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Mediated Moms

Contemporary Challenges to the Motherhood Myth

Edited By Heather L. Hundley and Sara E. Hayden

Images of «good mothers» saturate the media, yet so too do images of mothers who do not fit this mold. Numerous scholars have addressed «bad mothers» in the media, arguing that these images are a necessary counterpoint that serves to buttress the «good mother» myth. While mediated images of women who fail to enact good motherhood may promote good mothering as an ideal, the essays in Mediated Moms: Contemporary Challenges to the Motherhood Myth, suggest that this is not all that is occurring in contemporary portrayals of maternity. The authors in this volume explore how images of mothers have expanded beyond the good/bad dichotomy, simultaneously and sometimes paradoxically serving to reinforce, fracture, and/or transcend the ideology of good motherhood.
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2. Counter-Intensive Mothering: Exploring Transgressive Portrayals and Transcendence on Mad Men



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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