Posts tagged ‘mothers’

October 16, 2010

Edna Staebler Award Winner

by thiszine


This week, Kitchener, Ontario author John Leigh Walters was awarded the 2010 Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction for his first book A Very Capable Life: The Autobiography of Zarah Petri.

Walters’ A Very Capable Life is the story of his mother, Zarah Petri, and her life as an immigrant during the twentieth century. Walters is being heralded for mastering the first-person autobiography of another person. He writes Petri’s stories in her voice, from her point of view, and creatively reinterprets landmark twentieth century events through her perception.

Now retired, Walters hosted and produced television shows in Canada and the United States for most of his life. Most recently, he hosted a program on CTV in Waterloo.

The Edna Staebler Award, established by Staebler in 1991, annually acknowledges the best first or second non-fiction work of an author that significantly portrays Canadian culture or takes place in a Canadian locale. The winner receives $10,000 from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Wilfrid Laurier University recently published a collection of Staebler’s diary entries entitled Must Write.

Edna Staebler was one of Canada’s most well-known writers, regarded widely for her Mennonite cookbook series Food That Really Shmecks. She also wrote for popular Canadian magazines Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Reader’s Digest and Star Weekly. In 1996 she was awarded the Order of Canada.

July 2, 2009

Mommy Mia!

by thiszine

I don’t even watch TLC’s John & Kate Plus 8 but I still can’t escape the Gosselins. The affair, the divorce, the Kate Hate — the Gosselin’s are everywhere.


Kate Gosselin has been both vilified and praised in the messiness following the announcement of divorce. She’s been called “controlling,” “selfish,” and a “pyscho-bitch.” She’s been demonized for her transition from frumpy homemaker to reality-show parenting icon – for better or worse.


It seems that, in general, the media doesn’t know what to do with the matriarch of the Gosselin family. She’s routinely criticized for her bad parenting skills, as if she was the only person raising the children. So far, she’s received the brunt of the negative publicity following the announcement of Jon cheating on her and the couple’s decision to file for divorce. Not surprisingly, everything wrong with the family and the marriage is considered Kate Gosselin’s fault.


Whether or not you agree with Gosselin’s parenting techniques or the Gosselin family’s life in the limelight of reality television, she is a woman who has commanded both a career and a family simultaneously, albeit in front of cameras, and that’s no easy feat, as many women know. Raising a family is hard work. Holding down a career is hard work. Kate Gosselin does both at the same time and, unlike other women, her mistakes, missteps, and bad decisions are held up for judgement. I wouldn’t want to be in her very public shoes, nor do I necessarily condone the choices she’s made that affect both herself and her family, but in this screwy modern-day world where nothing is quite private, Kate Gosselin is Gen X rising.


June 28, 2009

Playing Mommy

by thiszine

“I’m not the only 36-year-old woman who doesn’t have children,” Cameron Diaz says in USA Today. “In all aspects of my life, most of my friends don’t have kids. It’s not uncommon.” Sorry Cameron, you do have kids now, or did you forget that you’re playing a mother in your two new films?


Cameron Diaz, with Sofia Vassilieva, plays a mother for the first time on screen.

Cameron Diaz, with Sofia Vassilieva, plays a mother for the first time on screen.

By now, you’ve definitely heard about Cameron Diaz’s latest film, “My Sister’s Keeper,” which opened this weekend to mediocre reviews. You’ve also probably heard that the 36-year-old Diaz is — wait for it — playing a mom.


Yes, the same Diaz who gelled her hair with Ben Stiller’s spunk in “There’s Something About Mary”, or who played a kick-ass blonde heroine in “Charlie’s Angels” and voiced Princess Fiona in the “Shrek” franchise. The skinny, blonde, party-girl Diaz who has dated the likes of Jared Leto, Matt Dillon, and Justin Timberlake. And now she’s a movie mommy.


Because of course, in Hollywood, being 36 is almost like being dead. One of “Hollywood’s most delectable pop tarts” has aged out of the realm of youthful beauty (despite the fact that she’s still young) and therefore out of

Im not 25 anymore, Diaz told USA Today. Sure, but does that mean shes no longer sexy?

"I'm not 25 anymore," Diaz told USA Today. Sure, but does that mean she's no longer sexy?

the realm of delectability for directors casting sexier, more sensuous roles. Audiences have moved on from Diaz as the pop starlet of her earlier days (much like Farrah Fawcett’s biggest moments were her days tossing her hair suggestively) and onto the new brightest young barely legal things. After you’re no longer hot but still want to be employed as an actress, what’s left? According to USA Today, Diaz wasn’t even looking specifically for maternal roles but, big surprise, she was handed one now that she’s over-the-hill in Hollywoodland. Not incidentally, she’ll play a mother in another film, “The Box,” set for release this October.


In Hollywood, much like the rest of white American culture, mothers aren’t sexy unless they’re divorced or humiliating themselves sexually. Bonus points for the director of a film whose female lead is a woman-of-a-certain age who humiliates herself with a much younger man because her marriage is on the rocks.


Culturally, motherhood robs a woman of her sexuality and throws her into the caregiver role. Woman of childbearing age see their sex appeal wither as the expectations of bearing children become the prime cultural concern. Diaz has stated that interviewers often ask her when she’ll settle down and start raising a family, as if her place as a Hollywood star has served as a mere placeholder for the real work of her life. Women are seen as either sexy or motherly. That’s it. Woe to she who fails to conform to this binary, even though women do it all the time.


For Diaz, the shift from comedic roles to one of motherhood is underscored further by her Hollywood identity as a blonde bombshell, a category whose shelf-life is notoriously short. She’s had moments in dramatic films, such as “Vanilla Sky” and “Being John Malkovich” but, overall, she’s not known for her “serious” roles. Critics applaud her efforts in “My Sister’s Keeper” because she’s “careworn” and “not wearing any make-up.” By the time she’s forty, Diaz will be playing a grandmother on her death bed, comforted by the cutest blonde twenty-year old that is probably a lot like Diaz’s former self.


Check out the movie trailer for “My Sister’s Keeper” below.