N. 10 (2024): The Discursive Construction of Contemporary Family Types

Single-Parenting Portrayal: The Discursive Construction of Solo Moms “by Choice” in Entertainment Media

Rosalba Rizzo
University of Messina

Pubblicato 2024-06-27

Come citare

Rizzo, R. (2024). Single-Parenting Portrayal: The Discursive Construction of Solo Moms “by Choice” in Entertainment Media. De Genere - Rivista Di Studi Letterari, Postcoloniali E Di Genere, (10), 99–120. Recuperato da https://www.degenere-journal.it/index.php/degenere/article/view/203


The cultural discourse surrounding single women raising children post-divorce or through sperm donation hastened in the latter 20th century, notably in the 1970s, paralleling societal shifts towards recognizing diverse family structures and empowering women's reproductive autonomy. Influenced by the feminist movement, legal changes like divorce legalization, and reproductive technology advancements, society increasingly accepted non-traditional family formations. Social media became a platform for individuals to share experiences and discuss these topics. This research deals with intentional motherhood, focusing on representations of single mothers "by choice" in entertainment media, particularly examining Katherine in the British series "The Duchess." Using qualitative data from the show's first two episodes, a Conversation Critical Discourse Analysis framework investigates dialogue nuances regarding Katherine's decision to have another child via sperm donation, highlighting power dynamics in discourse. The analysis reveals three significant issues: a woman's autonomy in reproductive decisions, societal influence on unconventional choices, and gender dynamics. By integrating Conversation Analysis with Critical Discourse Analysis, this study provides insights into televisual discourse's broader societal and power dynamics, offering a valuable tool for examining sitcom dialogue.