When a renowned feminist decides to write a feminist book, and name it Mothers, there ought to happen two things – chaos and revelation.
What’s not a matter of relevance in this context is the household to which you belong and how does that household treat its women. Because that’s a separate issue discussed in lengths by numerous personalities in the past. Instead, Jaqueline Rose chose to magnify into this cultural design until she found the point that’s subjected to a paramount magnitude of pressure of the world’s moral landscape. Motherhood is a phenomenon that is often glorified because of what it takes to bring a child to the world and sustain it. The question is, do we really know what it truly takes a mother to bring a child into a world that will inadvertently teach him/her hatred.
Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty – Review
Hate is a strong word that encompasses blame and accountability for things beyond personal boundaries. And mothers are never allowed to have personal boundaries. The world is a cruel place for mothers, and Jaqueline iterates it over and over again until you finally see it with your own eyes in your own home.
This is why Mothers is an uncomfortable read. It’s not a book that you pick in your hour of leisure. You cannot recline on your sofa in the balcony and read this book while sipping filtered coffee. It’s not a book that needs a nice view and some breeze to make it an even more enjoyable read. This book is not supposed to make you feel like the world is a beautiful place, and how blessed you are to be living in it. When you open this book, there will be yelling and shrieks that will go unheard until you finally start devouring through Jaqueline’s idea of cruelty on mothers. You will look for a paper and pen, a glass of regular water, a chair that keeps your spine straight, because there’ll be too much on your part to deal with; because you have a mother too, and if not so, then you have seen someone’s mother. In any case whatsoever, you know what a mother does for her child. But now you’ll see the other side of the story. You’ll find out what it feels like to be a mother – to give love and receive cruelty in return.
Jaqueline begins with a simple argument that guides her book – “…that motherhood is, in western discourse, the place in our culture where we lodge, or rather bury, the reality of our own conflicts, of what it means to be fully human.” She goes ahead and calls motherhood the ultimate scapegoat for our personal and political failures.
Undoubtedly, this is a very critical approach. Still, nonetheless, throughout her book, Rose presents in front of you a wide range of investigative writing, policies on motherhood, newspaper reports, policy documents, and law that serves as evidence for every statement that she makes. She explores the drama, novels, poetry, life stories, social history, psychoanalysis, and feminism to burst every little bubble that denies deep-rooted misogyny of being the reason behind this cruelty on mothers.
“The subject of mothers is thick with idealizations.” We do not allow mothers with that kind of privilege where they can be anything but perfect. They cannot have flaws and make mistakes. We need to ‘stop peddling the myth of the perfect mother’ is what Rose intends to say out loud to the mass.
Maternal sacrifice is a reality, and it’s too much to ask for from anyone. However, motherhood has different expectations and definitions in the western and eastern world, but the common reality stays to be patriarchy and misogyny, which still rules over mothers. And for a better and kinder world, we need to set our mothers free.