Narrative identity: Voices of motherhood: feminism, motherhood and narrative identity Motherhood

Monika Bokiniec 1
1 - University of Gdańsk, Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Journalism
2016; 17 (2):
ICID: 1224773
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
Motherhood is one of the most crucial aspects of female identity. It is more or less an
ubiquitous issue in any discussion focusing on women or feminism, and translates into
all every conceivable area of women’s lives whether physiological (the body is being transformed),
practical or philosophical. In this essay, I am going to concentrate upon the relations
which exist between motherhood, narration and identity within the context of
philosophy and feminism, while focusing on specific issues such as the body, autonomy
and patriarchy. I will refer to various classical thinkers and their writings on motherhood,
such as Simone de Beauvoir or Adrienne Rich.
I have used the framework set out by Rich who clearly highlights the distinctions between
motherhood as an institution and experience, and my focus was on the way “the
masks of motherhood are cracking through” and women’s narratives organized around
motherhood proliferate. It seems that the need to express and share their experience in
a narrative form (literary, personal, essayistic) is appropriated as a means that will help
solve the social and structural issues at the level of biography. Autobiographical narration
also becomes a form of projecting one’s life and work through the kinds of changes women
face when becoming a mother, such as self-enhancing knowledge, and through the construction
of a new identity. I identified three areas of women’s narrative activities which
contribute to the creation of “a collective description of the world which will be truly
ours” as proclaimed by Adrienne Rich. The first area includes numerous literary narrations
by professional writers and thinkers. The second is composed from the blogosphere
and popular narrations. The third includes the growing body of scholarship, philosophies
written “in different voices”, extensive research projects, collections of essays, however,
this area has not been discussed in my essay, since its focus was on personal, literary and
popular narratives.

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