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Media, Mothers in

  • By: Mary Thompson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

There is a distinction between the sociohistorical category of mothers (real women engaged in parenting and who differ by race, age, adoption practices, sexual orientation, immigration status, and economic class) and media representations of motherhood, which reflect dominant cultural norms of white, hetero-normative, middle-class values and fears. These representations eclipse mothers from marginalized groups or deploy them as representations against which normative mothering is defined. There are dominant representations, both in entertainment and the news media, of the ideological work performed by mothers in reflecting, constructing, and resisting norms of motherhood.

Early Media Portrayals of Motherhood

Representations of motherhood, although always present in popular culture and mass media, have only in the past four decades garnered critical attention. Media portrayals of motherhood have often reflected an ongoing ...

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