Still a Mother - Noncustodial Mothers Gendered Institutions and Social Change
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Jackie Krasas traces the trajectories of mothers who have lost or ceded custody to an ex-partner. She argues that these noncustodial mothers' experiences should be understood within a greater web of gendered social institutions such as employment, education, health care, and legal systems that shapes the meanings of contemporary motherhood in the United States. If motherhood means "being there," then noncustodial mothers, through their absence, are seen as nonmothers. They are anti-mothers to be reviled. At the very least, these mothers serve as cautionary tales.Still a Mother questions the existence of an objective method for determining custody of children and challenges the "best-interests standard" through a feminist, reproductive justice lens. The stories of noncustodial mothers that Krasas relates shed light on marriage and divorce, caregiving, gender violence, and family court. Unfortunately, much of the contemporary discussion of child custody determination is dominated either by gender-neutral discussions, or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, by the idea that fathers are severely disadvantaged in custody disputes. As a result, the idea that mothers always receive custody has taken on the status of common sense. If this was true, as Krasas affirms, there would be no book to write.