Not Cinderella’s Stepmom: Why Stepmom Stereotypes Persist and Ditching the Evil Myth by Claudette Chenevert
Think of the word “stepmom” and it’s hard not to envision Cinderella’s evil stepmother—a woman willing to do just about anything to get rid of her step- daughter. So many examples of wicked stepmoms surround us in a social context that it’s difficult for most people (our stepkids, the ex, coworkers) to avoid falling back on them as they typecast us.
Other stereotypical monikers associated with stepmoms are: home wrecker, trophy wife, the interloper. You get what I mean. And none of the stereotypes society holds about stepmoms is anything like the ones they associate with being a mom: warm, loyal, caring, loving, understanding and supportive.
Wait! Doesn’t that describe us stepmoms, too?
The reality is that many stepmoms look and behave like most mothers who have children to raise, a husband to love, a home to care for, a job to go to and their own needs to juggle in the midst of all this. One major difference is that stepmoms often face exes who make their lives miserable and stepkids who wish they would simply disappear. Oops! Did I just stereotype exes and stepkids? Yes, I did.
The stereotype I loathe most is of the sex-starved stepmom who’ll stop at nothing to seduce her stepson. If you’ve ever done a book search on Amazon using the keywords “stepmom” or “stepmother,” chances are that 75 percent of your search results alluded to just that or were otherwise pornographic. Besides being inappropriate and immoral, any stepmom knows that we’re too busy fighting off mean-spirited stereotypes to even entertain those thoughts.
So, why do stereotypes exist, especially when they aren’t true?
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