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July 25, 2021

Spooky Hidden Mother With Scratched Out Face Photographs

The hidden mother, or, more accurately, the hidden mother’s body, in family photos is a metaphor for what can happen to a woman’s identity when she has children. She’s no longer considered a valuable person in her own right, but instead becomes known first and foremost as somebody’s mother and is primarily judged accordingly.

Motherhood often coincides with middle age, a time when women begin to feel invisible because they no longer meet the cultural definition of eye candy. They disappear from movies, get shuffled out of prime-time TV spots and replaced with younger women. If older women do appear, it’s mostly in ads selling scented candles and life insurance.

A while back, bizarre photos of baby pictures with hidden mothers from the Victorian era circulated around the internet. The mothers hid themselves under curtains or sheets to make themselves invisible. In some cases the mothers’ faces seem to be scratched off the photos. Some have asked “if it is the mother why scratch out the face?”

The theory that most “hidden mothers” were actually assistants of the photographer who helped prepare the women and children for their photographs and held the children when needed. The theory is that if it was the mother there would be no need to hide them and certainly, as in these cases, to block out the face.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the process of scratching a face from a photograph is "scary". Ooooohhhh!!!!!! Eeeeek!!!!!




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