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Mask of Motherhood

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

Becoming a mother is one of the most significant and life-altering experiences for many women globally. Betty Friedan drew attention to “the problem that has no name” in her book The Feminine Mystique (1963), where she detailed the discrepancy between the reality of many middle-class, heterosexual, married American women's lives and the 1950s and 1960s social expectation that they would find fulfillment primarily through the achievements of their husbands and children.

Similarly, the mask of motherhood, a term coined by Australian mother and author Susan Maushart in her book The Mask of Motherhood: How Becoming a Mother Changes Our Lives and Why We Never Talk About It (2000), describes how the transformation into motherhood is one of the best-kept secrets of contemporary adult life, and is ...

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