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From overt provider to invisible presence: discursive shifts in advertising portrayals of the father in Good Housekeeping, 1950–2010

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This article considers the link between fatherhood and masculinity and identifies some of the key discursive shifts around fatherhood based on an analysis of advertising material that appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine between 1950 and 2010. It provides a socio-historical perspective on fatherhood that reveals a discursive shift from the father as patriarchal family provider/protector to a more ambiguous and less obvious presence in the magazine advertisements. Our findings suggest that family-related advertising in women’s magazines does little to challenge the traditional models of paternal masculinity. Changes in the portrayal of fathers, when examined closely, seem to reinforce traditional gender hegemony. Yet, over time, a ‘multiplicity of possibilities’ of dominant paternal masculinities is emerging, broadening the original ‘breadwinner’ model and perhaps offering some transformative potential around how we view fathers.
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Keywords: advertising; discourse analysis; family consumption; fatherhood; hegemonic masculinity; historical shifts

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Edinburgh Business School, UK 2: University of Sydney Business School, Australia 3: Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, UK 4: Said Business School and Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford, UK 5: School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Australia

Publication date: November 3, 2014

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