2023 chapter

Introduction: Resisting Rhetorics of Mothering, Intensive Mothering, and Biological Determinism

By: V. Renegar & K. Cole*‚ÄČ

Source: ORCID
Added: August 24, 2023

This chapter investigates the way that new rhetorics of mothering can expand the realm of maternal caregivers beyond the biological definitions of motherhood. It is important to note that when scholarship refers to "mothers," particularly intensive mothers, motherhood is exclusionary. Many women do not have access to the social archetype of mother because of their race, nationality, religion, class, skin color, or gender identity. And of course, it is paramount to acknowledge the lasting resistance to intensive mothering. While motherhood is both contextual and contingent, the dominant and paradoxical portrayal of mothers is both authoritative and undermining. In the United States, however, intensive mothering has become the prevailing cultural expectation for mothers. In refiguring motherhood, the authors call the biological characteristics associated with motherhood into question and open up space for different versions of motherhood to emerge. The chapter also presents an overview of the concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book.