The book argues that the category of mother is distinct from the category of woman, and that many of the problems mothers face—social, economic, political, cultural, psychological, and so forth—are specific to women’s role and identity as mothers. Indeed, mothers are oppressed under patriarchy as women and as mothers. Consequently, mothers need a feminism of their own, one that positions mothers’ concerns as the starting point for a theory and politic of empowerment. O’Reilly terms this new mode of feminism matricentic feminism and the book explores how it is represented and experienced in theory, activism, and practice. The chapter on maternal theory examines the central theoretical concepts of maternal scholarship while the chapter on activism considers the twenty-first century motherhood movement. Feminist mothering is likewise examined as the specific practice of matricentric feminism and this chapter discusses various theories and strategies on and for maternal empowerment. Matricentric feminism is also examined in relation to the larger field of academic feminism; here O’Reilly persuasively shows how matricentric feminism has been marginalized in academic feminism and considers the reasons for such exclusion and how such may be challenged and changed.
“Andrea O’Reilly coined the term ‘motherhood studies.’ In Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism, and Practice, she is now moving motherhood studies to the next stage by first defining ‘matricentric feminism’ — feminism that puts motherhood at its center — then detailing how matricentric feminism can and should be enacted in theory, activism, and practice. In doing so, O’Reilly has written a groundbreaking, even field-defining book, which is now a must-read book for anyone interested in understanding both the past and future of motherhood studies and a mother-centered feminism.”
—Lynn O’Brien Hallstein, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, College of General Studies, Boston University
Matricentric Feminism Is a Gift to the World
Matricentric Feminism as Scholarship:
Matricentric Feminism as Activism:
The Twenty-First-Century Motherhood Movement
Matricentric Feminism as Practice:
Matricentric Feminism and Its Relationship
to Academic Feminism
Andrea O’Reilly, PhD, is Professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University. She is founder and director of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement; founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative; and founder of Demeter Press. She is a recipient of the CAUT Sarah Shorten Award for outstanding achievements in the promotion of the advancement of women in Canadian universities and colleges, and is the author and editor of numerous books on motherhood, as well as the first Encyclopedia on Motherhood. In 2014, she was the first inductee into the Museum of Motherhood Hall of Fame.