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Saying the unsayable: the online expression of mothers' anger during a pandemic.

Pedersen, Sarah; Burnett, Simon



This article investigates key triggers for mothers' anger during the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the positive and negative consequences of its expression online. It uses the UK online parenting forum Mumsnet as a research context and source of data. Our findings support previous research into mothers' anger during COVID-19 that suggests that the pandemic has both exacerbated longstanding sources of conflict and created new ones within their homes. This anger is frequently repressed because women need to continue to work and cohabit with the colleagues and family members who have caused this anger. However, we also identify a further trigger for mothers' anger – their frustration at the government's perceived inaction and mis- or even dis-information about the pandemic. This anger can be exacerbated by mainstream media reports and also the sharing of suspicions and complaints on online forums such as Mumsnet. Mumsnet therefore offers a safe space for the venting of women's anger during lockdown, but also a place where feelings of anger can be perpetuated and perhaps even aroused.


PEDERSEN, S. and BURNETT, S. 2022. Saying the unsayable: the online expression of mothers' anger during a pandemic. Feminism and psychology [online], 32(2), pages 246-264. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 30, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 28, 2022
Publication Date May 1, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 5, 2022
Journal Feminism and psychology
Print ISSN 0959-3535
Electronic ISSN 1461-7161
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 2
Pages 246-264
Keywords Mothers; Parenting; COVID-19; Mumsnet; Social attitudes; Anger; Society and government; Social media; United Kingdom; Online forum; Media
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