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Article

Mum's the Word: Public testimonials and gendered experiences of negotiating caring responsibilities with work in the film and television industries

Citation
Berridge S (2019) Mum's the Word: Public testimonials and gendered experiences of negotiating caring responsibilities with work in the film and television industries. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 22 (5-6), p. 646–664. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549419839876

Abstract
This article explores parents' published accounts of their (gendered) experiences of reconciling caring responsibilities with work in the film and television industries, paying particular attention to mothers. It is based on detailed analysis of the testimonials of parents who work in the sector, produced for and published on the website of UK activist organisation, Raising Films. As Wing-Fai et al (2015) argue, the new labouring subjectivities produced and demanded by media industries’ working cultures are antithetical to those with caring responsibilities, in turn creating a climate in which the challenges of care are silenced. Recent reports and initiatives have sought to challenge this silencing, employing quantitative methodologies to identify the number of parents working in film and television that are affected by duties of care (Creative Scotland, 2016; Raising Films, 2016). What has been less attended to is the way in which these negotiations make cultural workers feel, and more specifically, the gendered dimensions of these inequalities. This article addresses this gap by offering a detailed analysis of the testimonials of mothers published on the website. I argue that women’s testimonials contribute to challenging the silencing around issues of care in the sector. While at times women reinforce new labouring subjectivities that privilege self-regulation, they simultaneously critique the punishing nature of neoliberal working cultures, commonly reflecting on the industries’ demand to suppress the challenges of care. These critiques are rarely framed as resistance to explicit gender inequalities. However, I argue that the testimonials’ presentation – published collectively and alongside one another on the site – allow for recurring experiential patterns to emerge that makes it difficult to see these accounts as an individual woman’s problem and, importantly, highlights the specific gendered dimensions of the emotional violence of neoliberal labouring practices.

Keywords
Care, Film and Television Industries; Gender Inequalities; Care; Neoliberalism; Production Cultures; Parenting

Journal
European Journal of Cultural Studies: Volume 22, Issue 5-6

StatusPublished
Author(s)Berridge, Susan
Publication date31/10/2019
Publication date online02/05/2019
Date accepted by journal01/02/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/28814
ISSN1367-5494
eISSN1460-3551
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