MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center


Meet M.O.M.’s New Digital Media Intern, Pavithra Viswanath [LINK]

We are so pleased to introduce our newest digital media intern, Pavithra Viswanath.

Pavithra is pursuing Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a specialization in Maternal Mental Health. She is passionate about understanding critical issues within social justice movements for women, and its relationship to the modern society. She is always drawn to the narratives and experiences of women related to these issues. She believes that there is pressing need to explore the status of a woman as a mother from various dimensions such as economic status, religion, culture, and society pressure in developing countries like India. She is also in the process of completing her ‘Sexuality Women and Gender certification’. During this fall she will be interning as a Sexual assault advocate at SAKHI for South Asian Women, New York. In her free time, Pavithra enjoys cuddling with her 3-year-old daughter, reading her favorite Tamil literature or listening to music. (Keep reading below: Pavithra’s essay Modern Day Patriarchy: Experiences of Indian Mothers).

shakthi jailed

Modern Day Patriarchy: Experiences of Indian Mothers

 By Pavithra Viswanath

It is difficult to overlook so many years of history when dealing with the state of women and culture. The horrified memories of sati (an obsolete Hindu funeral custom where a widow immolated herself on her husband’s pyre) still linger deep inside each one of us. Women are often compared to the goddess ‘Shakthi’ who is believed to be the embodiment of ultimate power. Perhaps, this notion of uncontrollable power invites the fear on women. I think this fear on women’s power created the social and moral structures to impose controls on them in the name of patriarchy.

In traditional societies like India, a woman is treated like a commodity and transferred from her father to her husband as an exchange through marriage. This marriage institution has helped to maintain social cohesion, social order and status quo in patriarchal power structures. Also, the marriage is presented as the pinnacle of a woman’s achievement. The cultural identity of a married women then becomes all about being a wife, a mother, a subordinate to her husband and his family. It doesn’t stop there. She has to forbear morals, obedience, chastise, cultural traditions and family unity and finally pass the same to her daughters. Thus, mothers unconsciously or consciously play an important role in the creation of gender differences and become a carrier of patriarchy. In the modern day the benevolent patriarchy that is imposed on women has not vanished entirely but only a shade different. The fact that women have accepted and internalized the patriarchal notions does not relieve them from the burdens of patriarchy. It just opens up more choices for the system to subordinate them. This interview series is an attempt to unravel the hidden stories behind the sustenance of patriarchy. It explores the roles of mothers, their beliefs, views and experiences of conflicts that are generated from patriarchal family ideologies.

Watch out for my interview with an Indian mom every week. Through these interviews, I will be sharing my learnings with an art work inspired from the interview and associated Indian culture.










2016 INDUCTIONS Honor the Call of the Midwife

Thursday, May 5 Motherhood Hall of Fame; Columbia Teacher’s College 7:30-9PM (Free). 525 West 120th Street Milbank Chapel, NYC.

Join us for drinks before at 7PM. RSVP Please

Performances, story-telling, and induction ceremony with co-sponsors:


Ruth Lubic (ED.D. ‘79, M.A. ‘61, B.S. ‘59) has championed community-based birthing by listening to the needs of the people she serves. It’s an approach she honed at TC. Lubic is considered among the mothers of the American midwifery movement. The recipient of a MacArthur “genius award,” she co-founded the National Association of Childbearing Centers, has inspired creation of more than 300 free-standing birth centers and is an American Academy of Nursing “living legend.”

Kimm Sun, is a Certified Nurse Midwife, Nurse Practitioner who attends home births in New York City.  Previously a photographer, she started her midwifery career as a labor and delivery nurse over ten years ago and then worked in a community hospital as a staff midwife.  She received her Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Malaysia and of Chinese heritage, she speaks five languages and has taught birth attendants in Micronesia, Haiti, Nepal, Vietnam and Kenya. Besides caring for her much loved “mama clients”, she is currently developing a different approach to birth education that is more accurate to the woman’s actual internal experience.


12th Annual M.O.M. Academic Conference


(I expect to have the final schedule posted online over the weekend. Through the date of your presentation will not change, some time slots may be adjusted.)

LauraFriday, May 6th MORNING OPENING KEYNOTE: Laura Tropp specializes in media and politics and representations of pregnancy, motherhood, and families in popular culture. She teaches courses in communication theory, media history, campaigns and elections, media law and motherhood studies. Her books include: Womb With A View and Deconstructing Dads.

KimSaturday, May 7th MORNING OPENING KEYNOTE: Kimberly Seals Allers whose 5th book The Big Let Down will be published this summer. Kimberly is an award-winning journalist, author and a nationally recognized media commentator, speaker, consultant, and advocate for infant health. A former senior editor at ESSENCE and writer at FORTUNE magazine. Kimberly is widely considered a leading voice in the counterculture movement in infant feeding. Kimberly’s fifth book, The Big Let Down—How Medicine, Big Business and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding will be published by St. Martin’s Press this summer.

MORE at M.O.M.


There is a power point projector, computer, speaker, and screen onsite. Bring your laptop or a zip drive, or post your material in the cloud and you will be able to present using the equipment at our location. There is some limited space for brochures, art, and books as well. Feel free to share your passions.



Do you have a twitter handle or a Facebook page? Let’s connect!!

  1. @MOMmuseum


May 6-7 MOM Conference at Manhattan College, 4513 Manhattan College Parkway, Bronx, NY 10471 (Schedule TBD) – We will updating the schedule in the next few weeks.


New York City has two major airports: JFK and LaGuardia.

Public transportation is available from both via train, and cab.

The train from JFK is rather straightforward and costs about $7.50. I would encourage you not to be fearful about taking this option if budget is a concern. There are people at the airport who can direct you, and I’ve done this many times. Here is a link to the NYC Subway Map:


New York City is an amazing place. Surely you will want to do a little exploring. We also plan on organizing a few special panels, roundtable discussions, and speakers for you, but will make sure there is time in the evenings to step out, either with conference goers or on your own.


Manhattan is divided into the West and East sides, with subway trains that operate separately on either side of the city. It can be a 40 minute trek from the West to East side, either by bus, or foot, or crosstown subway. TRY to stay on the WEST SIDE IF POSSIBLE, anywhere from Times Square to the north: West 40th Street, 50s, 70’s, all the way to Harlem etc. Included here is a subway map of Manhattan.

FYI, the subway that best serves Manhattan College is the #1 or #6 train on the West SideLink to more info and directions to MC.

Mother Studies is a field of interdisciplinary study devoted to the issues, experiences, topics, history, and culture of mothers, mothering, and motherhood. How else can we identify and define this new and emerging field? Some proposed concepts include “me” and “otherness” or m/otherness interpretations, procreation, caregiving, maternal health, motherhood as experience and institution, and relational theory as navigated within social and cultural constructions. What are its key elements, its compliments, and how can we theorize motherhood in the academy? How can mother and/or father studies be introduced in more formal ways within classrooms, including high school? Do we need an interdisciplinary degree in mother or father studies on the undergraduate or graduate level? If you are already teaching motherhood or mothering studies, or fatherhood, fathering studies, from what perspective or discipline do you approach the work? Please share your ideas. This is the forum to put this field into place.