Pregnant belly

The State of Motherhood

Who Gets to Be a Good Mother?

 

Introduction

Consider yourself a pro-choice feminist? Great! We do too! And we know the importance of birth control and abortion to women’s liberation. 

But we also know it’s not that simple. 

 

“Who gets to be a mother?” is also a feminist question.

“The State of Motherhood,” our website, aims to unpack the laws, cultural expectations, and medical practices that inform ideas about motherhood. You will find interactive material, including quizzes, timelines, and infographics that translate the arguments of some of the most brilliant feminist reproductive justice scholars of our age, including Angela Davis and Dorothy Roberts. 

 

Initially, we were inspired by Rickie Solinger’s “Interrupted Life” artistic exhibit and related academic article. Solinger explores what it means to be a mother navigating the United States criminal justice system. She asks: “who gets to be a legitimate mother?”  This project expands on Solinger’s central question to further examine the role of the state in regulating social, structural, and material access to motherhood. The State of Motherhood considers how race and class inform not only who gets to be a mother, but also who is considered a good mother. 

 

Before reading these texts, we all identified as pro-choice feminists.

Little did we know that “choice” is only part of the story.