Department Research Seminar: Pelclová

Jana Pelclová, Ph.D.
Empowering Maternal Narratives in Advertising


The normative of a perfect mother created by the mass media in the 20th century presented mothering as the most satisfying job that makes a woman complete. Media-driven concepts such as intensive mothering (Hays 1996), new momism (Douglas and Michaels 2004) or yummy mummy (Pitt 2008) have been criticized for forcing mothers to constantly compare themselves to the impossible standards reiterated in public texts, especially in advertising. The growing power of social networking in the 2010s gave rise to alternative voices in which real mothers started sharing their real-life experience, including the dark side of becoming a new mom such as clogged breasts, postpartum recovery or mental health issues. This “maternal empowerment” (O’Reilly 2010) has challenged the patriarchal control of motherhood and has emphasized a woman’s choice to be the authority and to express her own maternal identity. Some companies, especially those targeting at new mothers, now follow the call for maternal empowerment and launch campaigns in which they try to reconstruct the sugar-coated image of motherhood. Following the methodological framework of multimodal discourse analysis (Kress and van Leeuwen 2001; Ledin and Machin 2020), I will talk about a couple of TV commercials aired recently in the UK and in the USA and I will discuss the verbal and visual modalities they use to normalize the stigmatized topics. I will also discuss how these new maternal identities are appreciated by mothers themselves and by media.

| BIO |

Jana Pelclová is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English and American Studies at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. Her research interest lies in discourse analysis, stylistics and pragmatics. Her current work focuses on intersemiotic relations in the discourse of advertising and children’s literature.


Zoom streaming:

Meeting ID: 942 7927 3901

Passcode: 757607


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