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A Mother Movement for the Masses

by Martha Joy Rose (2015)

This is an image of poem, a plaintext alternative is available below.

[..] we need to clarify what is a mother? You might feel like arguing with me that there is no need, but in fact there is a need. If one is going to create a mother-arts movement one has to know whom one is including, and what the point of your movement is. Are you going to call your arts event a celebration of motherhood? What about those who do not think it is an elation, but rather a great misery heaped on them when they were least prepared? Are you concerned about the procreative act itself? The carrying, and waiting for the development and birth of the future child? What are you going to do with the adoptive mothers who did not birth their babies but are finding their mother-identity through the act of caregiving? And what about the ones who lost their children along the way? Are you going to include parents; meaning the mother and the father? This is a lovely idea, but, if you include parents, what do you do to amplify the unique experience of one who cellularly divides? The one whose body goes through embodied changes? Then, what about the “single” mother, with no likely partner or spouse? What are you going to do with grandmothers, stepmothers, gay couples, and the surrogates? Unlike many other objects or identities, from the very beginning the notion of mother is fraught. She is not a simple creature. She might not even be a woman. Therefore, conceivably a mother might be a he. Likewise, politically speaking, a mother might be a religious, right-minded, anti-abortion, Phyllis Schlafly kind of character, or she might be a forthright, left-leaning feminist. She might be an advocate of something you hate, and therefore you are tempted to hate her, or she might be a killer, a thief, or an addict. She might be absent. Is she one whose story you want to include? [..]

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About the Author

Martha JOY Rose is an award-winning artist and activist. Her pursuits have included academia, large-scale community gatherings, music, media, and Mother Studies. As the founder of the Museum of Motherhood (NYC & FL), and the MOM Art Annex 501c3 nonprofit in St. Petersburg, FL, she has organized International conferences, hosted students, as well as interns, from a wide selection of universities, developed curriculum on motherhood and feminism, and overseen the evolution of a modern women’s movement. She is also the founder of MaMaPaLooZa and the Journal of Mother Studies. Current pursuits include scholarship, art-making, and publishing her writing.

Read the complete article ‘A Mother Movement for the Masses’ here.