This chapter examines the troubling ways in which feminists have remembered their mothers, including memoir, autobiography, life writing, oral history, and public discourse. It questions what in fact the retelling of stories about mothers reveals about current cultural anxieties and concerns. In discussing the different ways feminists have recalled their mothers, the point will not be the reliability of the memories represented but rather what the transmission of these memories may indicate about how feminism and the maternal are currently defined and understood. Particular focus is on the “cultural forgetting” of the nurturing mother and the highly contradictory reworkings and responses to the second-wave feminist idea of women “giving birth to themselves”.
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