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Leaf through an issue of a parenting magazine and you will be inundated by page after page of bright, colorful products. These products reassure you that they are safe and reliable, often bearing labels such as "Mom Tested" or "Pediatrician Approved." The person shown is usually a smiling, physically fit Caucasian woman clad in a stylish outfit playing with her clean, happy children in a sunny and well-organized home. She is the Mythic Mom: buy these products and you too may attain her state of charming, if sometimes unruly, bliss.

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This document was originally published in Visible M(Others): Images of Parenting in Visual Culture by Boise State University. Copyright restrictions may apply.