Monsters And Miracles by Lesley Husbands
|Title||Monsters and Miracles|
|Language||English, Spanish, and French|
This thesis examines how the pregnant body is constructed in the media in three case studies. I argue the pregnant body is too often objectified, ignored or represented only in a narrow way in order to avoid transgressing social mores. My first text is an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show called "Miracle Babies with Céline Dion" that first aired on television October 14, 2004. My second case study consists of popular images of pregnant celebrities: the iconic photograph of actress Demi Moore featured on the August 1991 cover of the lifestyle magazine Vanity Fair, and the more recent cover photograph and pictorial of pop star Britney Spears that appeared on the August 2006 cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine. Finally, I contrast these dominant representations with some very different (self) representations of pregnant and postpartum bodies found on the Internet blog of Bonnie Crowder called "The Shape of a Mother". Some of the questions I ask in the thesis are the following: what is the source of the religious vocabulary invoked in descriptions of NRTs (new reproductive technologies), in particular the word "miracle"? Why is the pregnant body associated with the grotesque or monstrous in Western culture and how can we explain the increasing media focus on celebrity pregnancy? How do media images of the pregnant body affirm dominant discourses of beauty? How can we challenge these narrow hegemonic representations and what is the value of our (feminist) interventions?