Neglectful Motherhood: So FashionableS

This "Vagaries Of Fashion" spread from Italian Vogue — seen on Sociological Images — is the third "neglectful mom" shoot we've seen from a fashion magazine this year.

In April, a French Vogue shoot featured a "pregnant" model smoking and tossing a baby doll over her shoulder.

Neglectful Motherhood: So FashionableS

Neglectful Motherhood: So FashionableS

As Tatiana pointed out, if American Vogue were to portray the concept of motherhood, you'd get models holding babies and looking serene — "the mother of all clichés." She added: "French Vogue found the tenderness in mothering, but also the humor, the wackiness, the suggestion that it isn't perhaps natural to all women, and the surprise."

Additionally, in the July issue of Bazaar, MIlla Jovovich played a distracted working mom.


Neglectful Motherhood: So FashionableS

Neglectful Motherhood: So FashionableS

Obviously these shots differ in that there is a man present, but they certainly don't evoke the beaming, wholesome, Norman Rockwell concept of motherhood.

The new Italian Vogue shots include alcohol and cigarettes:


Neglectful Motherhood: So FashionableS

Neglectful Motherhood: So FashionableS


…As well as just plain-old avoidance:


Neglectful Motherhood: So FashionableS

There are a few ways to look at these images. Blogger Gwen from Sociological Images notes,

…Most countries don't share the American middle-class demonization of smoking or our concerns about the effects of second-hand smoke on children, or the idea that drinking cocktails around the kids is problematic (and remember, we used to give kids alcoholic drinks and Marlboros were marketed to moms). And many people don't believe that children need to be tended to every time they cry or look unhappy–that's a culturally and historically specific parenting ideal.

But a reader named Claire points out:

The message that motherhood might produce boredom, irritation, irreverence, and drive one to consume massive quantities of alcohol is one that I find refreshing, rather than appalling. Although this spread glamorizes the condition of being trapped within the confines of domesticity, can we not also interpret it as depicting the failure of domesticity and motherhood as a norm? And isn't the critique of a norm a productive act?

Good point. And here some more questions: Do these magazine editors want to start a dialogue about deconstructing the visual clichés of motherhood? Or do they just want edgy photoshoots? Does it matter? And even if they're not neglecting the kids — why all the bored, distracted moms?

Rich Moms Are Bad Moms: Vogue Italia's "Vagaries of Fashion" [Sociological Images]

Earlier: French Vogue And Ambivalent Modern Motherhood
Mr. Big Plays Housewife? How Bazaar