Publication Date

5-2016

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

3-11-2016

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Major Advisor

Heidi Reeder, Ph.D.

Advisor

erin d. mcclellan, Ph.D.

Advisor

Julie Lane, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study analyzed literal and figurative constructions of motherhood within Catherine Connors’ blog, Herbadmother. Texts for analysis included ten posts categorized by Connors under the label “feminism” when searching blog archives. I explored how these literal and figurative rhetorical constructions of motherhood supported Connors aim of using her “mommy blog” to engage in a “radical feminist act.” Literal constructions of motherhood included: (1) the description of Connors as a mother in her own family and (2) the description of Connors as a daughter to her own mother. Figurative constructions of motherhood included descriptions of Connors taking the role of metaphorical mother: (1) mother as defender of motherhood/patriarchal family, (2) mother as caregiver/teacher (3) mother as selfless, virtuous and noble. I conclude that Connors uses literal constructions of motherhood for self-affirmation, identification, and authenticity. Additionally, Connors combines literal and figurative constructions of motherhood in an “I/we” format in an effort to influence the larger practice of mommy blogging. By considering how Connors uses literal and figurative rhetorical constructions of motherhood, I share notable patterns which suggest that Connors was able to draw attention to the collective identity of mommy bloggers as an influential community that resists connotations of illegitimacy or insignificance with which “mommies” and “bloggers” are often associated.

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