Arts

Film Historian Talks Motherhood In Pop Culture

Film and media historian Eddy Von Mueller joined Lois Reitzes on "City Lights" to examine a few common tropes of motherhood in movies and in television.
Film and media historian Eddy Von Mueller joined Lois Reitzes on "City Lights" to examine a few common tropes of motherhood in movies and in television.
Credit Pixabay

The art that a culture produces has a lot to say about that society’s deeper, systemic issues.

And with Mother’s Day on Sunday, that got us thinking about how Moms have been portrayed in classic and contemporary pop culture.

Film and media historian Eddy Von Mueller joined Lois Reitzes on “City Lights” to examine a few common tropes of motherhood in movies and in television.

One of those tropes is the “Sacrificial Mom,” like Martha Wayne or Lily Potter. Mueller says that “the repetition of this trope” – the loss of one’s mother –  “underscores the significance of the mom in our popular cultural imagination, and it always wins us over.”

The mothers that live and are loved are often “Martyr Moms,” suffering for their children. Rich Moms, on the other hand, are rarely depicted favorably.

But as our culture changes, contemporary art has responded. These days, Mueller says you’re more likely to see a nuanced mother character in film and tv, with “adult children re-encountering their mothers as human beings.”