Momfluenced: Inside the Maddening, Picture-Perfect World of Mommy Influencer Culture
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On Instagram, the private work of mothering is turned into a public performance, generating billions of dollars. The message is simple: we’re all just a couple of clicks away from a better, more beautiful experience of motherhood.
Linen-clad momfluencers hawking essential oils, parenting manuals, baby slings, and sponsored content for Away suitcases make us want to forget that the reality of mothering in America is an isolating, exhausting, almost wholly unsupported endeavor. In a culture which denies mothers basic human rights, it feels good to click “purchase now” on whatever a momfluencer might be selling. It feels good to hope.
Drawing on her own fraught relationship to momfluencer culture, Sara Petersen incorporates pop culture analysis, interviews with prominent momfluencers and experts (psychologists, sociologists, technologists) to explore the glorification of the ideal mama online with both humor and empathy. For fans of Lyz Lenz’s Belabored, and Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror, Momfluenced argues that momfluencers don’t simply sell mothers on the benefits of bamboo diapers, they sell us the dream of motherhood itself, a dream tangled up in whiteness, capitalism, and the heteronormative nuclear family.
Momfluenced considers what it means to define motherhood for ourselves when society is determined to define motherhood for us.