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How do external definitions of good and bad mothers and fathers impact on the actual experience of parenthood - Essay Example

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The crisis of parenting in the western world has created a wave of discussions in the areas of gender issues, sexuality, social stigma and psychology. For instance, gender based discussions question whether women are all encompassed of motherhood and do they still need men to…
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How do external definitions of good and bad mothers and fathers impact on the actual experience of parenthood
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Download file to see previous pages Also, good and bad have been defined by the respective culture and identity of mother and father rests in the context of their society. However, actual experience moves beyond these stereotypes.
Kath Woodward (2002) in her book on Understanding Identity brings up the conflict between self identity and the society created images of the self and the ideal. Though identity is a matter of the individual, it is never free of social stigma and external definitions. She redefines ‘identity’ to encapsulate “the way of thinking about the links between the personal and the social” (2002). This psycho-social definition of identity offers another perspective of the stereotyping of mothers and fathers Vs actual experience of parenting. She discusses on the relative nature of the reality of parenting. The latter might be the identity they create for themselves, but however hard they strive, the identity cannot be free of the social context and definitions. Kath’s sociological definition of identity is not new, but could be traced back to Adam Smith’s Wealth of the Nations. The concept of individualized self is a modern invention, though. Kath, in the modern context, reinvents the older concept.
Kath also analyses the identity of motherhood with respect to the bodies and selves. She says that the first thing a woman could relate to in her role as a mother is her body. This could be symbols and evidence of patriarchal control of female body. However, the child evokes tenderness in her as against the anger toward the male body. This conflict is discussed by Rich.
Any role is not subjective and is always relative to the others involved. For example, parent is relative to the child and the vice versa; the role of the teacher is relative to the role of the student. So roles are modified and moulded according to their relative positions and the feedback from the related roles. In addition, it is dependent on the expectations ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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