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Problematising older motherhood in Canada: ageism, ableism, and the risky maternal subject

 Author: Francesca Scala, Michael Orsini  Category: Health, Risk & Society, Risk governance and governmentality  Publisher: Taylor & Francis Online  Year:: 2022  Lenguage: EN  Tags:ableism | ageism | biopolitics. intensive motherhood ideology | older motherhood | risk |  More
 Description:

Risk governance and governmentality

Problematising older motherhood in Canada: ageism, ableism, and the risky maternal subject

This article examines how older motherhood and older mothers are problematised and represented in key Canadian policy texts on ‘delayed childbearing’ and ‘advanced maternal age’. Drawing on critical disability studies and feminist scholarship on motherhood, we identify three kinds of representations of older mothers in these texts: as risk-producing subjects, as unnatural mothers, and as irresponsible reproductive citizens. We argue that dominant discourses of older motherhood are structured by both ageism and ableism, which undergird policy documents. These discourses frame older women as disabled by the ‘burden’ of late parenthood and cast them as risky subjects who might give birth to ‘abnormal’ offspring. Within this discursive terrain, older women are not only othered: they are held responsible for their infertility and for their reduced propensity to reproduce ‘healthy,’ non-disabled offspring.

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