Become a Member

We are a public forum committed to collective reasoning and the imagination of a more just world. Join today to help us keep the discussion of ideas free and open to everyone, and enjoy member benefits like our quarterly books.

Search Website
Reading List May 10, 2020

Trans Mothers. Marxist Mothers. Robot Mothers.

—and those who wish they could be mothers. A reading list for Mother’s Day.

From mail-order robot moms, to trans moms, to poet moms, the archival picks below put the varied lives of mothers front and center, asking whether chestfeeding is “exhausting servitude” (as Simone de Beauvoir put it) and if stay-at-home moms should be given wages.

Today’s reading list also recognizes those women who wish they could be mothers but who have reproductive health issues that prevent them from conceiving. In the lead essay from our summer 2018 forum Once and Future Feminist, Merve Emre traces the history of assisted reproduction from the first artificial womb to contemporary IVF treatments, asking whether everyone with a uterus could be emancipated by such technologies and critiquing our obsession with the “natural.”

JR Fenn All We Remember Will Be Forgotten 1 Fiction
JR Fenn

When bees around the world exhibit a frightening new behavior, a researcher takes comfort in a familiar hive. Short Story

pexels-photo-1113022 Fiction
Sabrina Helen Li

Winner of the Fall 2019 Aura Estrada Short Story Contest.

baby-539969_960_720
Gina Schouten

Balancing work-life pressures is often considered the holy grail, but men can still opt out of these policies. To move the needle on gender inequality, the state needs to take more coercive action. 

silvia federici boston review
Jill Richards Silvia Federici

Silvia Federici interviewed by Jill Richards.

Merve Emre

Feminism needs better reproductive strategies.

Fiction
Domenica Ruta

Motherhood can be a crushing disappointment.

athena1
JR Fenn

Once I learned of the existence of mothers, I decided to order one for myself.

Sarah Bruni

A mother is a mother, regardless of the latest information regarding her children.

"Morris" by Trisha Shattuck
Judith Levine

When your father is trans, memoir is both personal and political.

Nancy J. Hirschmann

Stay-at-home mothering is bad for mothers, their kids, and women’s equality.

badinter1
Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow

Elisabether Badinter blames "naturalism" for all-consuming motherhood, but she leaves the real culprits off the hook.

Our weekly themed Reading Lists compile the best of Boston Review’s archive. Previews are delivered to members every Sunday. Become a member to receive them ahead of the crowd.

Boston Review is nonprofit and reader funded.

Contributions from readers enable us to provide a public space, free and open, for the discussion of ideas. Join this effort – become a supporting reader today.

Sign Up for Our
Newsletter

Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.

While we have you...

…we need your help. Confronting the many challenges of COVID-19—from the medical to the economic, the social to the political—demands all the moral and deliberative clarity we can muster. In Thinking in a Pandemic, we’ve organized the latest arguments from doctors and epidemiologists, philosophers and economists, legal scholars and historians, activists and citizens, as they think not just through this moment but beyond it. While much remains uncertain, Boston Review’s responsibility to public reason is sure. That’s why you’ll never see a paywall or ads. It also means that we rely on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, pledge your contribution to keep it free for everyone by making a tax-deductible donation.

Donate Today

Most Recent

As Roe is struck down by the Supreme Court, we bring together recent and archival essays to assess what is at stake—and how we might move from reproductive rights to reproductive justice.

Boston Review

Theorist Hil Malatino offers a compelling account of the persistent bad feelings with which trans people often struggle—but it comes with fashionable academic hang-ups that need to be reconsidered.

Jules Joanne Gleeson
Image of chicken in cage

The systems that harm animals go hand in hand with systems that harm humans. Combating them requires inter-species solidarity.

Alice Crary Lori Gruen