Petru Maior University, Târgu-Mureş, Romania
The Blog as an Instrument of Deconstructing the Mass Culture Stereotypes of Postmodern Motherhood. Two Case Studies
Abstract: The current study is based on two premises. The first premise relies on Constructivism according to which, as any aspect of reality, motherhood is socially and historically shaped. The second premise claims that the social construction of motherhood is performed by mass-culture through an intense process of stereotype assignment, a process that mass-media nurtures and promotes. The goal is to show that the online environment (new media) has the necessary resources to counteract the idealisation and mystification of motherhood which is visible in traditional mass-media, as well as other new media areas, such as virtual communities dedicated to mothers. For this purpose, two recently published blog-texts written by young mothers are analysed. It will be shown that the image of Postmodern radiant motherhood is deconstructed by foregrounding semantic structures in which the negative representations of the mother, the child, and their relationship are prevalent.
Keywords: Motherhood; Mass Culture; Mass-Media; New Media; Idealisation; Deconstruction.
1. Introduction. The Radiant Motherhood of Mass Culture
Despite the numerous social changes triggered by Feminist movements, which integrated, more and more throughout time, the lessons of Constructivist sociology according to which reality is socio-culturally constructed, motherhood remains a problematic topic. On the one hand, motherhood is a social dimension menaced by taboos and stereotypes and, on the other hand, it is a difficult subject for socio-humanistic research, as the current state-of-the-art in the field has structural and conceptual gaps. There are two main explanations for this current state. First, motherhood continues to be anchored in traditional grounds – the cultural heritage of the innate instinct and of the social and moral duty to have children –, despite the Feminist enrolment which views motherhood as a choice, as a liberty (a rather theoretical approach which has been distributed in a non-unitary manner across social strata).
Second, paradoxically, the fact that women earned fundamental rights – the right to work, to vote, to speak etc. – triggers, at least at the level of social perception, an anachronism which goes against Feminist claims, which are by no means unitary, in a Post-Feminist environment. A fact which derives from the perpetuation of the traditional desire to have children is the fact that women themselves contribute to the consolidation of the Naturalistic representation of motherhood (understood as an essential role which brings about personal fulfilment and social recognition in a woman’s life). In this context, motherhood can easily be converted to, as it usually does, an instrument which foregrounds and, at the same time, imposes limitations to womanhood.
The influence of mass-culture on the way women are currently depicted is, as before noticed, enormous. The most popular themes include the excessive sexualisation of women, the emergence of a new ideal of beauty inspired by celebrities, TV stars especially. The influence of mass-culture is also visible in the depiction of the postmodern paradigm of solar motherhood. But, paradoxically, as Sharon Hays states, the rules of mass culture, which dictate what a successful mother is, are not the same rules as those which state what it takes to be a successful business, career woman. The two sets of rules are quite conflicting. In other words, when the postmodern woman becomes a mother, a discontinuity emerges in the way she is represented by mass-culture, yielding what Sharon Hays calls the cultural contradiction of motherhood. If, until she becomes a mother, the woman must be slender, displaying a flawless physique, and must rediscover her individualistic side, centred on achieving personal fulfilment both on an affective, and on a career level, once a mother, the woman becomes the child’s appendix, learning to give up the recently won individualistic dimension. The woman must be ready to give it up at a point, as motherhood is considered an obligatory step in a woman’s life. At least, this is what mass-culture and Western cultures teach us. The sacrifice this step entails is partially concealed in mass-culture by the hedonist side of motherhood. Maternal hedonism considers the child as object, as pleasure supplier (for the mother and not only). By ignoring an entire tradition of child and childhood, mass-culture focuses on the angelical image, intrinsically positive, of children (especially of those at a tender age), as it equally focuses on its ability to advocate for the symbolical immortality of the parent, of the mother in particular. In addition, mass-culture stresses for the need to conform to a new cultural paradigm of motherhood: the solar paradigm of the good mother, whose main trait is the absence of ambivalence.
Western social imagery displays a strong tendency to cast out any sort of ambivalence from the way motherhood is represented. Yet, as many history of ideas researchers notice, and as a wealthy size of psychoanalysis points out, ambivalence is a specific trait of any human reality. The ambivalent background of motherhood hides behind two masks nowadays. On the one hand, this is done through the esthetical naturalization of birth (giving birth is a form of art) and, on the other hand, through taming motherly feelings (a mother will always have good feelings towards her child), in a context of Western cultural pozitivization of the Other. Yet, beyond any historical variation or cultural difference, motherhood had always been and still is a fact which places the woman in close proximity to death. First, to give birth, the woman runs a high risk of dying, second, labour is a state very much akin to disease, and, third, through motherhood not only life, but also death perpetuates. Reality outruns symbols, rigidly speaking, so that there are good mothers and bad mothers, but, even more frequently, simultaneously good and bad mothers, good and bad children.
2. More or Less Glorious Revolutions. Representing the Failure of Motherhood
The Internet is not only the space where the stereotypes are assigned to motherhood, but where the stereotyped motherhood reaches incredible highs (perpetuating the tradition of mass-media which depicts motherhood in a unitary manner). On the one hand, this is achieved through discourses and images which originate from communities dedicated to mothers, which additionally have clear messages regarding motherhood, messages that they discretely integrate in the text. On the other hand, there are the comments of various users, who visit the sites, and who express opinions in template-like ways. The Internet is the locus where the paradigm of the good mother is criticised, women having to confront the aspects of their own motherhood with various aspects which are not considered norm. In contrast to the written press, the Internet can more easily host deeply personal opinions, uncensored by a pre-established message which is delivered by ideologists or a given socio-professional status. To own and maintain a blog where columns, which do not have to be in agreement with any code, are published daily is easier to handle than to publish a piece of material which needs to obey standards. The authors of the blogs do not need to have a particular status; they do not need to be mass-media people or culture people, writers or experts in the education and the upbringing of children. Indeed, there is the risk that the personal opinion might model socio-cultural representation. The risk is undisputedly greater than the one presented in any work of fiction where reality is depicted and interpreted according to aesthetic grounds. But even when personal opinion manages to set itself apart from the models, it has a higher social value, being more predictable of a behaviour which is not isolated or particular to one individual only.
Taking this data into account, it is easy to understand the fact that, most of the times, the most important meaning of life to which the woman aspires, through motherhood, is the first milestone which falls. It seems that, no matter how much spiritual richness it would entail, motherhood is not a solution for the mother’s problems and, even more so, in some circumstances, it triggers various problems. By demystifying motherhood, which is subtly portrayed by means of humour, the two online texts which the paper analyses from the point of view of cultural studies (literary theory included), bring to the forefront a failure of personal motherhood, without insisting on it at a general level (motherhood fails locally and temporally; it is not a permanent failure). Through motherhood failure one must understand not only the de-stereotypisation of motherhood done through critical means, oriented towards objectification, but also the intense maternal feelings experienced by woman-narrators and blog authors which instate this de-stereotypisation contrary to the good mother prescription. The failure of motherhood entails the fact that motherhood means less satisfaction, a local diminishment of the happiness promoted by the trend of postmodern culture, of excessively solar motherhood. The great benefit of the texts is that they reinstate the semantic potential of motherhood in an ambivalent manner, altering their ability to manifest themselves in stereotypes (the texts have a psycho-cultural meaning), as well as the fact that the personal failure of motherhood, as stated above, is understood, by both blog authors, but more so in the second text, as being valid for other women (the texts have social meaning).
2.1. People don’t understand what a persecuted sect parents are. The disenchantment of motherhood
The first text which we will interpret, The glorious feeling of motherhood, was posted on the Ink4thought blog. The author is, as the descriptions show, a woman with two children. The blog article was published on the 11th April 2012 and gathered, untilthe 12th January 2015, 84 comments. In short, the text presents a mother’s confession about the existential suffocation she experiences because of the two children. Besides the daily responsibilities with which the children enslave the mother, they literally track her, in the house. The children even want to be a part of her most intimate moments, as are the ones which happen inside a bathroom. Her description of the mother is done with great humour, so that the harsh realities are never too difficult to bear (neither for the narrator, nor for its public), and the likeness with a tragic dimension of a self-evaluated existence are not threatening. These realities are those of the mother-narrator, who finds time for herself with great effort. There is an interesting set in stage of this lack of personal time, the author’s confession being directly targeted at the audience: “I’ve just entered the toilet to be able to write to you. I turned on the air conditioning, so as not to hear my daughter’s squeaking sounds, from the bedroom”. This is a confession-demonstration of the incompatibility between motherhood and the free management of the relationship between the mother and a third-party (her relational field becomes narrower and narrower until it encompasses the child only), but also a highlight of the ingenuity which the mother must display to maintain a relative control over her life as it used to be before motherhood. The text is very generous in the details about how you can be something else besides a mother, and details about the degree of ingenuity she needs in order to have a love life. Ambivalence is omnipresent in the text, an ambivalence which is targeted at motherhood, children, and life after children. It should still be noticed that humour –moderately ironical and benign – sets this ambivalence rather in a descriptive communication environment, a confession one, than in a critical or pedagogical register. The purpose of the text, compared to its content, is reflexive and non-transcendent. In other words, what the woman sitting on the toilet seat wants to convey is this very image of a slightly tormented motherhood which is, at the same time, difficult and divergent compared to the standards of happy motherhood proposed by the majority of the Romanian and international socio-cultural representation enhanced by mass-media.
The tyrannical child
The story of the author’s children does not contain many traits of the stereotypical representations of the child. The description is far from that of an angelical, well-behaved, decorative child. The child-like spirit is prevalent (“My elder son hunts dragons in the house”), but new elements appear: a non-deliberate and comical preciousness (“The little one is not one yet and is spoon-fed elsewhere, in a special chair which makes the child look like an absolute monarch”), whims (“What meat is this?, the brave dragon hunter asks, wiggling his nose”). To counteract them, the mother must resort to lie; she must not tell him that it is veal meat, because the child would frown at it, and the many hours devoted to healthy cooking would be in vain. The child’s egotism is obvious: he follows his mother so that she may not eat something sweet in private, fact which could have caused great indignation without the humoristic cover up the mother crafts for herself:
As soon as my son hears the sound of wrappers, he starts interrogating me: “What do you have there?” I see his eyes sparkling, when the sweet smell reaches his nostrils (in case you didn’t figure it out yet, all 5-year olds are complete sugar junkies, capable of extreme violence for any jelly and crunchy crap; the more creepily coloured, the better).
Then, the tyrannical child seems to have a sixth sense to detect the mother’s strategies to defect from her duty of serving the child. So, the child thwarts her plans:
Oh… miserable me, I am trapped. I go out. The innocent, little masculine creature sits on his throne, wiggles for 2 seconds, and then, he says that he doesn’t want to poop, but that he just had a drop of pee. Yeah right, do you think I don’t know you, sneaky boy? You wanted to know what I am doing there. You smelled my hiding place, you little predator you, and you said to yourself, why should mommy rest for 5 minutes when I can just as well torture her? Without making her have her daily flip? This cannot be, let’s do something about that.
The house itself is depicted as being possessed and scribbled by the children who leave their tracks all over the place: “no matter where you sit, you get stuck to something which looks awfully a lot like barfed food”. The doll-like child – aspect which summons at least three features: kindness, beauty and dissolution of corporeality – promoted by advertising and cinema to the mass-culture – becomes a distant image.
The same children make her furious, pushing her patience to the limits when they show disgust towards the food in the plate (“There are days when I feel like stuffing the spinach in his ears when I see with how much contempt my boy stirs it in the plate, by tossing and turning it with the spoon and drawing imaginary fortifications with it”). The tyrannical children, as miniature adults, determine the mother to initiate a battle filled with multiple, and less honest tricks and strategies, a battle which hides its own violent nature. It could not be otherwise done, since it is a culturally unacceptable fight, unequal from the point of view of the forces involved, in every possible way. In addition, contemporary society has already decided that the child must come out as the winner. In a way, it is a battle for survival, a battle of the woman which is bound to cave in to the devouring side of motherhood. In other words, it is a battle of the feminine identity which does not want to be placed under the incidence of the sacrificial laws of “being a mother”. However, beyond the aspects which are related to motherhood, it is the survival battle of a person, no matter how mature, in the face of another person, no matter how small. It is a battle which does not have the advantage of happening on literary grounds. Literature is much more willing than any other text produced by mass-media and new media to provide a mirror for the cruelty of the child, if we consider the famous novel “The Lord of the Flies”, written by William Golding or, recently, if we consider the short stories of Alice Munro, the Nobel laureate. The mother leaves the children, by inventing excuses for long-term shopping (“I am lying because I like to go shopping, and to buy the groceries three times a week, only to leave the house”), and hides in the house to eat chocolate (“I ended up hiding, just like junkies. I never got to hide like that to get chocolate, not even from my own mother”) or pretends to be caught up in her translation work in order to take a short break to read the newspaper. The mother tries to find a way to set herself free from the tyrant child, to gain freedom, fleeting as it may be, and to do this the lie proves to be a virtue. Even the act of sitting “on the toilet seat in dirty steam” is sometimes preferable to the child who overwhelms the parent. No sacrifice is too great when freedom needs to be found (“I am sitting with my pants down and the laptop in my lap and I forget about myself. Oh, it feels so good! I must be dreaming…”). This freedom is not necessarily linked to intellectual or professional activities, and not even with the relaxation moments strictly understood as rest, and as compensation for a deficit in psychical tonus – a relaxation which even maternal discourses accept, but only as a sort of need placed at the mother-child boundary, and only because the mother’s tiredness is felt by the child as well. The mother is denied her need to dream and the right to free activities, as they have no ethical impact and no benefit for the child.
The Overworked Mother
The mother-author presents herself directly and indirectly as being overwhelmed. The happy mother, a prototype for the imaginary and textual mass-media representations, who runs with her children in parks, has nothing to do with this particular mother. The children want the mother only for themselves, stalk her every move. The house becomes a battle field, filled with the secretions of infants, a much disputed territory, where the bathroom is the woman’s last stand, a place which proves to be inefficient on a long-term basis each and every single time. The partner who is the children’s father is totally overwhelmed by this existential situation (of fatherhood). He tries to keep up with his children’s mischievous deeds, but ends by resorting to the mother (“The door shakes with each violent slap and my poor husband, kneeled and at his wits end, begs me to come out, because my son’s tummy hurts and really wants to poop”). The authors speaks, in colloquial language, about the challenges launched by motherhood on her love life and about the effort she must make to feel fulfilled with her love life, an effort out of which a great deal is bound to fail:
You have no idea how ingenious we have become to be able to make love. The children are teeming everywhere. The bedroom became her room. The children’s room became his room. We are only left with the living-room, which has a window at the door and is crammed with toys. So, if we do not break our legs getting there, we can reach the bed every now and then. Or, better said, we crash…flat…..because we are tired. Sometimes, in our magical nights, when we are ecstatic and free, we even manage to articulate a couple of love words: “Did you prepare the bottle for steam disinfection? “ “Yap” “Give me the remote”. Later on, snoring can be heard.
The narrator openly calls herself persecuted, but everything is shrouded in a humour which diminishes (without eliminating) a possible negative impact on the advocates of idealised motherhood: “You see, the world does not understand what a persecuted sect parents can be”.
Feeding the little girl, who is less than one year old, is presented as an annoying activity for the mother who has to go through the baptism of being hit with food:
And speaking of feeding her, what a gratifying and sublime experience! My blood pressure rises every single time. My heart grows. My cardiac muscle literally dilates. My heart is pounding. Oh, how could I describe the feeling? Her feeding is like trying to feed a mobile fan which is watching a tennis match, splashing the mashed potatoes all over the place. The lateral wall has already been acquainted with the violent touch of pear and cereal, while the wall behind the TV is quite familiar with the fine and puffy touch of porridge and milk.
In the same ironical style, the author insists on how fury, rage and anxiety are manifested somatically: “I take a deep breath and I pray that the vein which is pulsating in my brain does not explode” or “And I think to myself, there goes another day when my nerves have been severely challenged. It would have been so good if my nerves had been made of titan”.
Motherhood Set Free. The Child Always Poops
The tyrant child and the overworked mother are two semantic structures which stand out as part of the glorious feeling of motherhood, which led us to the idea that there can be a motherhood freed from the conventions of the Good Mother Postmodern cultural paradigm and from those of perfect motherhood. Motherhood, as understood in this text, cannot be a wonder age, not exclusively at least, since the base elements which make up motherhood – the mother and the child – are not the emblematic images of mass-media, but images inspired by reality. It is a reality where the children, no matter how adorable, are human beings, and human beings are not what they seem, as they are capable of both good and evil. Human beings are interested in offering love and attention to the others, but also in asking the same things from them. In addition, the reality represented in the text is one where children, impulsive as they may be, are even more prone to cause minor problems. When accumulated, the problems can trigger a radical effect – just because children are not yet transformed by the socialization process and are very unpredictable. An action-reaction relation is also manifest; the reality of a mother who must live with real children, who are neither idols, nor angels, and, upon which, society exerts pressure in order to give them a proper upbringing. Society places, at the same level, the feeling of love that a mother feels for her own child and the satisfaction which the woman displays in relation to absolutely everything pertaining to motherhood.
If it is quite clear that, in this text, at the level of representation, motherhood is set free from the postmodern cultural and mass-media stereotypes. What might be less obvious is the symbolical liberation incorporated in these representations through the image of “shit”: “I am already spending half my life with my hand in other people’s shit. They are my children, but it still stinks”, says the mother-author. Milan Kundera described kitsch as a sick concealment of shit:
Pooping represents the daily proof of how unacceptable Creation is. Now, there are two possibilities: either shit is acceptable (and then we stop blocking ourselves, with a turn of key, in the toilet!), or the process through which we were created is unacceptable. The result is the fact that the definite agreement with the being has as an aesthetic ideal: a world where pooping is not permitted or accepted, and where people behave as if it does not exist. This aesthetic ideal is called kitsch.
Using poop as a defining element for motherhood is equivalent to an attempt to eliminate the kitsch which pollutes a large part of the Romanian and international, contemporary socio-cultural representations.
Peaceful Motherhood. A Paradox
Due to the way it ends, the text conveys the idea of a noble motherhood, as classically perceived. However, there is a shift towards motherhood seen as dependence of the mother on the child (not of the child on the mother). It can be said that there is a mingling of disenchanted motherhood and the motherhood which is part of the shattered magic. The result is a sort of paradoxical motherhood which sees love as torture:
And here is something which defies logic. I keep on loving my children. Pain is so close to pleasure, as they say… If you keep me three hours away from this madhouse, I feel a yearning for tears or panic. I press the acceleration, I run with my bags up the hill, letting my scarf fall or paying 15 euro on taxi only to get home faster to my tormenting bundles of joy. (Even when leaving the house, I have vague regrets that I did not move to New Zeeland to take up solitary fishing…). Does anybody doubt a woman’s masochism?
The question which arises for any attentive reader of the blog is whether this paradox truly is an accepted responsibility or whether the author tries to save face by making a last confession. From the point of view of relevance, politics should be in favour of the social aid given to women with children, either through creating institutions, or through advocating in favour of greater commitment from the point of view of the father – who is forever absent, static and who does not encourage any change. On the other hand, we must admit that, it is not the purpose of personal, confession texts, to offer social solutions.
2.2. Why didn’t you tell me how hard it would be? Challenging the contemporary representations of motherhood
The second text which we will analyse is more succinct and less rich in revolutionary content. The text is called My Life after Having a Baby, and it is featured by a blog, where more people publish. The Stylists. A Fashion Blog is dedicated to fashion and lifestyle. Until the 10th January 2015, the column posted on the blog, onthe 21st of March 2013, gathered 32 comments. The author publishes under the name of Ioana Bora. She is the mother of a one month girl. Unlike the previous case, the discourse is relatively linear; it is not filled with narratives depicting children’s pranks, but it demystifies motherhood quite severely. The tone is not humorous and has no resources for humour. The text is curt and terse describing the love and admiration for your own child. The author wants to make sure that these feelings reach the public, in addition to the rhetoric of revolt (“Why didn’t you tell me?”) against those who concealed the hidden and dark side hiding beneath the motherhood iceberg. There are two main semantic structures through which motherhood is deconstructed in this text, the exasperated mother and the motherhood which is called to justice.
The Exasperated Mother
The mother we discuss here is not the overworked mother from the previous text, although this level of meaning is also present (“I’ve had her for a month and a couple of days, and since then I began having great dexterity and powers I didn’t know I possessed. You can say ‘I cannot’, only until you have to”). This is a mother who is less detached from what is happening to her, a mother who inquires herself and the others about her new status, who is perplexed by her new role which she perceives as a trap. This is not because she wouldn’t have liked to be a mother (“I wouldn’t have given up this experience for anything in the world”), but because she didn’t prepare herself for what was to come (“at least I would have known what to expect”). If we try to identify the real cause, we notice that the exasperation comes not so much from the many needs the child has, but from the feeling of injustice displayed by the community, the close friends, who are also mothers and who did not warn her of the less happy aspects of motherhood. Frustration is also caused by the fact that motherhood continues to be portrayed as an easy, natural process, as the women do not admit to the difficulties they go through. Frustration is frequently illustrated in the text as a combination of too much work and revolt targeted at mothers and, in a more general sense, at women. The author tries to keep her baby girl in her arms, as well as write on the computer. It is an ordeal which she goes through in order to be able to write about the ordeal she goes through. It is the ordeal of having individual freedom restrained. The husband is absent from the text; he is not involved in feeding the child every three hours, when the child cries. The child’s cry is often accompanied by the mother’s cry as she is overwhelmed by the child’s exhausting addiction: “Each time she cries, I look at her dearly and I cry as well, most of the times whenever I do not know how to relieve her of the pain and when I feel like a dead battery”. The confession is violent and reveals that the mother is helpless, and that she wants to leave the game, at least temporary:
And I admit that, like any homo sapiens, sometimes, I feel that I cannot go on anymore, even for my child, even if I love the child more than anything else in the whole world. I am not and I will never be a ‘heroine’ mother, as one of my friends likes to call those perfect mothers, which would not admit to mistakes even if they were tortured. I am not an accomplished mother, I have my flaws, I make mistakes and I am… human.
This acknowledged human side equals to the fact that the mother admits what the limits of happiness, of maternal fulfilment and of honesty are:
If there is anything I cannot be accused of, it is the cheap theatre to save face. I am everything you read on the blog. I am real, authentic, sometimes mean, and sometimes good. I am not a cardboard diva, and I wouldn’t like to be anything that I am not. And today I admit that it is hard for me.
But the author does not merely describe the maternal models which do not conform themselves to reality, but offers motherhood a new face, from the newly gained experience. Her experience clearly contradicts the idealized images of postmodern motherhood:
There is nothing fancy about raising a child, from what I managed to see so far. There is nothing beautiful in losing night after night, in having little time for personal hygiene or in the lack of friends. She is gulping her food now. I know that after she eats she will want to belch and she will barf most of the times, reason for which I do not wear the negligee I’ve been using for a very long time in my bed sheets. I wear worn-out pyjamas, which soon smell of milk. I no longer spend my days relaxing in the shower, in the evening. While shower used to be the routine, it now seems like luxury. So is washing the dishes. And so are laundry and Saturday cleaning. I spend 99% of the day with my child. The 24 hours suddenly seem too short.
Disenchanted motherhood is more brutal than in the previous text, where the deconstruction of motherhood was performed through the child who was annoying, with more or less conscious intentions of gratifying an egotistic self. In the first text, humour was used to conceal the seriousness of the issue. In the second text, the woman is on the verge of de-feminising herself (there is a stark contrast between the life the author had before the child and the life she has after becoming a mother), and on the verge of depression because she cannot fulfil some basic needs like sleep and hygiene.
The Call to Justice
This woman who has been thrown into a desperate state is the one who calls the entire community of women to justice. As mentioned earlier this can be extended to the entire society, because women conceal the truth about motherhood intentionally:
The first question I asked my friend-mothers was: why didn’t you tell me how hard it would be? I have never heard a mother complain about the effort involved in raising a child and now I wonder why people don’t talk about it. Why don’t people clearly state what should be expected? Why does every woman I ask say that it is so beautiful to have children? Why doesn’t anybody tell me that it is also excruciating?
The mothers thus portrayed seem totally devoid of solidarity, but even the person who charges them finds a possible excuse to justify their non-communicative attitude and brings to the forefront the cultural correlative model (the bad mother model): “Why do women think that, if they admit that they have difficulties, they will be judged and a scarlet letter reading bad mother will be tattooed on their forehead?”.
Like the other text, the end eliminates any inter- or intra personal conflict, it focuses on the love for the child, and it underlines the current cultural perception according to which a woman cannot speak of motherhood unless she is a mother. The motherhood illustrated in the text of the blog becomes a Phenomenological one, as it is presented in mass-media representations, where the people who do not know motherhood from the inside are excluded, discredited and sanctioned. Only mothers hold valid knowledge in child upbringing and they are the sole authority. The good reputation of the mothers is re-established by this Phenomenological recognition of motherhood and a mute communication is reinstated between the mothers, by acknowledging that they all belong to a group:
Before having the child we did not know what a mother’s love is. We didn’t know whether this whole thing isn’t overrated. I found that you can love like you’ve never loved before, that your child is the most beautiful, that you tend to talk about the child only and that, if your peers did not experience this before, it would be difficult for them to understand why you act like a lunatic who cannot talk about anything else but the baby. All this seems quite normal now.
Motherhood is portrayed contrastively on the Internet. On the one hand, there are the texts and the emblematic images which strengthen, sometimes amplifying to denial level, the stereotypical representations of women – the solar motherhood, the act of having children because of social duty, the undisputed happiness offered by motherhood – valuable on its own The woman’s life partner behaves like a child and is poorly involved in the infant’s upbringing. Other representations are derived from exaggeration, by over-using stereotypical representations. On the other hand, there are other blog texts that deconstruct these representations, suggesting others, where the particular details and even the contradictions give the impression that motherhood is acknowledged on a personal, social and cultural level. Although indirectly, without adopting a conceptual, theoretical approach, many of these texts, as seen from the aspects analysed in the paper, are very critical of solar motherhood (the Good Mother). Solar motherhood hides the ambivalence of any motherhood and can function as lessons for all women who think of becoming mothers or for those who already are mothers, but feel trapped as a result, motherhood in which any failure is socially stigmatised and which cannot be represented.
This work was supported by the strategic grant POSDRU/159/1.5/S/133652, co-financed by the European Social Fund within the Sectorial Operational Program Human Resources Development 2007 – 2013.
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 Cf.: Maggie Wykes and Barrie Gunter, The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill, Thousand Oaks, California, SAGE, 2005. Adrian Furnham and Stephanie Paltzer, “The Portrayal of Men and Women in Television Advertisements: An Updated Review of 30 Studies Published Since 2000”, in Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2010, 51, p. 216–236.
 Petrina Brown, Eve. Sex, Childbirth and Motherhood through The Ages, West Sussex, Summersdale, 2004. Philippe Ariès, L’Enfant et la vie familiale sous l’Ancien Régime, Paris, Edition du Seuil, 1975.
 Danielle Teller and Astro Teller, In the Name of the Child: How American parenting is killing the American marriage, http://qz.com/273255/how-american-parenting-is-killing-the-american-marriage/, 14 sept 2014, last time consulted 18.11.2014. Paul Van Tongeren, “The Paradox of our Desire for Children”, in Ethical Perspectives 2 (1), 1995, p. 55-62.
 Even though this mass-culture tends to compensate, in terms of fictional productions (horror/thriller movies and books), the excess of positive images regarding children, in such situations, the child becomes a medium via which death enters the world, being an instance of the manifestation of evil. The following can also be considered as reference: The Others, 2001; First Born, 2007; Baby Blues, 2008; Shutter Island, 2010; The Woman in Black, 2012
 Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels, The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women, New York, London, Toronto, Sidney, The Free Press, 2004. Jean-Anne Sutherland, “Idealization of Motherhood”, in Andrea O’Reilly (ed.), Encyclopedia of Motherhood, Thousand Oaks, California, SAGE, 2010. Judith Warner, Perfect Madness. Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety,New York, Riverhead Trade, 2006.
 Karen Horney, Feminine Psychology, New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 1967. Sigmund Freud, “Taboo and the Ambivalence of Emotions”, in Totem and Taboo, 1919, retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/41214/41214-h/41214-h.htm#CHAPTER_II, last time consulted 01.03.2014.
 Cyrille Deloro, L’autre. Petit traité de narcissisme intelligent, Paris, Larousse, 2010. Serge Lesourd, “La mélancolisation du sujet postmoderne ou la disparition de l’Autre”, in Cliniques Méditerranéennes, 1(75), 2007, p. 13–26.
 Ronald de Souza, “Enfanter et mourir. Réflexions sur une approche biologique du rapport entre la sexualité et la mort”, in Frédéric Lenoir, Jean-Philippe de Tonnac (eds.), La mort et l’immortalité. Encyclopédie des savoirs et des croyances, Paris, Bayard. p. 1451-1467
 Because the distribution logic of the information is different from the one found offline. Cf: Andrea B. Hollingshead, “Communication Technologies, the Internet, and Group Research”, in Michael. A. Hogg and Scott Tindale (eds.), Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology: Group Processes, Wiley-Blackwell, 2003, p. 557-574.
 Technology and new media become true means of perpetuating the mass-culture stereotypes observable in traditional mass-media, despite the hopes of the early technology era according to which the Internet will trigger a cultural revolution which will free people from gender inequality stereotypes, see: Bronwyn T. Williams, “Girl Power in a Digital World: Considering the Complexity of Gender, Literacy, and Technology”, in Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Volume 50, Issue 4, December-January, 2006, p. 300–307.
 As many studies have already shown, motherhood increases the risk of poverty, disease and depression: B. Rochman, “Why Having Kids Is Bad for Your Health”, in Time (Health and Family), 2011, retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/11/is-parenthood-bad-for-your-health/, last time consulted 01.03.2014. Ranae J. Evenson and Robin W. Simon, “Clarifying the Relationship between Parenthood and Depression”, in Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46(4), 2005, p. 341–358. Sara McLanahan and Erin Kelly, “The Feminization of Poverty: Past and Future”, in J. S. Chafetz (ed.), Handbook of the Sociology of Gender, Springer, 2006, p. 127–147.
 http://ink4thought.com/, last time consulted 18.01.2015.
 http://ink4thought.com/2012/04/11/gloriosul-sentiment-al-maternitatii-3/#comments, last time consulted 18.01.2015.
 A widely spread tip mass-media advocates in terms of the mother-child relationship is Relax, rest, because stress is not good for you or the child. The mother is rarely considered a separate identity from that of the child.
 The father is always absent from the mass-culture representations which take into account the idea of having and raising children. Cf.: Alexis Coe, “Dads Caring for Their Kids: It’s Parenting, not Babysitting”, in The Atlantic, 23 Jan. 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/01/dads-caring-for-their-kids-its-parenting-not babysitting/267443, last time consulted 01.02.2014.
 http://www.stilistele.ro/category/blog/, last time consulted 10.01.2013.