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Last Friday I attended a half day conference ‘Media and Mother’s matters’ hosted by Dr Oluyinka Esan at Winchester University. I have to admit, I was a bit grudging about this conference. The thought of scrabbling /begging to find an extra day’s childcare for Freddy to attend what I thought might turn into a group rant about how bad TV was for young minds did not seem like my number one priority (sorry Oluyinka). But I was completely wrong. The conference included fantastic presentations by among others the legendary Professor Dorothy Hobson whose keynote speech covered the entry of mothers into the workplace, the link between the economy and policy on mothers in the UK, the representation of mothers and mothering on UK soap operas including the audience reaction to the Kat / Ronnie cot death storyline in EastEnders were outrage from real mothers on the inappropriateness of the story caused production to rethink and rewrite. She also spoke about the criticism faced by working media mothers including foreign correspondent Alex Crawford who has been singled out as a war reporter with children when she makes the point that she is surrounded by men in war-torn areas who also have kids but do not receive the level of condemnation that she is subject to. Hobson spoke of the normative constructions of motherhood that have become embedded in our society today and the lack of realistic portrayals of mothering on our screens. She celebrated the Channel Four documentary ‘One Born Every Minute’ for it’s realistic portrayal of both the ordinary and miraculous reality of childbirth.

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