The body is one of the primary sites of social control.
States urge us to reproduce—from children to the family model itself. They control our fecundity and its products, but at the same time they leave us alone with our children. Shut within the domestic space, we are urged to see parenting as a strictly private concern.
Our ability to construct the world and relate to each other through social, personally significant and profound experiences is severely limited in a system that is increasingly fragmented and individualistic. So much so that having offspring and building an approved model of family can provide compensatory structures in a social-political context that offers few opportunities of making a significant mark.
In images of the mother, codified for centuries, the material conditions needed for the production of a representation and narrative are combined with the material conditions of reproduction.
Although being a mother is a rich, complex experience, often filled with tensions and even disappointments —due precisely to unrealistic expectations— the mythical motherhood designed by the patriarchal system is construed as a driving instinct for human females and portrayed as a relationship devoid of conflicts or contradictions.
Given the fetishizing, normalizing character the patriarchy assigns to motherhood as a means to perpetuate the social order, do we truly choose to be mothers? Why is caring, our essential life work, assumed to be a task especially appropriate for women?