Many different aspects of life characterize motherhood. Traditions along with society influence the role of motherhood. Carol Stacks' "All our Kin," is an essay about the "structuring of kin groups" (1974, p.47). In the society, if the mother is not mature enough to raise the child, a close female relative takes on the role of the mother; whereas, the man has the option of choosing to claim the child and take on the responsibilities of fatherhood or he can imply that the father could be anyone, which is a socially acceptable reason. Ruth Horowitz' "The Expanded Family and Family Honor," portrays a Mexican Family as a "nuclear family unit" within an "expanded family" (1983, p.64). After marriage, motherhood is an expected dominating role in the woman's life. The man is portrayed as independent and dominating over his immediate family. Motherhood, accepted in both societies, is characterized by the woman's behavior before birth, her role as the caretaker as established by society and the influence of the father, and the bonds she forms with her children.
Both cultures accept childhood as a natural and wonderful part of life. In Mexican society, motherhood is characterized by the tradition that "motherhood is the most culturally acceptable identity available to women" (Horowitz, 1983, p.71). In The Flats, women view "childbearing as a natural and highly desirable phenomenon" (Stack, 1974, p.48).
A woman's behavior before motherhood establishes the society's respect for the woman as a mother. In The Flats, it is socially acceptable for a woman to have a child out of wedlock. Black women in The Flats feel few if any restrictions about childbearing" (Stack, 1974, p.48). In Mexican society, it is expected that...
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...is wife and daughters"(Horowitz, 1983, p.68). "Fathers are seen as rigid, closed, and distant"(Horowitz, 1983, p.68). The father leaves the bonding to the mother and just disciplines and supports the child. In The Flats, most mothers take on all the responsibilities, whereas in the Mexican society, the mother takes on the role only as the caretaker.
The characterization of motherhood is established by many factors in both cultures. Society establishes an expected behavior of a woman before and after birth. Motherhood has been established and the trends have accumulated, which now influence how motherhood is characterized in these two cultures. Male-female relationships establish the role of the father in the characterization of motherhood. These societies are changing and the views are becoming different, but the role of the mother will continue throughout.
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