Changing Models of Motherhood? Hideous Progeny and Mother-Blame in Ana García-Siñeriz, Esas mujeres rubias (2011)

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Esas mujeres rubias (2011) [Those Blonde Women] by Ana García-Siñeriz is a Spanish novel giving a mother's first-person account of her life to date, including losing her only daughter at age fourteen due to a condition called Diamond-Blackfan anemia. Although other motifs are present, the core of the story is maternal bereavement – its causes and its effects – and inextricably bound up with this is a depiction of motherhood across three generations: that of the narrator in the present day; her mother, in the Franco years; and her maternal grandmother before that. The article compares the experiences and attitudes of the three women and explores the presentation of mother-blame in the novel in order to try to determine whether these fictional characters reflect a constant in our cultural conceptualization of motherhood or, on the contrary, a phenomenon which has either gained or lost traction over time. In particular, it explores and questions the issue of maternal choice inextricably bound up with this and debates the view found in real-life research that women today have significantly more choice about motherhood than in previous generations, arguing instead that what has changed are only the specifics of how, why and over what choice is exercised, rather than any step change from no choice to real freedom of choice. The novel offers a vivid dramatization of the limitations to maternal choice across the generations and how these inflect mother-blaming, showing that there seems to be no sign of the phenomenon's waning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalMAMSIE: Studies in the Maternal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013

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