“Something Else Besides a Mother” in Mamma Mia

After reading Linda William’s “Something Else Besides a Mother” and watching Mamma Mia, I recognized the similarities and differences. Williams goes into detail on analyzing the film Stella Dallas and its feminist criticism. What the main character Stella is trying to achieve is to be both a woman and a mother. In the end, this proves to be impossible as she is stripped of both titles. I think that Donna in Mamma Mia tries to do this, and in contrast is successful in doing so. Her character is strong throughout, as she raised her daughter Sophie and ran a hotel all on her own, without the help of a patriarch. On the other hand, Williams said, according to patriarchal society, “that it is not possible to combine womanly desire with motherly duty”. I think that the film shows this to be true in some ways, which I did not expect to think.

Donna has put her relationships with men on hold while she puts all her effort into being a mother. Donna was a mother, not a woman. Towards the end, she finally shows her womanly desire for a husband (Sam). Something that bothered me was that while watching this film again through a feminist point of view, it might not be as powerful for females as it appears. ¬†After Donna marries Sam, Sophie and Sky leave that night to go travel the world and follow their dreams. In that instant she sort of loses her responsibility as a mother. Donna was a woman, not a mother. She was no longer this independent woman, she had become overwhelming happy in the end just because she now has a man. She proves that a woman can’t have desires and be a woman, which is just what Stella realized in the end of Stella Dallas. Donna’s friends even are good examples of this. They are both sexualized woman who love to have fun and fulfill desires, and both do not have any children. (at least Aunt Tayna’s children were never mentioned and she did not seem like a mother). They had to choose womanly desires over motherhood.

The “happy ending” happened for every character. The girl ended up with the guy. I think the ending in some ways deters from this feminist empowerment.

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