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I wake up at 5:30 a.m., but I am not awake. I'm in "Jeopardy!"--the television show. "Mother" is the answer, but what is the question? In the predawn, with F Major theme music in 4-4 time, I am teaching feminist theory to myself.
The easiest question would be: Apply feminist-poststructuralism to the category of mother. Using the deconstruction of the category "woman" as a starting point, explain how the category "mother" is inherently unstable; how attempts to delimit it always fail how its meaning always exceeds its boundaries.
Slightly harder question would be less abstract, more empirically grounded: In contemporary society, one could become "mother" through childbirth, adoption, step-parenting, surrogacy, egg-donation, kidnap, murder, fostering, in-vitro fertilization, cloning, parthenogenesis, and running a nunnery--to name a few. Choose several of these ways of becoming a mother and explain how they map onto natalism, materialism, Freudianism, capitalism, feminism, and techno-scientism.
More difficult still, would be the question spawned from the marriage of an elderly groom from the House of Sociology to the child bride, Cultural Studies: Consider the image of mother in American fiction, poetry, drama, movies, radio, music, television, and the internet over the past century. Consider the variation in the images by class, race, ethnicity, age, religion, geographical region, sexuality, and other sources of identity as appropriate. Devise a sampling procedure and methodology to test the hypothesis of "no difference" over time or between groups.
My closed eyes slide over to the "Current Events" category. Mary Kay Le Tourneau, a parolee on-the-prowl, is pregnant again by her 14-year-old former …