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Humor and Motherhood

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

For centuries, humorous perspectives on motherhood have been found in a variety of genres. Most humorous writings about motherhood have been written by women, but have been intended for both genders. Women's writing traditionally has included the domestic realm and, in the process, has often used humor in expressing emotions that society might find unacceptable. As a result, the frustrations and isolation that many mothers experience frequently have found an acceptable outlet in humor. Three recognized theories of humor—focused on superiority, incongruity, and relief—give insight into the composition and understanding of the comedic views of motherhood. At the same time, regardless of how the humor functions, much of it remains timeless because it is based on the relationship between children and parents, which are universal ...

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