“The series doesn’t show that being a perfect mother takes time”

In the series, which stereotypes about motherhood are most prevalent?

I rarely use the word “stereotype” in my work, but, in fact, some way of characterizing mothers is repeated. They have certain characteristics that we rarely see in male characters. The series that I watched, I noticed deep reflections on their part. In other words, mothers are constantly talking about their parenting practice, wondering, wondering, wondering if it was right for their children to say or do it, if they listen enough, loving enough… there is always this reflective return to their identity. Show the importance of this role and the place that motherhood takes in their lives. It is central.

Gilmore Girls.WB

There is also a lot of guilt. When their children are bad, they think it’s their fault, and they can’t be good mothers. Inside A great familyWe really feel that mothers are responsible for the well-being of their children. Mothers are characterized by their great availability. When Julie Lescott’s girls come to see her at work, she stops and immediately introduces herself to them. Conversely, some ancestral characters are disturbed by this barrier, and continue their activity while waiting for their children. The series therefore teaches us that mothers must be attentive, loving, tolerant, concerned about everything and feel guilty. Yes, that’s it.

There is also the idea that maternal love is normal and very strong from the beginning. Inside Great housewifeGabby becomes pregnant against her will, but her friends assure her that she will be very happy as soon as she gives birth.

Motherhood has been created as a result for women that motherhood is manifested as something clear and normal. It is difficult to imagine that this fusion relationship has not been seen since the birth of the child. When it is working and it is being built. I put your question back a bit, but the series often shows women who get pregnant if they don’t want to. Some are reluctant to have an abortion, but in the end they will keep the child. And this unwanted pregnancy is bound to be the result of a beloved and welcomed baby. These productions convey the idea that all pregnancies (even unwanted ones) will give birth to happy children and parents.

Great housewife.Cherry production

In the beginning, we didn’t see pregnancy on screen. But, since the 1990s, they’ve been glamorized, especially thanks to pregnant stars like Demi Moore who made the first page. Conventional. They have made this incident sexy. Later, the presentation is not fixed. It begins to change. For a long time, abortion was rarely treated and when it was, it was in an elliptical shape. In recent years, this is an issue that is increasingly being treated, especially in the American series. I’m thinking specifically Sex education Where Ava. Its presentation has also evolved: it is no longer just about the hospital and it is communicated in a less dramatic way, e.g. Ridiculous.

Do these performances feed the guilt and emotional burden of certain audiences who have a feeling of not doing the work?

It is difficult to draw a clear and scientific link between an audiovisual presentation and its specific effects on an individual. But yes, some fantasies about motherhood circulate and will inevitably affect those who see them. Maternal characters are the subject of contradictory, even contradictory orders. There are several norms that they should respect: one must be a “good mother”, present at home and available to her children; You have to work and be a good worker, 100% invested in your work; You have to be a good wife, give your husband time, have a full sexuality; Take care of yourself and your body, conform to contemporary beauty standards and therefore play sports, wear make-up, be sexy …


In short, it is difficult to adjust all these prohibitions. All of these labels and activities require time and investment. An American journalist and essayist wrote a book, Mothers on the brink of a nervous breakdown: motherhood in the age of performance. She shows us how successful American mothers are in all areas. But being a perfect mother is very time consuming and complicated. All of these presentations add an extra emotional burden to women.

And what is the place of fathers in these series?

Worked on family series Don’t do that, don’t do thatThe first season ClaimAnd A great family. In these productions, fathers are almost childish and disabled, especially in domestic work. They don’t cook, but when they do, because moms stay away. Inside Don’t do that, don’t do that, There is a scene where Reynolds Lepick can’t cook pasta properly. The kitchen is under construction, there is food all over the walls, the kids are in a terrible state it has a ridiculous purpose, but we can discuss it, because there is a repetition of this image of an incompetent husband. Conversely, it reveals how mothers are responsible for this mission, such as feeding babies.

Since the rise of the series, society has evolved and the proportion of women in the labor market has increased. What about audiovisual production? Do they show this evolution or do they limit women to their role as housewives?

We must not forget that women always work and being a mother at home is a job. But it is true that there is a very strong evaluation of outside professional activity. In the series, those who do not have a mother are rarely paid. We were talking about Fabienne Lepic: in Don’t do that, don’t do thatShe stays home mom for a few seasons, but she finishes work at the town hall, because she needs to have an activity outside of the house.

Weeds.Lionsgate Television

They are often portrayed as people who miss something, as if they have withdrawn too much from themselves, too much about their children… and it does not allow them to be the honest people who fulfill themselves. These women will focus too much on their home, and not enough on the world. Some shows, like Tough And Weeds, They are forced to look for jobs because they are widows. But, in the end, it is rare for mothers who have no paid activity throughout the whole series and who have represented in a positive way.

Are the current series a good reflection of motherhood? When you see such programs Ginny and Georgia Where Mom is workingI have an idea that their representation has evolved and we agree to show mothers who are not perfect.

For me, the series is not a reflection of society, it is not a mirror. Rather, they speak of his concerns. Motherhood is always a topic of discussion and public debate, but its representation is changing. The difficulties associated with motherhood are increasingly shown on the screen. We see the weight of this contradictory order and how mothers try to get out of this situation.

There are also more female characters who are returning to work and continuing to breastfeed. Scenes with breast pumps are multiplying, where we haven’t seen before. This new presentation asks the audience: How will you continue this activity while working? The elements in the intimate sphere before it starts to show on the screen.

It makes me think Nona and her daughters. The series addresses the question of high-risk pregnancies through the character of Nona, who becomes pregnant at the age of 70.

Yes, this pregnancy is more and more represented! We also see the representation of the least developed countries [procréation médicalement assistée, ndlr]As in last season Not of the master, Which follows the journey of an unmarried woman. This is something we have started to stage and it is being run at a time when we are talking more and more about IVF. [fécondation in vitro, ndlr]ART, etc.

Nona and her daughters.Art

Works like Baby Some women even talk about wanting to have children. However, this subject is still forbidden in society. Is the series one step ahead of us?

I don’t know if it’s a matter of time, or the ability of certain authors to get the consent of channels and producers to talk about these issues. If we take a step back, we realize that these women have to justify themselves for not wanting children. Conversely, we will never see a future mother support her aspirations for motherhood. Orna Donathan is a researcher and has worked on the pain of being a mother. We are starting to hear about this, even if women rarely testify openly. This theme will probably be the focus of future series.

In your work, you emphasize that the mothers in the series belong to a privileged social class. What today? Things are changing?

In 1990-2000, the chains represented the family series as a representation of the stove like no other. In fact, the characters are doctors, women who work in communication, at events… they come from the middle and upper classes. On the other hand, motherhood is experienced differently depending on our profession and our social source.

There are obviously class problems in this situation. For example, going out to work has been made possible by someone else taking care of our child. Sociologist Caroline Ebos further explains that having a nanny at home means bringing politics into the home. The upper class women entrust the responsibility of caring for their children to the lower class women. But who will they be responsible for? Power relations are played in this system.


In our survey of movie presentations, we clearly show that there is a significant difference in visibility between executives being over-represented (51% of character executives, whereas in France they are 18.6%) and workers under-represented (4% of character workers, where they are 21% in French society). . And this excessive presentation is also played in the series. So there is a need to work with better presentation of socio-economic departments. This is an interesting program from this perspective Maid. When we are isolated and when we are victims of violence we see the difficulties of raising a child.

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