THE CULT OF YOUTH AND THE MYTH OF “SINGLE” GIRLS AND MOTHERS

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THE CULT OF YOUTH AND THE MYTH OF “SINGLE” GIRLS AND MOTHERS

The other line is that of being a “single” girl over a certain age and the pressure of the biological clock that reminds women of the transience of their reproductive period. One of the main representations of the modern woman is as a hunter in search of a man, i.e. a sexual partner and it shows the female perception of loneliness as desperate and being (self)pity. A common narrative in film art is the emotional states in which female heroes face loneliness, anxiety, defeatism, and pessimism for precisely these reasons. The obsession with finding a lover is also shown in the movie scene when Bridget Jones is at work, sitting in front of her computer at the office desk and instead of concentrating on professional responsibilities, she talks on the phone with her friend about love problems. The moment her colleagues notice her frivolity and unprofessionalism, she begins to pretend to be talking to an author with whom the publishing house collaborates, scattering terms such as “traditional masculinity” and similar intellectual phrases to camouflage trivial “female” themes about love and romance.

Namely, on the one hand, the triviality of romance is emphasized, and on the other hand, the film mocks intellectual snobbery as post-modernist verbal diarrhea. But what is indicated is that the main male character in the film, Mark Darcy, who is portrayed as an educated, emancipated and progressive man, at one point says: “Everywhere you turn, someone wants to match you up with a crazy woman at a certain an age who seeks a prince on a white horse to solve all her problems: financial, physical and all others”. Such masculine perceptions combined with the desperation of Jones, who thinks that her sexual expiration date is coming to an end, are fertile ground for the stigmatization of “single” women.

The pressure on the woman to be successful as a mother is ubiquitous in a patriarchal culture. “Being a woman in her forties and not having children is the most difficult period for a woman. Why is everyone trying to make you feel stupid because you have no children? I mean, almost everyone is a little bit ambivalent about this whole thing, including my mom. How many times has she just said, “Sometimes I wish I never had children, honey.” And it is not so easy to give birth to a child in this modern world, as men are becoming more and more an undeveloped primitive species. (Филдинг, 2016: 15 и 34). In this representation of the modern woman, meanings and interpretations are decoded that are outside of the zone of motherhood but are under constant pressure from the conservative mentality for the realization of the woman exclusively through/in the role of mother. “As women move from their twenties to their thirties, the balance of power changes subtly. Even the most self-absorbed girls lose their nerve, struggling with the first painful signs of existential anxiety: the fear that they will die alone and that their bodies will be found three weeks later half-eaten by a German shepherd.” (Филдинг, 2016:  82). The stigma towards unmarried women is coded in the dialogues not only in popular culture but also in the everyday life. If this is followed by the frequently heard phrases – “you careerists” and “tick tack tick tack, time is running out”, we will conclude that everyone allows themselves to patronize women for their decision to reproduce, which is the right of every woman individually to decide for her offspring and her body.

In the corpus of topics about body hegemony and sexism is the topic of motherhood, i.e. the myth of the perfect mother or mothers who decide to work. Women who choose to be active in the job market after giving birth to a child are popularly referred to as “working moms”, a term often used in blogging propaganda. Social networks, as new media, penetrate deep into people’s privacy and intimacy, labeling and judging personal choices. Social networks are a fertile ground where the female psyche is crucified between the views that mothers should not return to work soon after childbirth, that they should not be physically separated from the newborn in the first months of its life, as opposed to the views that women have a right to decide how to micromanage their lives and to choose the balance they will establish between children, family, and profession. With this, we enter into two important topics such as reproductive rights and women’s labor rights. The Law on Labor in the Republic of North Macedonia provides a possibility for fathers to use parental leave, but the Health Fund in 2016, for example, registered only 54 fathers who exercised that right. The Scandinavian countries, on the other hand, have a model of compulsory (shared) parental leave between the parents. The European Union has redefined the directive to make a balance between private and professional life and called for the active involvement of men in the sphere of home and childcare. So, in addition to the measures that will actively involve the father in the care and nurturing of the children, we need modern measures and gender-responsive policies that will actively involve the mother in the labor market.

AuthorAna Jovkovska
2022-04-04T09:39:33+00:00 March 30th, 2022|Categories: Literature, Essays, Blesok Editions, Blesok no. 142|Comments Off on THE CULT OF YOUTH AND THE MYTH OF “SINGLE” GIRLS AND MOTHERS