Martha M. Balshem

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 52 p.)


Motherhood -- United States -- History, Role expectation, Women -- United States -- Psychology


The ideology of motherhood in the United States makes it seem as though motherhood is a natural role for women. The ideology holds mothers solely responsible for the well being of their children. Combined with the ideology of blaming the victim, the ideology of motherhood causes a great deal of guilt in women as mothers cannot possibly live up to the unrealistic expectations set up in the culture. In this study, I have used two case studies to illustrate the impact of the ideology of motherhood on the lives of these particular women. Utilizing the theories of Michel Foucault and Antonio Gramsci, I will show how the ideology is constructed, internalized, and enforced in the United States.


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