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  • IE180827.knowing_mother_September_2019_R5_final_CLEAN_VERSION_submitted

    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Journal of Consumer Culture, ? (?), 2019, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2019 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Journal of Consumer Culture page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/JOC on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

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    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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The Knowing mother: Maternal knowledge and the reinforcement of the feminine consuming subject in magazine advertisements

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
  • Teresa Davis
  • Margaret Hogg
  • David Marshall
  • Alan Petersen
  • Tanja Schneider
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/12/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Consumer Culture
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date2/12/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The caring mother is one of the most recurring images of femininity in post-war advertising. We examine how mothers are depicted as knowing consumers in advertisements in Australian Women’s Weekly and the United Kingdom’s Good Housekeeping magazines between 1950 and 2010. Our data suggest that although visual representations of maternal consumer knowledge change over this period, assumptions about the responsibilities of mothers endure in the family-related advertisements in these women’s magazines. There is a shift over time, however, from a representation of mothers as passive recipients of advice provided by external experts to a more active representation of mothers as experts themselves within both domestic and private spheres. We trace historically how the trope of the knowing mother works as a visual discursive device that helps to reinforce not just patriarchal hegemony, but a particular form of maternal hegemony. The hegemony of motherhood presents a particularly desirable/idealised femininity. However, this visual depiction also serves to gender the very way in which maternal knowledge is to be used. While maternal knowledge is depicted as changing from being merely intuitive or practical to subsuming the technique of knowledge or prescribed expertise; the purposes for which such knowledge is used remain firmly situated within the maternal/feminine realm of nurturing and caring consumption for the family. Despite shifts in discourse that appear to increasingly value mothers’ knowledge—there exists an enduring assumption that mothers should use their knowledge for domestic caring and consumption , ultimately reinforcing a heteronormativity of the use of women’s knowledge that subdues even expert knowledge for a domestic purpose.

Bibliographic note

Please note that most of the advertisements from Australian Women's Weekly and Good Housekeeping (1950-2010), which are the basis of this article, are not available to the journal readers because of copyright issues. The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Journal of Consumer Culture, ? (?), 2019, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2019 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Journal of Consumer Culture page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/JOC on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/