Hip Children, Good Mothers – Constructing Proper Parenthood By Means of Appearance
We examine whether the appearance of children is important only as a part of the new appearance-related consumer culture, or if the children are portrayed as “a sign-bearing capital” for their parents (Bourdieu, 1984; Skeggs, 2004; Mears, 2014). We also ask if the investment in the aesthetic capital of children can also be seen as a construction of a contemporary understanding of proper parenthood in the middle-class context. It has been suggested that clothing brands have taken the place of symbolic markers of class, and the well-dressed child represents the middle-class appearance: performing respectability, dignity and control (Skeggs, 1997; Vänskä, 2009: 222). Although extensive research has been carried out in consuming on children, this is the first study combining research on parenting in consumer culture with the theory of capitals to explore the materially based construction of parenting in the Finnish context.