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Bombeck, Erma

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

Erma Bombeck was a humorist whose column, At Wit's End, was published between 1965 and her death in 1996. She also wrote 15 books, most of which became best sellers. Bombeck's specialty was presenting a wry, humorous look at parenting, generally through the lens of her own middle-class, suburban life. She wrote about the challenges of both child raising and homemaking, often presenting these tasks as genuinely intolerable, yet always through humor. Like Betty Friedan, Bombeck unmasked the boredom, frustration, overall dreariness, and lack of respect and appreciation that many suburban mothers were feeling. Her ability to label and de-romanticize the mundane details of mother work was in stark contrast to other motherhood narratives that tended to emphasize the perceived selflessness and loving kindness of ...

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