"Becoming a mother is nothing like you see on TV!": a reflexive autoethnography exploring dominant cultural ideologies of motherhood

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily Jean Moran (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Lelia Villaverde

Abstract: Mothers in contemporary American society are bombarded with images and stereotypes about motherhood. Dominant cultural discourses of motherhood draw from essentialist and socially constructed ideologies that are oppressive to women. This study uses autoethnographic research methods to explore the author's experiences becoming a mother. Feminist theory is utilized to analyze the themes, the silences, and the absences in the autoethnographic stories. Using a feminist theoretical lens allows the author to deconstruct the hegemonic ideologies that shape the experience becoming a mother. I examine the role of dominant ideologies of motherhood in my own life. I explore the practices of maternal gatekeeping paying particular attention to the role of attachment theory in shaping the ideology of intensive mothering. I argue that autoethnography as a research method allows writers and readers to cross borders so long as they practice deep reflexivity and allow themselves to be vulnerable. This research is similar to Van Maanen's (1988) confessional tale, where the researcher writes about the process that takes place behind the scenes of the research project. In this project, I write an autoethnography and then I describe the process of analysis, vulnerability, and reflexivity while examining the themes and silences within the data.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2014
Keywords
Attachment Theory, Feminist Theory, Ideologies of Motherhood, Maternal Gatekeeping, Reflexive Autoethnography, Researcher Vulnerability
Subjects
Motherhood $x Psychological aspects
Motherhood in popular culture
Feminist theory
Women in mass media

Email this document to