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Title: Welfare Queens, thrifty housewives, and do-It-all mums: Celebrity motherhood and the cultural politics of austerity
Authors: Allen, K
Mendick, H
Harvey, L
Ahmad, A
Keywords: Austerity;Celebrity;Motherhood;Post-feminism;Social class
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Feminist Media Studies, 15(6): pp. 907–925, (2015)
Abstract: In this paper, we consider how the cultural politics of austerity within Britain plays out on the celebrity maternal body. We locate austerity as a discursive and disciplinary field and contribute to emerging feminist scholarship exploring how broader political and socio-economic shifts interact with cultural constructions of femininity and motherhood. To analyse the symbolic function of mediated celebrity maternity within austerity, the paper draws on a textual analysis of three celebrity mothers: Kate Middleton, Kim Kardashian, and Beyoncé. This analysis was undertaken as part of a larger qualitative study into celebrity culture and young people's classed and gendered aspirations. We show how these celebrity mothers represent the folk devils and fantasy figures of the maternal under austerity—the thrifty, happy housewife, the benefits mum, and the do-it-all working mum—and attempt to unpick what cultural work they do in the context of austerity within Britain. Through the lens of celebrity motherhood, we offer a feminist critique of austerity as a programme that both consolidates unequal class relations and makes punishing demands on women in general, and mothers in particular.
ISSN: 1468-0777
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