Locating the ‘invisible’ mum: Exploring maternal selfie practices

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Abstract

This article draws on ten semi-structured interviews with mothers about their maternal selfie practices in order to explore how they use and navigate the form in relation to their motherhood identities and experiences. Whilst work on the form is still emerging, we examine the claim that maternal selfies offer space for a uniquely subjective expression/depiction of motherhood. As part of this, we explore how discussions of their selfie practices–and appraisals of the cultural circulation of the maternal selfie–resist and (re)produce discourses on acceptable digital and cultural paradigms of motherhood. The themes which emerged from these data were 1) the maternal selfie as empowerment, 2) authenticity as regulatory discourse and 3) the risks of negative affect. In drawing on work on neoliberal and intensive mothering frames, the article examines how the increasing emphasis (in digital cultures in particular) on displaying the complex realities of motherhood are implicated within the surveillance and self-surveillance of maternal visibility in ways which may (further) delimit the possibilities for maternal self-expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-403
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Volume33
Issue number4
Early online date27 Sep 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Motherhood
  • Selfie
  • Subjectivity
  • judgement
  • Intensive mothering
  • intensive mothering
  • subjectivity
  • selfie

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