The rise of #GirlDad in a #BoyMom world: Exploring Instagram’s role in influencing performative parenthood
Keywords:Performative parenthood, Motherhood, Fatherhood, Instagram, Identity theory
Following the death of Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020, an interview clip where Kobe described himself as proud “girl dad” gained traction online as a way for dads around the world to share their fatherly pride. It also increased visibility for dads in the digital “mamasphere” of Instagram, paving the way for a comparative hashtag to the already popular #BoyMom. This visual and textual analysis explored the use of #GirlDad and #BoyMom on Instagram in order to examine how posts using these hashtags portray the roles of fatherhood and motherhood as well as the narratives related to the non-traditional parent-child dyads (father-daughter and mother-son relationships). Results revealed that fathers expressed more emotion in their #GirlDad posts than traditionally associated with masculinity, but there was still pressure on women to perform through #BoyMom with posed photos and discussions of motherhood. This study also supports previous research on gender stereotypes, finding that the men were more often portrayed as playmates rather than caregivers.
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