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ABSTRACT. Since the 1980s, ethics of care scholars have interrogated the gendering of care virtues and argued for divorcing virtues from binary masculine-feminine thinking. In this paper, we draw upon two case studies that situate listening as care and use corpus linguistics to explore ways in which expectations of care, enacted through listening, continue to not only be gendered, but heavily coded as feminine responsibilities. More specifically, we investigate the ways in which mothers and expectations for listening as care provision are intertwined, as further evidenced by the “mom friend” phenomenon. We argue that lessons from ethics of care scholarship may provide opportunities to challenge the mobility of feminized expectations of care and further decouple gender from care virtues.

Keywords: ethics of care; listening; gender; mother; care expectations; corpus linguistics

How to cite: Parks, Elizabeth S., and Kristen Barta (2018). “Are You My Mother? Perpetuating Gender Inequality through Listening Expectations and Relational Roles,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 8(1): 28–48.

Received 8 September 2017 • Received in revised form 17 October 2017
Accepted 18 October 2017 • Available online 10 November 2017

doi:10.22381/JRGS8120182

ELIZABETH S. PARKS
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Department of Communication,
University of Minnesota Duluth
KRISTEN BARTA
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Department of Communication,
University of Washington

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