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The good, the bad and the 'good enough' mother on the UK parenting forum Mumsnet.

Pedersen, Sarah



The article investigates the conceptualisation of the good and bad mother from the point of view of users of the UK parenting website Mumsnet, which offers the opportunity to assess the dominant ideologies of motherhood at play in contemporary middle-class British society. The study uses Hays' (1998) discussion of the Intensive Mothering ideology and Johnston and Swanson's (2003) typology of contemporary mothering ideologies in analysing the mothers' discussions. It is argued that, on Mumsnet, mothers actively engage with, re-work and to a certain extent resist the good mother ideal. It is also suggested that the users of Mumsnet are very conscious of the role that the media plays in the construction of the ideals of motherhood and are also aware of how such ideals might change through time. Anonymous forums such as Mumsnet can offer a space for the reality of the maternal experience to be articulated in resistance to the ideology of the good mother.


PEDERSEN, S. 2016. The good, the bad and the 'good enough' mother on the UK parenting forum Mumsnet. Women's studies international forum [online], 59, pages 32-38. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 25, 2016
Online Publication Date Oct 5, 2016
Publication Date Nov 1, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 6, 2018
Journal Women's studies international forum
Print ISSN 0277-5395
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 59
Pages 32-38
Keywords Mothering; Good mother; Bad mother; Mumsnet
Public URL


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