Moms in the middle: Parenting magazines, motherhood texts and the “mommy wars.”
This research examines the role of parenting magazines and popular texts about motherhood in the social construction of the “mommy wars,” or the cultural tug-of-war between women who work for pay and women who stay home to care for their children. A critical discourse analytic method was used to examine a constructed 10-year sample of Parents magazine, as well as the three best-selling mainstream motherhood texts from 1990 to 2000. Two predominant themes were identified, as well as a number of salient sub themes, all of which contribute to a socially constructed ideology of motherhood. This analysis suggests that these texts perpetuate the “mommy wars” by reinforcing the views working and at-home mothers have of themselves, promoting the ideology of intensive mothering, and discouraging discussion of the ambivalence many women feel about motherhood.
Thesis (M.A.) - Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Elliott School of Communication