Contemporary Challenges to the Motherhood Myth
2. Counter-Intensive Mothering: Exploring Transgressive Portrayals and Transcendence on Mad Men
By SUZY D’ENBEAU & PATRICE M. BUZZANELL
Contemporary discourses and media representations of gender, mothering, and caregiving often are informed by assumptions of intensive mothering, depicting mothers who either do or do not conform to these ideals. Intensive-mothering discourses place high demands on maternal performances, calling upon women to emphasize caregiving responsibilities and to disregard other aspects of their lives that do not pertain to parenting (Douglas & Michaels, 2004; O’Brien Hallstein, 2010; see also Buzzanell & D’Enbeau, 2009; D’Enbeau & Buzzanell, 2010). Moreover, intensive mothering has been both celebrated and a cause for concern. For instance, much debate in the media and in everyday conversations occurred when the “Tiger Mom” phenomenon emerged in the media as a means by which mothers could help their children acquire a competitive edge through calculated development of talents, especially talents aligned directly with high-income educational pursuits, and minimization of seemingly peripheral activities and relationships (see Bronstein & Steiner, this volume; Chua, 2011; Juang, Qin, & Park, 2013; Suissa, 2013).
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