A radical act or one that reinforces stereotypes? How mum blogging influences subvert/ support views of motherhood
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In the last 10 years, mum/mom/mommy blogging has become a global phenomenon, with mothers from China to Chile, Perth to Paris, performing their lives online, writing about and representing the private and the political for the whole world to see, using text, photos and video. Mum blogging was initially viewed by some of the feminist literature as a ‘radical act’, often portrayed as challenging stereotypes and archetypes of motherhood commonly represented in traditional advertising and film, television and print media. However, as consumers have shifted their attention from traditional to digital and user-generated media, mum bloggers have become recognised by commercial organisations (and the marketers and public relations practitioners within them) as increasingly important influencers. As the media landscape has changed, so too has the act of mum blogging, and often stereotypical mum types could be said to now dominate social media, and garner the greatest followers. However, this paper argues that while many mum bloggers have adapted their representation to meet the demands of commerce and have therefore continued to promote stereotypes, there is still an underbelly of resistance and subversion amongst some bloggers. Based on a five-year digital and in-real-life ethnography of Australian mum bloggers, this paper offers a nuanced view of the role of the bloggers’ humour and pathos in challenging mum stereotypes, while acknowledging the tensions of money making for some of the more ‘popular’ bloggers.
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