Stories of Motherhood and Ageing in ABC’s Television Programme Once Upon a Time

  • Katherine Whitehurst


Feasey (2012), Karlyn (2011) and Kaplan (1992) assert that as motherhood is reimagined and past practices are abandoned, the mothering of previous generations is framed as dated, harmful and insufficient. Building from these remarks, this chapter considers how the first two seasons of ABC’s television programme Once Upon a Time (2011–present) represents ageing women as mothers. The chapter demonstrates how the characters’ mothering facilitates a storyline where older values (and the older woman) must be abandoned for characters to gain social acceptance in the programme. Centrally, this paper argues that the programme perpetuates the idealisation of youth and maintains a narrative of the devil woman as crone through the characters’ embodiment of contemporary post-feminist expectations of motherhood.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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