It's My Crazy Mom's Fault!: Mentally Abnormal Mothers in Media

 Wyrick, Kaleigh

Abilene Christian University

Major: English

In America, the twenty-first century is a time of increasing awareness of and sensitivity to minority groups, as well as an overwhelming amount of media saturating the environment. Media has a profound influence on its audience’s perceptions of the content it presents, so it is disheartening to realize that media is contributing to negative perceptions of people with mental abnormalities, despite the large demand for “political correctness.” Two texts in particular—John Wray’s 2009 novel Lowboy and a 2008 episode of the TV show Bones—demonstrate the media’s involvement with existing perceptions by having characters express such perceptions when faced with someone with a mental abnormality, and by creating plots focused on drama and violence caused by mental abnormalities. In addition, both of these texts involve close examination of the relationship between mother and son and how that relationship is affected by mental abnormality, with the result that mothers are vilified due to their role in creating and encouraging the expression of mental abnormalities in their sons. Because of media’s ubiquitous presence in America, it has a great potential to reshape perceptions people have of mental abnormalities, but as of now very little effort has been made to take advantage of such potential.