Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Details

Published version

Mitchell, M. (2017, July). Hidden Diary: Patriarchal domestic violence revealed in a revision of the maternal melodrama. In F. Martin (Ed.), Refereed Proceedings of the 2017 Australia and New Zealand Communication Association Conference -- Communication Worlds: Access, Voice, Diversity, Engagement.

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Copyright © The Author, 2017

Distribution License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.




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



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