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Scientific Motherhood

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

Scientific motherhood was first phrased by Rima D. Apple in 1995, and is used for the description of the application of scientific approaches to child rearing. It is a part of a set of “scientific” expectations from women that took effect in the late 19th century, parallel to the advances in science and technology. This set, all derived from middle classes, included cleanliness, tidiness, preparing well-balanced diets, and ideal houses. These ideals spread through newspaper ads and advice columns, which were influential throughout the early 20th century. In this period, the advice columns that both prescribed new expectations from women and promoted new products such as baby formula, were accompanied by expert advice and promotion of science and merchandise.

The integration of childrearing practices with scientific ...

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