"Mother, Let Me Go!" - A Story of Liberation
Hello and Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. If you didn't read my last post that introduces the dynamic of parental liberation in the romance comics, do that first! Then come right on back and read "Mother, Let Me Go!" from Secret Hearts #151 (April 1971).
This Lee Elias illustrated story introduces us to Elaine, her meddling mother, and Elaine's "date" Bruce. Except, as you will see, Bruce isn't really Elaine's date...
Bruce is actually the fiancé of Gail, Elaine's friend. Elaine just borrowed him for the evening to get her mother off of her back. You see, Elaine's mother is absolutely terrified that no one will marry her headstrong daughter. Marrying Elaine off has been her mother's be all and end all goal for Elaine since she was a little girl. Naturally, her mother's pushiness, spying, and meddling resulted in many an embarrassing moment for Elaine, not to mention exhaustion.
"...If I don't go out every single night, you start pressing the panic button!"
A few months later, Elaine confides in Gail that she is sick and tired of every date leading to a battle with her mother. She tells Gail that she is so tired in fact that she doesn't think she could even fall in love -- "I'm so completely drained of all feelings and desires... even for love!" But that doesn't stop Elaine's mother from hooking her up the new neighbor boy, Danny.
Things get "serious" between Danny and Elaine. In truth, Elaine is just seeing him to keep her mother happy. One day when Danny proposes marriage, Elaine has to tell the truth. Her mother is beside herself and goes so far as to tell Elaine that it would have been better if she had never been born at all.
Understandably, Elaine goes into a depression of sorts after her mother's tirade. One day while in the cafeteria, Elaine is approached by a history professor named Alan. One thing leads to the next and the two fall in love. Their engagement comes quickly, and only after Alan's proposal does Elaine bring him home to meet her mother. The story ends on a humorous note with Elaine's mother reverting to her old ways of bribery. Alan is forgiving, but he'll learn -- right readers?!
Not all 1970s romance comics dealt with the Women's Movement directly. Some, such as "Mother, Let Me Go!" effectively demonstrated the power of establishing one's self as an individual in the context of family as a clear first step in liberation for young women. Maybe not as marketable as hot pants, but important nonetheless!