Getting Past the Dream of a Bounded Life? An Analysis of Advertisements in Working Mother Magazine
Heather Dillaway, Jennifer Haskin, Victoria Velding

The dominant culture portrayal of work and family in the United States classifies women as either mothers or paid workers, and suggests that women cannot participate in both institutions successfully because both require full dedication and commitment to role responsibilities. Despite these ideals, however, most women engage in both paid work and motherhood. Today’s working mother may therefore seek guidance from cultural texts while attempting to balance multiple roles. Product advertisements have long been studied as one such cultural text. In this study we examine advertisements in Working Mother magazine from 2011 to 2013. While we find thatWorking Mother Advertisements advocate for a boundary between paid work and motherhood, advertisements also hint that motherhood and paid work are intertwined roles. The notions that mothering and paid work are confined to separate spaces or can be bounded are false and readers of this magazine may clue into this subtle message. Getting past the notion of a boundary between paid work and motherhood is critical if our goal is to move cultural debates about paid work &motherhood forward in countries such as the United States.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v3n2a3