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|Title: ||Screening Mothers: Representations of motherhood in Australian films from 1900 to 1988.|
|Authors: ||Pascoe, Caroline Myra|
|Keywords: ||films, cinema, mother, motherhood, birth, daughter, bush|
|Issue Date: ||1998|
|Publisher: ||University of Sydney, History|
|Abstract: ||Although the position of mothers has changed considerably since the beginning of the twentieth century, an idealised notion of motherhood persists. The cinema provides a source of information about attitudes towards mothering in Australian society which is not diminished by the fact that mothers are often marginal to the narrative. While the study recognises that cinematic images are not unconditionally authoritative, it rests on the belief that films have some capacity to reflect and influence society. The films are placed in an historical context with regard to social change in Australian society, so that the images can be understood within the context of the time of the making and viewing of the films. The depictions of the mother are scrutinised with regard to her appearance, her attitude, her relationship with others and the expectations, whether explicit or implicit, of her role. Of particular significance is what happens to her during the film and whether she is punished or rewarded for her behaviour. The conclusions reached after analysis are used to challenge those ideas which assume that portrayals of motherhood are unchangeable and timeless. The study examines Australian feature films from 1900 to 1988. To augment its historical focus, it uses sociological, psychoanalytical and feminist theoretical writing with special relevance for motherhood and mothering practice. Looking at areas of importance to mothers, it comprises an exploration of what makes a mother good or bad; the significance of the birth of female and male children; the relationship of mothers to daughters; the mother's sexuality and the metaphor of the missing mother. It shows that images of motherhood on screen are organised according to political, social and economic requirements in the community. Further, films frequently show mothers in traditional roles which are useful for maintaining notions of patriarchal privilege in society. The analysis exposes stereotypical depictions of motherhood which are often inaccurate, unfair and oppressive to women.|
|Rights and Permissions: ||Copyright Pascoe, Caroline Myra;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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