The Traitor and the Hedonist: Motherhood in two New Zealand child abuse cases (2011)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. School of Social and Political Sciences
University of Canterbury. Media and Communication and Journalism
- Arts: Journal Articles 
AuthorsKenix, L.J.show all
Two recent child abuse cases in New Zealand flooded the local media spotlight and captured the public’s attention. In both cases, the mothers were not charged with murdering their children. Yet, both mothers received extensive scrutiny in media coverage. This qualitative analysis found two central narratives in media content: that of the traitor and of the hedonist. In drawing upon such archetypal mythologies surrounding motherhood, the media constructed these women as simplistic deviants who did not possess the qualities of a mother. These framing techniques served to divert scrutiny away from civil society and exonerated social institutions of any potential wrongdoing while also reaffirming a persistent mythology that remains damaging to women.
CitationKenix, L.J. (2011) The Traitor and the Hedonist: Motherhood in two New Zealand child abuse cases. Media International Australia, 139(May), pp. 42-52.
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