Separated parents reproducing and undoing gender through defining legitimate uses of child support

Natalier, Kristin and Hewitt, Belinda (2014) Separated parents reproducing and undoing gender through defining legitimate uses of child support. Gender and Society, 28 6: 904-925. doi:10.1177/0891243214546933


Author Natalier, Kristin
Hewitt, Belinda
Title Separated parents reproducing and undoing gender through defining legitimate uses of child support
Journal name Gender and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0891-2432
1552-3977
Publication date 2014-12-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0891243214546933
Open Access Status
Volume 28
Issue 6
Start page 904
End page 925
Total pages 22
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher SAGE Publications
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract The use of child support is a politically and personally contested issue and a policy challenge across developed countries. This offers an opportunity to identify family practices and relationships through which hegemonic masculinity and socially valued femininities are reproduced and challenged. We present data from interviews with 28 fathers and 30 mothers to argue that when people discuss how child support is or should be spent, they are managing gendered parenting identities. Most fathers defined child support as “special money.” This position buttresses the hegemonic masculine characteristics of authority and breadwinning, discursively de-genders the care of children, and challenges mothers’ conformity to feminine and good mothering ideals. A minority of fathers presented an alternative definition of child support and fathering that underplayed the relevance of money and values mothers’ and fathers’ care and financial contributions. Mothers’ accounts of using child support emphasized their financial authority and child-centered consumption in ways that both challenge and reproduce socially valued femininity. We conclude that definitions of how child support should be used reproduce relationships of dominance and subordination that constitute the gender order.
Keyword Child support
Fathering
Femininities
Hegemonic masculinity
Mothering
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2015 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 26 Feb 2015, 14:27:35 EST by Ms Belinda Hewitt on behalf of School of Social Science