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Mothers on Mothers

Maternal Readings of Popular Television

Rebecca Feasey

From Supernanny to Gilmore Girls, from Katie Price to Holly Willoughby, a wide range of examples of mothers and motherhood appear on television today. Drawing on questionnaires completed by mothers across the UK, this book sheds new light on the varied and diverse ways in which expectant, new and existing mothers make sense of popular representations of motherhood on television. The volume examines the ways in which these women find pleasure, empowerment, escapist fantasy, displeasure and frustration in popular depictions of motherhood. The research seeks to present the voice of the maternal audience and, as such, it takes as its starting point those maternal depictions and motherwork representations that are highlighted by this demographic, including figures such as Tess Daly and Katie Hopkins and programmes like TeenMom and Kirstie Allsopp’s œuvre.
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I would like to say thank you to all of the mothers who took the time and effort to complete my questionnaire, as I am fully aware that you all had far more pressing demands on your time. Your words have been enlightening and entertaining in equal measure. I hope to have presented your views and opinions as you see them on the representation of motherhood on British and American television; the pleasures and frustrations that you have spoken of are the cornerstone of this research and my hope is that your candid views will go some way to informing future planning and productions. Thank you not only for your answers to my set questions, but also for your broader comments regarding your own mothering practices and family dynamics, and helpful suggestions and recommendations regarding this research endeavour within and beyond the scope of the form. For all of your emotional honesty and candour, once again, I say thank you. I was and continue to be incredibly grateful for your time and efforts, and although it was never my intention, there was the suggestion in a small number of comments that I may have instigated a sense of frustration or disappointment not fully realised until now in relation to those images of motherhood and motherwork that you tend to watch on the small screen. And for that I am both delighted and apologetic. ← ix | x →

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