This article examines the troubling of gender norms that unfolded on the social networking site, Mumsnet, at the beginning of the UK's first lockdown response to the COVID pandemic. Using an analysis of 7144 contributions which included the acronym 'WFH' (=working from home), posted from 1/3/2020 to 5/4/2020, the article examines how Mumsnet members talked about WFH whilst caring for toddlers and home-schooled children.
Mumsnet discussions about everyday moral dilemmas create a discursive space for examining the situated rationalities and normative judgements which shape expectations of how to behave as a working parent. Drawing on post-structuralist discourse theory, the article shows how Mumsnet contributors generated alternative sub-categorisations of ‘good mums’, and destabilised discourse assumptions of intensive motherhood such as always ‘being there’ for their children, thereby ‘working the weakness in the norms’ (Butler, 1993) and creating potential for change.
Handley, Karen Maria
Oxford Brookes Business School
Year of publication: 2022Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-11-25