Are You My Mother? Response Two
So far in Are You My Mother? Bechdel seems to be highlighting her mother’s emotional distance from her. The mother seems more introspective than what the stereotypical mother considered. It seems that she may resent having children, treating Bechdel with an almost cold and detached style of mothering.
The mother stops kissing Bechdel good night at the age of seven. This definitely seems cold. Even if she chose to do this because of Bechdel’s “gynecological fantasy” drawing it does not seem like good mothering. That drawing seems like the kind of thing that most therapists would describe as a cry for attention from the parental units, and the mothers response to it would probably be considered the exact wrong way to respond to it.
The phone call on page 157 is yet another example of the mother’s detached parenting style. It is not in the mother’s words we see it but Bechdel’s reaction: “Mom never called me unless something was wrong.” In my experience, the mothers are the ones saying that about their children, not the other way around. The phone conversations in the first few sections of the book demonstrate Bechdel’s mother’s detachment as well. She dominates the conversations, and when Bechdel does add to it the mother seems to brush past it. She does not seem to really approve (or maybe care) about her daughter’s life unless it has something to do with her work; and even then it seems hit and miss on if she will respond in a motherly way.
Furthermore, the mother’s reaction to Bechdel’s attempt to introduce Winnicott was definitely not the most encouraging reaction. She seems to resent Bechdel for writing the memoir but she cannot simply address the issue. She almost seems to be attacking Bechdel by attacking Maxine Kumin. And that seems like it is Bechdel and her mother’s relationship; they never just say what is on their mind and just dance around the issues.
Overall, Bechdel’s mother...