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Postfeminist celebrity and motherhood: Brand mom

Postfeminist celebrity and motherhood: Brand mom
Aquarini Priyatna
Universitas Padjadjaran, Asian Journal Of Women’s Studies, VOL. 23, NO. 4, 538–542 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/12259276.2017.1380768
Bahasa Inggris
Universitas Padjadjaran, Asian Journal Of Women’s Studies, VOL. 23, NO. 4, 538–542 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/12259276.2017.1380768

Jorie Lagerwey’s Postfeminist Celebrity and Motherhood is an interesting elaboration of how celebrity culture meets motherhood in its different aspects, which shows “popular culture’s contemporary obsession with moms” (p. 1), also called “Mommy Culture,” which started to boom in the 2000s and 2010s. The book examines how the “loving, compassionate, and devoted to her children …self-sacrificing” mother is the “hallmark of postfeminist culture and has become an integral part of how we understand adult women in popular media” (p. 2).More importantly, the author aims at showing how motherhood has become a significant factor in the establishment of the persona and self-brand of celebrities and self-brand in such a way that the branded identities are used to “navigate the contradictory demands of post-feminism, a neoliberal emphasis on individualism and entrepreneurialism” (p. 3). Finally, by comparing the different manifestations of brand motherhood, she seeks to discover the types of motherhood that actually have the most cultural value. Drawn by the overwhelming flow of mommy media engendered by the Mommy Culture, Lagerwey found herself immersed in different programs of the media that were especially targeted at moms or were about moms. Working on reality television as well as the different supplementary texts such as social media, magazines and gossip blogs, and various other “modes of self-performance” (p. 16), she takes on various representations of motherhood and relates these to issues of body, age, race, class, and geography. She catalogues how celebrities are depicted as successful postfeminist subjects who embody contradictions and excess concerning their motherhood and pregnancy. As she emphasizes, in popular culture, the anxiety is about whether women can ‘have it all.” Thus, the book examines “women who are represented as ‘successful’ postfeminist, self-branded entrepreneurs [and] represent an ideal, but they can nearly always be read simultaneously as figures of aspiration and derision” (p. 17).

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