Inappropriate Bodies Art Design and Maternity
Edited by Rachel Epp Buller and Charles Reeve
"This edited collection examines conflicting assumptions, expectations, and perceptions of maternity in artistic, cultural, and institutional contexts. Over the past two decades, the maternal body has gained currency in popular culture and the contemporary art world, with many books and exhibitions foregrounding artists’ experiences and art historical explorations of maternity that previously were marginalized or dismissed. In too many instances, however, the maternal potential of female bodies—whether realized or not—still causes them to be stigmatized, censored, or otherwise treated as inappropriate: cultural expectations of maternity create one set of prejudices against women whose bodies or experiences do align with those same expectations, and another set of prejudices against those whose do not. Support for mothers in the paid workforce remains woefully inadequate, yet in many cultural contexts, social norms continue to ask what is “wrong” with women who do not have children. In these essays and conversations, artists and writers discuss how maternal expectations shape both creative work and designed environments, and highlight alternative ways of existing in relation to those expectations."