Sometimes, life can be a little…overwhelming. Stance-taking markers indexing maternal identity in the advertising discourse
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|Mothers in advertising represent ideal parental figures who can handle any type of problem that can threaten their impeccable households. They often feature in a problem-solution pattern adverts (Simpson 2001) in which they can eliminate or solve the problem thanks to the product promoted. Not only have these perfect advertising mothers become a normative in the advertising discourse, but they have also established the concept of maternal identity that is seen as an imperative when targeting at mothers in any stage of motherhood – from new mothers to elderly ones. Even though there are sociological and psychological studies that analyse the impact these mothers have on the real ones in the real world (e.g. Lee 2008 or Sheehan and Bowcher 2017), there is no linguistic research that would focus on how the perfect mothers’ stance is communicated. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to study how the maternal identity in a selected audiovisual commercials for a whole range of family-related products is indexed by stance-taking markers. The paper considers doubt, affect and evaluation as key stance aspects in a problem-solution adverts and assumes that these three aspects can be expressed by various semiotic modes that help to construct a perfect mother. The paper thus uses Kress and van Leeuwen’s (1996) social semiotic framework to investigate how doubt, affect and evaluation are conveyed in verbal and non-verbal units to communicate the maternal identity in a problem-solution adverts.