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Re-examining Cultural Contradictions: Mothering Ideology and the Intersections of Class, Gender, and Race

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Abstract

Hays argues the dominant ideology of mothering in the United States is intensive mothering. Women embracing this ideology are completely devoted to their children and cultural contradictions of motherhood make it difficult to juggle work and family. Rothman argues further that ideologies of patriarchy, technology, and capitalism shape our notions of mothering. I explore these ideologies in this paper, paying careful attention to the labor performed by mothers – paid, childcare, and reproductive. Finally, using surrogacy as an example of how these ideologies interact, I argue that Rothman’s identifications of ideologies helps explain how the cultural contradictions of motherhood vary among mothers based on race and class.

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