East Meets West: Celebrity Motherhood Portrayals on Instagram and their Impact on Maternal Self-Esteem


  • Faiza Yousaf M. Phil Scholar, Department of English, University of Gujrat, Gujrat
  • Musarat Yasmin Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Gujrat, Gujrat


Motherhood; parenting; Instagram; showbiz celebrities; feminist critical discourse analysis; stereotype


Celebrities have long been considered influencers of human behaviour. These celebrities have been noticed to communicate certain discourse on motherhood on social networks, with young mothers being the most active users. A celebrity-mother's positive self-presentation online can affect others’ parental self-esteem. This research intends to explore and compare how motherhood is presented by Pakistani and American showbiz celebrities on the Instagram, the readers’ response and its potential impact on mothers. Following a mixed method approach, data is collected from eight female celebrities’ posts related to pregnancy and child, readers’ comments and interviews with new mothers. Feminist critical discourse analysis is used as the theoretical framework to explain the stereotypes about motherhood in East and West Countries. A discourse analysis is conducted to analyse Instagram data, while thematic analysis is conducted to analyse interview data. The analysis showed that new-mother celebrities from the East glorify a stereotypical motherhood as a blessing from God, a fulfilling experience replete with joy, and are found appreciative to their husbands for their support, conversely, mothers from the West display the courage to defy the taboo and call it a tough experience, while still finding a joy in it. Interview data shows new mothers expressed an anxiety and a pressure to conform to the positive self-image, and find it unrealistic due to potential changes that come along with motherhood. The study implies how language used on Instagram by celebrities may strengthen the stereotypes and influence the behaviour of women as mothers.