Home > family dynamics, gender issues, psychology > The representation of the father within media texts: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. (Part 3)

The representation of the father within media texts: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. (Part 3)

June 30th, 2010

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However it seems that perhaps in light of this the magazine portrays mothers as superior to fathers (as shown above) but on deep analysis it also seems that Mother and Baby also seem to portray the father as inane.

“Men aren’t telepathic, so give him clear tasks like buying the drinks and, if he complains, tell him it’s only fair that he does his share”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

This piece of text seems to position the father firmly within the role of the child. The way in which the text mentions that the father may complain serves to undermine the role of fatherhood in contemporary society. Furthermore if a male were to read this, one might suggest that subjectively, this particular discourse may make a male feel as if they need not help on the more difficult tasks and that perhaps he should stick to the mundane tasks, as that is all that is expected of him. This particular discourse of the father as an additional child surfaces again;

“My husband, Daryl, was so excited about Jake’s first Christmas, he got dressed up as Santa before hanging his stocking at the end of his cot, says Jill Preston, mum to Jake 13 months. Unfortunately, Jake woke up and started screaming when he saw this bearded man in his bedroom, now we hang all our stockings off the mantle piece! ”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

The placement of this text is immediately after a piece of advice from expert Gladeana McMahon concerned with being sensible at Christmas. The placement of the above quote, immediately after the advice from McMahon seems to highlight the story and one might consider that it serves to illustrate further the position of how inane fathers may be. It would seem that the efforts of the father to make Christmas special for his child has been dismissed and the context of the story is almost an anecdote that may make a mother laugh and possibly position them to feel superior to the father. The way in which the mother tells of the baby waking up and screaming when he saw his father dressed up as Santa may bring inferences to the readers mind of what a silly thing the father did. Perhaps one would suggest that the father had acted like a child and had caused his son to become upset. Furthermore a father may pick up on this discursive construction and feel that they may be ridiculed if they try to interact with their children in a fun way. This is illustrated further;

“We’re so used to ‘the wheels on the bus’ by now that on our last trip my husband David found himself humming a verse while filling the car up with petrol! He got some strange looks”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

Again it could be argued that the father is being made to look inane for singing ‘the wheels on the bus’ in public. The selected texts seem to give the impression that when it comes to parenting; men simply aren’t able to manage without making themselves look injudicious. In fact, this is not the case as now gender neutralisation is occurring with regards to men staying at home to care for their children as an occupation (Winter and Paules, 2006). Furthermore men are now seen as equally capable of child rearing as women (Matta and Martin, 2006). Interestingly a magazine was found, quite by accident, that recognizes the importance of the role of father and the gender equality now present within parenting.

Fathers are just as important as Mothers.

When it came to selecting an article within Junior magazine that showed a discursive construction of the female as a better parent, admittedly (and perhaps refreshingly), nothing could be found. In contrast to the other magazines for every reference to a mother, there was a reference to a father. At the same time for every female expert opinion called upon, a male was called upon also. The magazines contained stories and experiences as much from fathers as it did from mothers and every opinion was considered valuable regardless of which gender it originated from. Whilst there was plenty of text available to analyse, two advertisements stood out as they were gender specific.

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