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MOMFLUENCED by Sara Petersen


Inside the Maddening, Picture-Perfect World of Mommy Influencer Culture

by Sara Petersen

Pub Date: April 25th, 2023
ISBN: 9780807006634
Publisher: Beacon Press

A deep dive into the ever growing “momfluencer” culture.

Being a mother has always been an extremely difficult job, but it has become even more so in the age of social media. Petersen, a journalist who has been studying and writing about mommy blogging since the early days, introduces us to the more recent phenomenon of momfluencers, who present their role as mothers on various sites—mainly Instagram—to sell sponsored products or sometimes their own product lines. Their mothering lives look perfect: clean and stylish houses, cute and well-behaved children, handsome and affluent husbands. The images and the accompanying stories set standards that few women can achieve, though many women want to. Petersen admits to being of two minds about momfluencers. As a mother of three, she finds it hard to resist the allure of domestic perfection, but she readily acknowledges that the picture has more to do with marketing than reality. Within the burgeoning industry, there are numerous types of momfluencers, such as the “trad mom,” the “cool mom,” and the “minimalist mom.” As the author notes, “the single feature that unites most of them is a celebration of the nuclear family and traditional gender roles.” The industry is also predominantly White, which has led to a backlash. Petersen looks at several sites developed by women of color aimed at presenting a more realistic picture as well as sites for women to share snarky comments about momfluencers. In the final pages of the book, Petersen stumbles upon the best way to escape from the momfluencers and their envy-generating performances. On a holiday with her happily imperfect family, she deleted the Instagram app. She did not want to know, “and the not knowing was bliss.”

With an investigative eye and a sense of humor, Petersen sheds needed light on a key part of the social media landscape.