Mothers, absent from family photos

Dn her feminist commitment, Laura Vallet has a simple practice: counting the place of women in the different sections of society. In her job, the librarian, specializing in children’s literature and blogger on this topic, regularly counts the share of girls and boys in fiction, questioning the way each is represented. In her privacy, the 35-year-old mother recently counted her appearances in the family album.

“Of the 450 photos I sorted, my husband appears twice as much as me alongside our children”, points out the mother of a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl, who only appears once on her own. “I felt a deep annoyance not to appear in any photo of everyday life when I am so much a part of it”, comments Laura, who appears mainly on “the ritual photos” carried out each year by a third party at their place of marriage.

Intimate experience or the umpteenth manifestation of the mental and emotional burden that most often falls on women? To corroborate her intuition, Laura posted a terse question on Twitter on Monday, January 3: “Mothers: do we take a picture of you? » Nearly 400 responses, like so many ” me neither “. “It resonated with many women, I did not expect it”, she says.

“A system where the mother is always wronged”

“As soon as we raise a subject, we bring out a new reality of the mental and emotional load”, she notes, referring, in the specific case, “taking photos, sorting them, creating albums to allow the family to build their family story”.

For Illana Weizman, sociologist and author of This is my postpartum (Marabout, 2021), this illustration of the emotional charge is far from trivial. “It contributes to the burden on mothers in almost all areas of parenthood, to emotions, to memories”, believes the feminist activist on the site miss, according to whom the enthusiasm around this tweet highlights “a system where the mother is always wronged, where she always has to think of everything. »

An observation shared by Claudine Veuillet-Combier and Emmanuel Gratton, psychologists and researchers at the University of Angers and authors of Photographs of contemporary families, cross-perspectives between sociology and psychoanalysis (Rennes University Press, 2021). “We observe that it is often the women who manage the family heritage, who take the photos, classify them, comment on them and share them”, analyzes Claudine Veuillet-Combier, interviewed by France Inter.

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