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Motherhood, performance, and mommy blogs: the political power of maternal online rhetoric


"If you define writing as any kind of scribble, any kind of trying to mark on the world," Gloria Anzaldúa says in an interview with Andrea Lundsford, "And, some of us want to take those marks that are already inscribed in the world and redo them." Language - and thus, writing - has the power to transform, to redefine reality. Autobiographical writing is a performative act that forms - not reflects - identity. Mommy blogs are autobiographical acts with dual performativity: identity and maternity. With performativity, mommy blogs have the power to, as Anzaldúa writes, "rewrite culture." Yet, collectively, mommy blogs reify the normative motherhood narrative with gritty and sometimes profane clicktivist delusions, rather than actively work against the systemic issues that limit the lives of mothers: lack of quality child care; breastfeeding discrimination; unpaid maternity leave; wage disparity for women, working mothers and women of color. Mommy blogs emphasize a narrative of voluntary stay-at-home motherhood (SAHM). The SAHM narrative is essential to capitalism, which only thrives when a certain percentage of adults are removed from the workforce. Mommy blogs use narrative to keep women content while they are being forced out of the workforce through lower wages and lack of child care choices.


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maternal rhetoric
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