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Journal Articles Acta Psychologica Year : 2022

Intensive mothering and the perpetuation of gender inequality: Evidence from a mixed methods research

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Abstract

Intensive mothering is a cultural model of appropriate childrearing according to which mothers should unselfishly make a tremendous investment in their child. Using a mixed methodology, we examined the relevance of this ideology to understand the persistence of gender inequality. A content analysis of the most popular French mommy blogs indicates that this ideology remains commonplace, and has even incorporated contemporary concerns regarding sustainable development. Besides the expected themes of the sacredness of the child, the primary responsibility of the mother, and the use of intensive methods for all aspects of childrearing, the analysis of blog posts highlights new themes, including the sacredness of home, need for balance, and the praise of fathers. Furthermore, mommy blogs, as public online diaries involving everyday experience, prompt mothers to confess their failure to comply with intensive mothering demands and, at the same time, to reaffirm their commitment to its principles. Social influence is evidenced by the comments in response to the posts, which demonstrate polarization toward intensive mothering among the readers. A survey study further demonstrates that this ideology is positively related to a series of gender hierarchy-enhancing beliefs and attitudes. As a whole, the present research indicates that intensive mothering should be considered a system justifying ideology, while mommy blogs provide a platform for its diffusion and strengthening.
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hal-03668161 , version 1 (14-05-2022)

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Catherine Verniers, Virginie Bonnot, Yvette Assilaméhou-Kunz. Intensive mothering and the perpetuation of gender inequality: Evidence from a mixed methods research. Acta Psychologica, 2022, ⟨10.1016/j.actpsy.2022.103614⟩. ⟨hal-03668161⟩
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