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Matrophobia

  • By: Gina Wong-Wylie
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The term matrophobia, introduced by poet Lynn Sukenick, was further developed by feminist maternal theorist Adrienne Rich in her 1986 work Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. Rich described matrophobia as occurring when women split themselves in a desire to purge themselves of their mothers' bondage, to become individuals free from the expectation of perfecting a full-time domestic housewife role:

Matrophobia is the fear not of one's mother or of motherhood but of becoming one's mother. Thousands of daughters see their mothers as having taught a compromise and self-hatred they are struggling to win free of, the one through whom the restrictions and degradations of a female existence were perforce transmitted. Easier by far to hate and reject a mother outright than to see ...

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