Hidden Diary: Patriarchal domestic violence revealed in a revision of the maternal melodrama

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Lopes-Curval’s 2009 maternal melodrama, Hidden Diary, represents
patriarchal domestic violence as the cause of damaged mother–daughter
relationships across three generations of a family, thereby revising the plot of
the maternal melodrama. Once this violence is made visible, the women in
the film empathise with one another and reconnect. Hidden Diary is unique
in representing a wide range of controlling behaviours beyond the physical
abuse that some men enact against their partners. The plot relies on feminist
discourses of domestic violence as instrumental and socio-systemic. This
article considers the film through theory about women’s reading of film, the
representation of women’s culture, discourses of domestic violence, social
learning theory, attachment theory and issues of single mothering. The author
recommends using Hidden Diary in gender communication classes to discuss
domestic violence and women’s freedom, and in film studies classes to
discuss authentic representations of women who have emerged from the
patriarchy. More such films are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRefereed Proceedings of the 2017 Australia and New Zealand Communication Association Conference
Subtitle of host publicationCommunication Worlds: Access, Voice, Diversity, Engagement
EditorsFiona Martin
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherThe Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA)
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association
ISSN (Electronic)1448-4331


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