The Reproduction of Mothering: Second Wave Legacies in Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?

Joanna Kellond


The graphic novelist and cartoonist, Alison Bechdel, ‘took the idea that the personal is political very much to heart as a young person.’ Though the politics of the personal have been central to all of her work, this article wagers that Bechdel’s connection with second wave feminism is particularly pronounced in her second graphic memoir, Are You My Mother? (2012). Bechdel’s text shares the second wave’s concern with the politics of telling stories about mothers, brought to public attention by Adrienne Rich, in Of Woman Born. Following in Rich’s footsteps, Bechdel’s text grapples with the effects of the cultural tendency to objectify and silence mothers. However, it also offers an account of how developments in feminist psychotherapy challenge the debilitating dynamics of modern mother-daughter relations, pointing up the psychosocial legacies of second wave feminism.


Bechdel, Winnicott, second wave, feminism, mother

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