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Empowered Mothering

  • By: Fiona Joy Green
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Empowered mothering is a counternarrative to the proscribed mainstream ideals and approaches to motherhood that are entrenched within Western contemporary society. Andrea O'Reilly began using the term empowered mothering in the early 2000s to refer to the theory and practice of mothering that recognizes that women, children, and society at large, benefit when women live their lives as mothers from a position of agency, authority, authenticity, and autonomy.

Patriarchal Concepts of Mothering

Feminists argue that current ideals and expectations of motherhood are socially constructed as a patriarchal institution that demands all mothers be “good” mothers and that all mothers parent in very specific ways. In this construct, all mothers are expected to be the primary caregivers of children due to their supposed innate capacity to provide such ...

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