'Let's play mummy': Simulacrum babies and reborn mothers

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This essay serves as a response to the ‘nightmarish’ discourse that emerged after the broadcast of Channel 4 ‘shock doc’ My Fake Baby. I will argue that the disproportionately excessive and intense response to My Fake Baby mirrors the programme’s extreme emphasis on the trope of motherhood. As such, this article considers how the construction and articulation of different forms of motherhood and femininity within the show functioned successfully to articulate ideologies about, and displays of, problematic, inept, immature and non-maternal failed femininity. I consider why images of mature women ‘playing’ with dolls should prompt such a cultural furor, and explore why these female figures were perceived as symptomatic of a much deeper cultural crisis about contemporary femininity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-39
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2011


  • Channel 4
  • female play
  • maternalism
  • postfeminism
  • Reborn dolls
  • shock doc
  • simulacra babies


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