Through an examination of contemporary Hollywood family films, the author explores the construction of the single mother. Suggesting that not even the mythical world of family films can ignore the reality of single-mother-headed households, the author finds a consistent binary categorization of single moms. There is the "good mom," who became single as a result of death or abandonment. Her reward is either remarriage and/or economic stability. Then there is the "bad mom," who became single as a result of divorce. Her punishment is diminished socioeconomic standing, long-lasting singlehood, and sexual frustration or promiscuity. The author suggests a backlash analysis of these films still blames feminism in general and divorce in particular for the problems of single-parent families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-292
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Communication Inquiry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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