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Maternal Desire

  • By: D. Lynn O'Brien Hallstein
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The term maternal desire describes a mother's desire to care for and be with her children. Explorations of maternal desire have become a key area of interest in contemporary feminist studies. The idea of maternal desire, however, has had a complex relationship to feminism. The 1960s and 1970s second wave feminists primarily kept their distance from exploring maternal desire as a specifically feminist concern because of their aim to decouple the connection between patriarchal femininity and mothering, which at that time worked to assign mothers the sole responsibility for child rearing, and isolated women in the private sphere. Today, however, contemporary feminists are exploring the possibility of an authentic maternal desire free from the clichés and romantic notions of motherhood and as a specifically ...

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