Once only a topic among women in the private sphere, motherhood and mothering have become important intellectual topics across academic disciplines. Even so, no book has yet devoted a sustained look at how exploring mothering rhetorics – the rhetorics of reproduction (rhetorics about the reproductive function of women/mothers) and reproducing rhetorics (the rhetorical reproduction of ideological systems and logics of contemporary culture) expand our understanding of mothering, motherhood, communication, and gender.
Mothering Rhetorics begins to fill this gap for scholars and teachers interested in the study of mothering rhetorics in their historical and contemporary permutations. The contributions explore the racialized rhetorical contexts of maternity; how fixing food is thought to fix families, while also regulating maternal activities and identity; how Black female breastfeeding activists resisted the exploitation of African-American mothers in Detroit; how women in pink-collar occupations both adhere to and challenge maternity leave discourses by rhetorically positioning their leaves as time off and (dis)ability; identifying verbal and nonverbal shaming practices related to unwed motherhood during the mid-twentieth century; and redefining alternative postpartum placenta practices.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Women’s Studies in Communication.
Introduction: Mothering Rhetorics 1. Michelle Obama, Mom-in-Chief: The Racialized Rhetorical Contexts of Maternity 2. Fixing Food to Fix Families: Feeding Risk Discourse and the Family Meal 3. #SpoiledMilk: Blacktavists, Visibility, and the Exploitation of the Black Breast 4. Standpoints of Maternity Leave: Discourses of Temporality and Ability 5. Rhetorics of Unwed Motherhood and Shame 6. Empowering Disgust: Redefining Alternative Postpartum Placenta Practices