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The Categorization of 'Good' and 'Bad' Mothers

Disuss about the Women Studies.

In the western capitalist societal context, women have been evaluated by the prevailing constellation of notions and perceptions that comprises the overriding ideals and principles of motherhood based on which the lives of women are assessed. However, such beliefs eventually pose restrictions and further alter the choices and pattern of women’s lives situating them in the categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mothering (Kline 189). The concept of motherhood has been perceived with the customary notion of women who adhere to the natural, accepted goals and objectives of the society. The idea of ‘good’ mother has been formulated to the women, who provided immense contribution, love and guidance to their children. A ‘good’ and ‘ideal’ mother must possess selfless and noble qualities, which her children can imbibe at the later stage. An ideal mother as constituted during the impact of child welfare law must take  into account all the actions and deeds of her children and further perform as per the pre-established  norms of the dominant family framework (Kline 191). Such frameworks revealed the heterosexual and unbiased forms of attributes that consists of patriarchal authority and the conjectures related to the reliance and domesticity of women. However, few suppositions revealed that severe restrictions to the participation of women in workforce domain had led them be confined within the domestic sphere and involve with childcare and household chores. This, confinement and severe inability had further accentuated the role of an ‘ideal’ mother as comprehensively significant and rewarding. It must be noted that the supreme ideology concerning the role of mothers influenced by the child welfare law had been regarded as a traditionally and cultural centric phenomenon that occurred during the late nineteenth century in Canada as well as other Western capitalist countries (Kline 191). Such phenomenon had experienced several transformations out of which few had relation to the alterations of political economy of capitalism. The notion attached to the suitable role of a mother had been constructed with certain physical attributes of women such as being healthy and physical stable to perform any ‘motherly’ activity. While dogma of a ‘good’ mother was related to the stable health condition of women, the stigma of ‘bad’ mother had been associated with their social status and conditions. Several women who belonged to the immigrant, immobilized, First Nation and Jewish class had been often linked with the stigmatization of ‘bad’ mother (Kline 191). These women were pushed to the context of depression, depreciation and discouragement. It has been noted that the principles related to role of mother was often related to the connected behaviours of gender roles, behavioural pattern, beliefs and obligations. The connection of numerous dimensions of power and authority within the concept of motherhood has been intensely illustrated with the obligation of child welfare law on First Nations in Canada. The disparaging impact of child welfare system established the exclusion of First Nation children from their extended families, communities as well as nations. During the primary stage of child welfare procedures, several individual First Nation mothers were blamed for failing to identify the root causes of difficulties their children were experiencing. According to the author Kline, (193), the governing notion of the role of mother functioned to impose the governing traditional and cultural values and ethics women must pursue in relation to roles of child rearing and childcare on First Nations that had further devalued the significance of First Nation and practices in this perspective.

The Impact of Child Welfare Law


The fundamental patriarchal domination and belief of motherhood had offered a strong perception of the appropriate role and practicing of mothering. The very idea that individual mothers would take sole responsibility of their children arose several questions regarding the mental and physical stability of the children that were subjected to critical investigation (Kuttai 255). The conclusion drawn by the patriarchal authority was related to the disregard and avoidance of mothers towards their children. However, such patriarchal ideologies of motherhood had unconstructively influenced the lives of women. Disgrace and dishonour linked to the characteristics of First nation women led the mother guilty obscures the broader perspective of racism, poverty, health instability and atrocities. Such beliefs and domination led the First Nation women struggle a distress situation in order to survive such a vicious circumstances (Kuttai 256-257). The focus on individual ‘bad’ mother role as a foundation of complexities in First Nations child welfare cases efficiently held responsible the women for the impact of social conflict, which are regarded largely because of the past and the present. Several exhibitions were found regarding the ‘mother blaming’ focus in child welfare involved the women of First Nation who were reported to be highly dependent on drugs and alcohol consumption or associated with aggressive and antisocial men (Arnott 198-201). The alcoholic preference of women was, as a result perceive as a habitual tendency of First nation women as a part of their personal life choices and lifestyle. Such preconceived opinions drew conclusions that the parenting abilities of First Nation Women were severely restricted due to these social ills and problems. The way First Nation Women experienced severe rate of violence and atrocities by male partners caused relentless effect on the lives of women. The indigenous women in Canada were characterized as inundated with the disgrace of living a chaotic lifestyle emerging from a violent relationship with their partners and habit of alcoholism (Arnott 201). Such women were regarded as incapable and failure to accomplish an ideal role of a mother due to their systemic domineering associations involving historical and enduring colonialist as well as racially prejudiced practices. Indigenous women being labelled as insensitive, abhorrent and reckless had made them get absorbed in the vicious and dominated circle established by the patriarchal section of the society (Arnott 201). The presumption underlying the anticipation and belief that mother role should involve utmost selflessness and self-sacrifice had detached the requisites of mothers from the children, who were considered a burden for several indigenous women. These women however due to poverty related issues and other complexities had to experience daily struggle in order to survive in the society (Arnott 201-202). Although such hardships were not being kept aside from the conformist beliefs of the patriarch society how labelled such struggling women as being preoccupied with their personal needs and demands of their own. Women who do not accomplish these roles are regarded as inadequate mothers. However, these poses have resulted in several complexities for First Nation women in their process of accomplishing the role of motherhood and responsible for not achieving the goals of maintaining a ‘proper’ and ‘peaceful’ home environment (Arnott 203). According to patriarchal judgements and notions, a permanent household was regarded to the homes that reflected aspects of cleanliness, peace and tidiness. Poverty had often been accounted for the complexities faced by the First Nation Women and especially the individual mothers who had been providing care to their children even in times of hardships.


The nineteenth century witnessed several First Nation Women, across the domain of racism, represented a broad range of sexualities as well as gender centric roles that possess a broad array of varied disabilities (Friedman 46). Several mothers who lived at the areas of intersections of these varied identity indicators had mixed these recognitions with other characteristics namely identification of predominantly as violence survivors or activists (Friedman pp-46-49). Such women showed immense resistance towards the unprecedented notions and beliefs of patriarchal thoughts and dominance. The diversity and multiplicity related to the domain of mamasphere had been unrevealed by the utilization of hybridity in order to consider the diversified nature of maternal experiences and knowledge that have been recorded as rich and flecked characters (Friedman 53). However, keeping the conservation aspect of the connotation of hybridity is mind, the melding or unification of varied spatial domains reveal certain negative as well as positive for which the concept has been utilized. An evaluation of conventional motherhood notions exposed the root cause of this resistance towards hybridization (Friedman 55). In response to the anti- hybridization standpoint that had remained as a commitment to racially matched, heterosexual and conjugal families. Mothers with certain labelled qualities of incapability, queer mothers, and mothers facing immense rate of paucity and belonging to diverse ethnic groups and innumerable ‘other’ mothers had scripted in the mamasphere have revealed experiences which were unavailable in conventional motherhood (Friedman 62). However, a significant concept related to the postcolonial society, which had drawn reference to the integration of ethic symbols and practices belonging from the colonized traditional cultures. The concept of hybridity comprises of dual roles whereby, it encourages the stress and obligations in enterprising an exercise under oppressive conditions. This has exposed the dominant aspects of motherhood and the methods they have implemented to restrict the role of motherhood by concurrently considering the interesting prospects obtainable by the apprehension caused between patriarchal motherhood along with motherly activities (Friedman 53). The dominant perception of motherly roles is regarded as non-traditional in numerous ways. The experiences of a woman working in an ‘unrecognized’ or ‘unsocial’ sector of the society have never been represented openly in media. These experiences of tension and apprehension have been successfully documented in the writings presented in dominatrix.  

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