman who is not interested in social activities.
Although mothers have diverse cultural backgrounds, values, and circumstances, Tehran’s mainstream urban culture, ignores the social and political complexities of mothering and the intertwined identity intersections in maternal experience. In other words, this discourse colonizes marginal mothers’ experience and ignores the economic, class, ethnic, and ecological differences between mothers from various social contexts. It also legitimizes the needs, beliefs, and behaviors of mothers exclusively. It also makes it difficult for women to have different maternal manners.
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