2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Motherhood: Political Agency Rooted In 'Feminine Virtue'


Riley C. Bradshaw
Dr. Marilyn Yaquinto, Faculty Mentor

This project will analyze various texts, as well as the World War I propaganda posters featured in the OP gallery that were created in order to encourage women to join work force and/or the war effort in order to support their country. While joining the war effort was considered less feminine, the push for working women was actually in stride with the existing gender norms. The concept of “social motherhood” was used to influence women to work for their country by privileging traditional norms of femininity and nurturing. This concept endures today as women are charged with maintaining the moral virtue of society. For example, women like Sarah Palin and Ivanka Trump must use their roles as mothers in order to gain political attention; essentializing their biology in order to keep women’s influence rooted in domesticity; limiting their overall agency. I will be using perspectives from several disciplinary lenses including; rhetorical analysis, literary theory, and historical research methods.

Keywords: Rhetoric, WWI, Motherhood, Interdisciplinary

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary Studies Major
Women's and Gender Studies
Art - Art History

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 307-2
Location: MG 2090
Time: 1:15

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