Families and Relationships and Societies

More than mothers: intimacies and affection in low-income women in Chile


Marjorie Murray

Pablo Herraz, Daniela Tapia, Constanza Tizzoni & Sofía Valdivieso


In Chile, low-income women who are mothers are confronted daily with a normative ideal that exacerbates them as caregivers, together with public demands and social policies that value their hyper-rationality and hyper-austerity in the management of their families. This emphasis on their reproductive roles obliterates their emerging sense of intimacy and significant relations. Based on three case studies, in this article, we reflect on urban low-income women’s sense of and desire for intimacy that exceeds but does not exclude their maternal self. We present our findings based on three heuristic aspects of intimacy: rooted strategies for a renovated desire for intimacy; the desire to enjoy; and life outside the house and the desire for meaningful relations. We observe that these women’s efforts in their search for intimacy require them to orchestrate various strategies involving time and space management, money and relationships while resisting the normative pressures that place them mainly as caregivers.