• This Sunday is Mother's Day.

  • A traditional meeting which is of particular importance this year.

  • “Because there is this need to celebrate and to get together, to mark the occasion” after a complicated year, according to sociologist Christine Castelain-Meunier.

D-Day for Mother's Day.

The "Happy Birthday, Mum" will resonate this Sunday all over France.

A traditional rendezvous made up of more or less eccentric gifts and family memories.

And after a long year marked by Covid-19, during which some families had to live at a distance and where many women were on the front line, will Mother's Day have a different impact this year?


20 Minutes

, Christine Castelain-Meunier, sociologist at the CNRS and author (

Men also come from Venus

, ed. Larousse, 2020), looks back on this celebration.

After this long Covid-19 crisis, which is not yet over, what does Mother's Day represent this year?

There is this need to party and to get together, to mark the occasion.

This new importance is linked to something which must be grandiose, which is out of the ordinary.

Suddenly, it takes on a very strong dimension.

There is this idea that women have given a lot in this time of crisis.

How did they give a lot?

Between teleworking and children in distance education, the presence of humans allowed in some cases more sharing, and sometimes more costs.

The woman is honored in this context of crisis more than before.

By recognizing the almost invisible work in the field of health, of all that relates to care and service, women were very present in the public space where there was a context that could be anxiety-provoking.

Why does Mother's Day stand out from other "commercial" holidays?

This comes under the affective and fundamental educational responsibilities in contemporary society.

The contribution of women to the education of children is something recognized as very complex and highly valued.

This imperative of a good mother was called into question in the 1970s when, thanks to the women's liberation movement, social gains enabled them to assert themselves as women there or before, they asserted themselves as mothers.

One would have thought that there would be less importance to assert oneself as a mother when one is an emancipated woman.

But this has been reinforced as we are having fewer children.

Is asserting yourself as a mother in 2021 any different?

Women have asserted themselves with civil and social rights, demands for an egalitarian culture with men in all fields.

Being a mother became something more chosen and reinvested by women, who wanted to combine all the roles.

Work, be emancipated, have children, build your life well, direct your choices, assert yourself, but without forgetting the mother side.

In fact, Mother's Day is more generally celebrated than Father's Day.

Why ?

Mother's Day is connoted by mythical representations, very strong symbolic systems, because it was born in a society which attached great importance to having children. There was a desire to encourage the birth rate and to recognize the important part of women in the world of reproduction and education. Fathers were permanently honored. Before, it was institutional fatherhood, with very gendered roles. Men in production, women in reproduction.

Today, it's interesting to see that Father's Day counts more and more.

The place of the father has become important because it is a new standard in contemporary society.

We are moving towards a little less inequalities in responsibilities, through a presence, through a link and more shared domestic responsibilities.

Even if of course the mental load still exists.

Is the symbolism of Mother's Day called upon to evolve over time?

Of course, because we are in an individualistic, ego-oriented society.

The meaning is transformed and the way in which we honor the woman, the mother, changes.

Before the women's movements of 1970, women were confined to household appliances.

We put it in scene with this liberation that it could have thanks to the vacuum cleaner, the pressure cooker, the washing machine.

She would thus feel less stressed to prepare her husband's meal when he comes home from work ...

We are no longer in it at all.

Today, it is the idea of ​​honoring the mother because we honor the woman.

Because she has a lot of responsibility on her back, she works, she asserts herself.

We want to relieve her a little, de-stress her, communicate happiness to her.

It is a holiday where children give of their own to honor their mothers.


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  • Family