Abstract

It is well-established that “mothering” and the figure of the “good mother” are tools in the oppression of women, particularly women of color. In this article, I use social media personality Constance Hall as a case study to explicate how the online “mummy celebrity” text perpetuates such oppression, despite attempts at cultivating a socially aware (“woke”) image. David Theo Goldberg’s notion of antiracialism is used to conceptualize Hall’s specific brand of activism, which relies on the fusion of liberal notions of equality, a rhetoric of “no judgment,” and charity work. I argue that the parenting practices put on display by Hall often reflect those endorsed by white, bourgeois institutions and that the normalization of surveillance that occurs as they are put on display may in fact be actively harmful to women of color. I find evidence of a continuation of the logic of “transnational intimacy” as laid out by Raka Shome, where the image of virtuous white mothers is used to further imperialist expansion. Ultimately, I conclude that being “woke” may draw the online “mummy personality” an audience but, in the case of Hall at least, truly challenging and confronting racism through actively dismantling systems that are psychologically and financially advantageous to the white mother remains unfulfilled.

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