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'Monstrous Mothers' and the media


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Goc, NE 2007 , ''Monstrous Mothers' and the media', in N Scott (ed.), Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil , At the Interface: Probing the Boundaries (38) , Rodopi, Amsterdam - New York, pp. 149-165.

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Mothers have been receiving bad press since that mythological 'monstrous mother', Medea, killed her children. The "Cruel Mother" motif has been a recurrent representation in plays, ballads, poems and novels for centuries and continues to survive in the 'monstrous mother' motif of contemporary media infanticide and child abuse discourses. The demonising of mothers has reached an apex in media discourses of recent years positioning mothers - Kathleen Folbigg, Sally Clarke, Angela Cannings, Andrea Yates and Donna Anthony - as "Monstrous Mothers". Contemporary media discourse places the deviant mother within news texts as wicked and cruel, the antithesis of motherhood. Through the individualising of deviance within the 'monstrous mother' paradigm the media audience, and society, is absolved of responsibility through the actions of the individual. Using contemporary media texts I will examine the role the media plays in creating the social space in which motherhood continues to be constrained within a patriarchal ideology where women as mothers continue to be categorised, idealised and demonised and where deviant mothers are understood as 'monstrous'.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Goc, NE
Keywords: Medea, 'modern Medea', infanticide, celebrity culture, celebrity mothers, media discourse, deviant mothers, 'monstrous' mothers, motherhood,
Publisher: Rodopi
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