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Expanding and Rethinking “Motherhood” ― Focused on the TV Drama <Mother>

  • The Journal of Korean drama and theatre
  • 2018, (61), pp.333-368
  • DOI : 10.17938/tjkdat.2018..61.333
  • Publisher : The Learned Society Of Korean Drama And Theatre
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : July 31, 2018
  • Accepted : September 7, 2018

Kim, Mi- Ra 1

1서울여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the patriarchal society, the media has predominantly depicted motherhood as a feminine instinct and an absolute value, and that the ideal mother is a woman who sacrifices her own aspirations in society to nurture and provide emotional stability to her children and husband. In addition, females who have not conformed to the “normal family” structure defined by the patriarchy, such as single mothers, divorcees, and women who have refused child birth and child rearing, are portrayed as lacking “femininity.” This ideology has prevented women from entering the workforce and placed the responsibility of childcare solely on to women, resulting in the exclusion of women from distribution of social resources. However, with recent changes in traditional family structures and more women entering the workforce, it has become necessary to redefine the traditional meaning of “motherhood” in line with societal changes. Against this backdrop, this study employed narrative analysis to find answers on the definition of motherhood, focusing on the critically acclaimed TV drama series <Mother>, which uses the issue of child abuse to depict wholly different “acts of motherhood.” <Mother> has illustrated motherhood that transcends the traditional definition by portraying different types of mothers that includes non blood relations, including a single woman who becomes a mother after she rescues and adopts a child endangered by abuse from her mother and live-in boyfriend, and a woman who adopts three girls and raises them as her own. In addition, the drama series did not employ a binary depiction of “good mother” and “bad mother” but focused on the realities and suffering of female characters, such as a mother who becomes a murderer due to her husband’s abuse and is forced to relinquish care of her child, and a woman who becomes a mother at a young age only to be abandoned by the father of her child then meets another man who abuses her daughter which she ignores due to fear of being abandoned again. The drama also challenges the traditional myth of “motherhood” that obligates the mother to sacrifice herself unconditionally. Moreover, the strong solidarity of mothers depicted in the single mom who rescues and adopts an eight year old child in danger and the women who support her, expanded the narrow definition of “motherhood”, which had been limited to family, and includes nurture, care, and relationship. This has opened the possibility of redefining the meaning of motherhood and a “motherhood” consensus around the current social issues on child abuse and low birth rates.

Citation status

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