Jurnal Komunikasi Indonesia


This paper aims to investigate the performance of the so-called digital mothers "Instamom" in Indonesia in the cultural contradiction between the construction of women's subjectivity that commodifies motherhood and intersubjectivity as to fulfilling women’s traditional role. Using performativity theory, I argue that the phenomenon of Instamoms’ sharenting is a communicative practice in the digital space that demonstrates the performance of a fluid and dynamic maternal identity without rigid boundaries. This research applies a digital ethnography approach to the everyday life’s practices of Stay-At-Home-Mothers that focus on the complexities of women's experiences in engaging with social media throughout the transition to motherhood. For this reason, this study conducted in-depth interviews and collected digital data from Instagram accounts. The findings show becoming a SAHM is their resolution to negotiate the image of an "ideal mother" through the subjective performance of a "good mother" that emphasizes neoliberalist maternal femininity. Gradually, this practice creates a digital mother performance that fulfills the demands of self-governmentality to replace women’s past professional career through digital entrepreneurship and commodification maternal identity. In conclusion, by performing digital mother, women play a variety of roles as they look for new opportunities whilst their traditional role serves as the main framework.


Akass, K. (2012). Motherhood and myth-making: Despatches from the frontline of the US Mommy wars. Feminist Media Studies, 12(1), 137-141. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2011.640005

Allen, K., & Osgood, J. (2009). Young women negotiating maternal subjectivities: The significance of social class. Studies in the Maternal, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.16995/sim.104

Ambrosini, A., & Stanghellini, G. (2012). Myths of motherhood. The role of culture in the development of postpartum depression. Annali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 48(3), 277-286. https://doi.org/10.4415/ann_12_03_08

Ammari, T., Kumar, P., Lampe, C., & Schoenebeck, S. (2015). Managing children's online identities. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. https://doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702325

Archer, C. (2019). How influencer ‘mumpreneur’ bloggers and ‘everyday’ mums frame presenting their children online. Media International Australia, 170(1), 47-56. https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878x19828365

Beck, U., & Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2002). Individualization: Institutionalized individualism and its social and political consequences. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446218693

Blum-Ross, A., & Livingstone, S. (2017). “Sharenting,” parent blogging, and the boundaries of the digital self. Popular Communication, 15(2), 110-125. https://doi.org/10.1080/15405702.2016.1223300

Brenner, S.A. (1998). The Domestication of Desire: Women, Wealth, and Modernity in Java. Princeton: Princeton University Press

Butler, J. (1988). Performative acts and gender constitution: An essay in phenomenology and feminist theory. Theatre Journal, 40(4), 519. https://doi.org/10.2307/3207893

Butler, J. (1989). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. 1 edition. New York: Routledge

Chodorow, N. (1978). The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Choi, G. Y., & Lewallen, J. (2017). “Say Instagram, kids!”: Examining Sharenting and children's digital representations on Instagram. Howard Journal of Communications, 29(2), 144-164. https://doi.org/10.1080/10646175.2017.1327380

Choi, P., Henshaw, C., Baker, S., & Tree, J. (2005). Supermum, superwife, supereverything: Performing femininity in the transition to motherhood. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 23(2), 167-180. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646830500129487

Cleaf, K. V. (2015). Of woman born to Mommy Blogged: The journey from the personal as political to the personal as commodity. WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, 43(3-4), 247-264. https://doi.org/10.1353/wsq.2015.0064

Couldry N (2010) Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics after Neoliberalism. London: SAGE.

Crittenden, A. (2001). The price of motherhood: why the most important job in the world is still the least valued. New York: Metropolitan Books

Damkjaer, M.S. (2018). Sharenting = Good Parenting? Four Parental Approaches to Sharenting on Facebook. In book: Digital Parenting: The Challenges for Families in the Digital Age (pp.209-218). Nordicom

Douglas, S.J., & Michaels, M.W. (2004). The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women. New York: Free Press

Duberley, J., & Carrigan, M. (2012). The career identities of ‘mumpreneurs’: Women’s experiences of combining enterprise and motherhood. International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, 31(6), 629-651. https://doi.org/10.1177/0266242611435182

Duncombe, J., & Jessop, J.L.P. (2002). 'Doing rapport' and the ethics of 'faking friendship'. In Miller, T., Birch, M., Mauthner, M. & Jessop, J. (Eds.), Ethics in qualitative research, 2nd edition (pp. 107-122). London: SAGE.

Ennis, L.R. (2014). Intensive Mothering: The Cultural Contradictions of Modern Motherhood. Demeter Press: Bradford

Friedan, B. (1963). The Feminine Mystique. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc: New York

Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and Self Identity: Self and Society In The Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity

Gilbert, E., Denson, N., & Weidemann, G. (2022). Negotiating Co-existing subjectivities: The new maternal self in the Academy. Gender and Education, 34(7), 869-885. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2022.2094347

Hays, S. (1996). The cultural contradictions of motherhood. Yale University Press.

Handayani, C.S., & Novianto, A. (2004). Kuasa Wanita Jawa. Lkis Pelangi Aksara

Hager, T. (2010). Making sense of an untold story: A personal deconstruction of the myth of motherhood. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(1), 35-44. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800410389442

Heisler, J. M., & Ellis, J. B. (2008). Motherhood and the construction of “Mommy identity”: Messages about motherhood and face negotiation. Communication Quarterly, 56(4), 445-467. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463370802448246

Hine, C. (2000). Virtual Ethnography. SAGE Publications Ltd

Hollway, W. (2014). Gendered subjectivity. Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, 771-773. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_379

Horne, J., Corr, S., & Earle, S. (2005). Becoming a mother: Occupational change in first time motherhood. Journal of Occupational Science, 12(3), 176-183. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2005.9686561

Hrdy, S. B. (2000). Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape The Human Species. Ballantine Books

Johnston, D. D., & Swanson, D. H. (2003). Undermining mothers: A content analysis of the representation of mothers in magazines. Mass Communication and Society, 6(3), 243-265. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327825mcs0603_2

Karsten, L., Lupi, T., & De Stigter-Speksnijder, M. (2012). The middle classes and the remaking of the suburban family community: Evidence from The Netherlands. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 28(2), 257-271. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-012-9307-4

Koning, J., Nolten, M., Rodenburg, J. & Saptari, R. (2000). Women and Households in Indonesia: Cultural Notions and Social Practices. Routledge

Krzyżanowska, N. (2020). The commodification of motherhood: Normalisation of consumerism in mediated discourse on mothering. Social Semiotics, 30(4), 563-590. https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2020.1762986

Laney, E. K., Hall, M. E., Anderson, T. L., & Willingham, M. M. (2015). Becoming a mother: The influence of motherhood on women's identity development. Identity, 15(2), 126-145. https://doi.org/10.1080/15283488.2015.1023440

Lazard, L., Capdevila, R., Dann, C., Locke, A., & Roper, S. (2019). Sharenting: Pride, affect and the day‐to‐day politics of digital mothering. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13(4), e12443. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12443

LeMaster, J., Marcus-Newhall, A., Casad, B. J., & Silverman, N. (2004). Life Experiences of Working and Stay-At-Home Mothers. In J. L. Chin (Ed.), The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination: Gender and Sexual Orientation (Vol. 3, pp. 61-91). Praeger

Liamputtong, P. (2006). Motherhood and “Moral career”: Discourses of good motherhood among Southeast Asian immigrant women in Australia. Qualitative Sociology, 29(1), 25-53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-005-9006-5

Livingstone, S., Mascheroni, G., Dreier, M., Chaudron, S. & Lagae, K. (2015). How parents of young children manage digital devices at home: The role of income, education and parental style. London: EU Kids Online, LSE.

Lopez, L. K. (2009). The radical act of 'Mommy blogging': Redefining motherhood through the blogosphere. New Media & Society, 11(5), 729-747. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444809105349

Mäkinen, K. (2020). Resilience and vulnerability: Emotional and affective labour in mom blogging. New Media & Society, 23(10), 2964-2978. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820941196

McRobbie, A. (2013). Feminism, the family and the new 'Mediated' Maternalism. New Formations, 80(80), 119-137. https://doi.org/10.3898/newf.80/81.07.2013

MILLER, M. L., MOEN, P., & DEMPSTER-McCLAIN, D. (1991). Motherhood, multiple roles, and maternal well-being:. Gender & Society, 5(4), 565-582. https://doi.org/10.1177/089124391005004008

Miller, T. (2005). Making sense of motherhood. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511489501

Mitchell, S. A. (2014). Relationality: From attachment to intersubjectivity. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis.

Mitchell, W., & Green, E. (2002). ‘I Don’t Know What I’d Do Without Our Mam’ Motherhood: Identity and Support Networks. The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review. Blackwell Publishers

Negra, D., & Tasker, Y. (2014). Gendering the Recession: Media and Culture in an Age of Austerity. Durham, NC; London: Duke University Press.

Nieuwenhuis, M. D. (1987). Ibuism and Priyayization: Path to Power? In Elsbeth LocherScholten and Anke Niehof (eds), Indonesian Women in Focus: Past and Present Notions. Foris Publications

Oakley, A. (2019). From here to maternity (Reissue): Becoming a mother. Policy Press.

Orgad, S., & De Benedictis, S. (2015). The ‘stay-at-home’ mother, postfeminism and neoliberalism: Content analysis of UK news coverage. European Journal of Communication, 30(4), 418-436. https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323115586724

O’Reilly, A. (2021). Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism, Practice. The 2nd Edition. Demeter Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1k2j331

Papacharissi, Z. (2010). A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites. New York: Routledge

Permanadeli, R. (2015). Dadi Wong Wadon: Representasi Sosial Perempuan Jawa di Era Modern. Pustaka Ifada

Pink, S. (2012). Situating everyday life: Practices and places. SAGE Publications Ltd

Prus, R. (1999). Beyond the Power Mystique: Power as Intersubjective Accomplishment. New York: State University of New York Press

Reeves, J. B. (1987). Work and family roles: Contemporary women in Indonesia. Sociological Spectrum, 7(3), 223-242. https://doi.org/10.1080/02732173.1987.9981820

Riessman, C. K. (1990). Strategic uses of narrative in the presentation of self and illness: A research note. Social Science & Medicine, 30(11), 1195-1200. https://doi.org/10.1016/0277-9536(90)90259-u

Rewindinar, Triputra, P., & Dua, M. (2019). Mamah Muda morphogenesis in Indonesia. South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.9734/sajsse/2019/v4i330128

Rich, A. (1976). Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. Norton

Ruddick, S. (2009). On “Maternal Thinking.” WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, 37(2), 305-308. https://doi.org/10.1353/wsq.0.0181

Saba, M. (2005). Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and The Feminist Subject. Princeton University Press

Saavedra, L., & Cameira, M. (2017). Deconstructing idealized motherhood: The extreme case of Neonaticidal women. Feminist Criminology, 13(5), 543-559. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557085116688779

Sen, K. (1998). Indonesian women at work. In Stivens, M., & Sen, K. (1998). Gender and power in affluent Asia. Psychology Press.

Simorangkir, D. N. (2015). Negotiated identities: Between “moral career” and professional career of single mothers in Jakarta. Asian Journal of Women's Studies, 21(2), 126-146. https://doi.org/10.1080/12259276.2015.1062264

Smith, J. A. (1999). Identity development during the transition to motherhood: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 17(3), 281-299. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646839908404595

Steinberg, S. B. (n.d.). Sharenting: Children's privacy in the age of social media. Emory Law Scholarly Commons. https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/elj/vol66/iss4/2

Suryakusuma, J. I. (1996). The State and Sexuality in New Order Indonesia, in Laurie J. Sears (ed.), Fantasizing the Feminine in Indonesia, Duke University Press, Durham, and London.

Takahashi, T. (2002). Audience Activity and Everyday Life The Case of Japanese Engagement with Media and ICT. Thesis. London School of Economics and Political Science University of London

Thurer, S. L. (1994). The myths of motherhood: How culture reinvents the good mother. Choice Reviews Online, 32(05), 32-3047-32-3047. https://doi.org/10.5860/choice.32-3047The Myths of Motherhood: How Culture Reinvents the Good Mother, Houghton Mifflin

Tobin, B. F. (1990). “The tender mother”: The social construction of motherhood and thelady's magazine. Women's Studies, 18(2-3), 205-221. https://doi.org/10.1080/00497878.1990.9978831

Tong, R. (1989). Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction (1st ed.). Routledge.

Tyler, I. (2011). Pregnant beauty: Maternal femininities under neoliberalism. In: Gill R and Scharff C (eds) New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Underberg, N. M., & Zorn, E. (2013). Digital Ethnography: Anthropology, Narrative, and New Media. University of Texas Press

Vincent, C., Ball, S. J., & Pietikainen, S. (2004). Metropolitan mothers: Mothers, mothering and paid work. Women's Studies International Forum, 27(5-6), 571-587. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2004.09.011

Vreede-De Stuers, C. (2008). Sejarah perempuan Indonesia: gerakan dan pencapaian. Translated by Elvira Rosa, Paramita Ayuningtyas dan Dwi Istiani. Depok: Komunitas Bambu.

Wardhani, P., & Sekarasih, L. (2021). Parental decisions on sharing their children's private information on social media among families in Jakarta area. Makara Human Behavior Studies in Asia, 25(2), 127-136. https://doi.org/10.7454/hubs.asia.1161121

Weaver, J. J., & Ussher, J. M. (1997). How motherhood changes life a discourse analytic study with mothers of young children. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 15(1), 51-68. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646839708404533

Williams, M. J., & Chen, S. (2013). When “mom’s the boss”: Control over domestic decision making reduces women’s interest in workplace power. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 17(4), 436-452. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430213497065

XIE, W. (2014). Queer[ing] Performativity, Queer[ing] subversions: A critique of Judith butler’s theory of Performativity. Comparative Literature: East & West, 20(1), 18-39. https://doi.org/10.1080/25723618.2014.12015486

Yin, J. (2009). Negotiating the centre: Towards an Asiacentric feminist communication theory. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 4(1), 75-88. https://doi.org/10.1080/17447140802651660

Yuval-Davis, N. (1997). Women, citizenship and difference. Feminist Review, 57(1), 4-27. https://doi.org/10.1080/014177897339632