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'Parenting' or 'mothering': the case of modern childcare magazines'.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date07/2006
JournalDiscourse and Society
Journal number4
Volume17
Number of pages26
Pages503-528
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Many magazines devoted to the topic of the care of babies and young children now have titles which include some variation of parent rather than of mother (e.g. Parent and Child rather than Mother and Baby). This corresponds to evident new directions in social practices, and suggests a desire of the publishers to appeal to female and male readers. Whether both mothers and fathers are addressed and represented in the magazines makes these magazines particularly interesting sites for the study of fatherhood discourses. In this study, three magazines (Parents, Parenting and Baby Years) were analysed in terms of the extent to which the language of their advice features addressed women and/or men, and whether they could be seen as promoting ‘shared parenting’, ‘hands-on’ fatherhood, or at least a father-friendly environment. An examination of linguistic representation (in particular, of fathers), visuals, ‘voices’, gendered stereotypes and gendered discourses of parenting suggested that fathers are in fact not being fully addressed. These magazines may be lagging behind current social change and practices in ‘Western’ parenting.