Motherhood refers to cultural and social constructions of the practices and experiences of women who nurture, manage, and care for (their) children. Constructions of motherhood take different forms depending on the time and place but are closely interlinked with constructions of femininity. Motherhood has been seen as an important part of women’s identities but also as a role that determines how women channel their desires and, if they become mothers, how they structure their time. In this sense, ideas and representations of motherhood touch on all women’s lives regardless of whether they are mothers or not. Mothering, in turn, refers to the everyday managing and care for children and the experiences that accompany these practices. This entry examines early scholarship on motherhood, feminist criticism on ...

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