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Issue Details: First known date: 2019... 2019 Breaking the Rules of Normative Motherhood and Family : Matrifocality, Motherlines, and the Mask of Motherhood in Sally Hepworth's The Secrets of Midwives and The Family Next Door
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'What is of interest to me about Sally Hepworth is how she, as a commercial writer using the popular literary genre of women's fiction- and who told Terri Barnes that "the goal of writing for me has always been to entertain-takes up the central concepts of contemporary maternal theory to trouble normative meanings and practices of motherhood and family. This article explores how Hepworth breaks these normative rules in her use of the theoretical concepts of matrifocality, motherlines, and the mask of motherhood. The two novels upon which I focus both employ an emphatic matrifocal perspective. In The Secrets of Midwives (2015), the motherline repositions women from a heterosexual allegiance to a matrifocal one and rescripts family as a relation of choice and commitment rather than one of biology. In The Family Next Door (2018), the unmasking of motherhood excavates the lived realities of mothering to counter normative motherhood and make possible an empowered maternal authenticity.' (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Hecate vol. 45 no. 1/2 Carole Ferrier (editor), Jena Woodhouse (editor), 2019 21220789 2019 periodical issue

    'The house husbands or SNAGS, a new phenomenon, did not see this as a permanent role and most, sooner or later, tired of a lack of life in the public sphere; despite a brief fashion for the male population's public job being private Home Duties, many men longed to re-enter the usual world; one in which important or sometimes stimulating things went on. The Australian Institute of Family Studies (in the government Department of Social Services) has regularly researched attitudes to gender roles within households in relation to things such as divided domestic work and has found, in its surveys, considerable support for shared housework. Other factors are in play in many countries, especially the incidence of child marriage (650 million girls) and of Female Genital Mutilation (imposed upon 200 million girls), the latter increasingly administered by actual health services rather than the stereotypical old, female relative with a razor blade and a sewing basket. The witches and midwives of centuries ago were one thing (documented, for example, in Barbara Ehrenreich's 1973 Witches, Midwives and Nurses) but more recently, in COVID-19 times, women are much in demand in their jobs/professions as health workers, and have been given enthusiastic encouragement to lead their working life in close contact with often viralent infections, as "essential workers"-a category that seems to have benefits for the bourgeoisie who belong to it, but not many for nurses working long and demanding shifts, wearing often-uncomfortable Personal Protective Equipment, in hospitals and infection-testing clinics.' (Carole Ferrier, Editorial introduction) 

    2019
    pg. 56-76, 310
Last amended 5 Mar 2021 06:43:25
56-76, 310 Breaking the Rules of Normative Motherhood and Family : Matrifocality, Motherlines, and the Mask of Motherhood in Sally Hepworth's The Secrets of Midwives and The Family Next Doorsmall AustLit logo Hecate
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