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Pregnancy in media

It seems like pregnancy in fiction and other popular media tends to follow a certain stereotyped and predictable trajectory, which isn’t usually very realistic. Usually what will happen is a woman will discover she’s pregnant in an overly emotional scene after she’s thrown up a few times, then will get bigger for a while until she gives birth to a beautiful, cooing baby in an unrealistically clean and idealized setting. Examples of this are too numerous to list, though one famous one can be seen in the anime movie Wolf Children. It’s also common in fanfiction.

Sometimes, of course, the woman will die in childbirth; however, if this happens it will also be overly-dramatic and sanitized compared to what a death in childbirth would really look like. In the anime "Clannad," for example, Nagisa dies shortly after the birth of her daughter on a clean bed with a smile on her face, while her husband looks on in tears.

What do you think is driving some of these trends of unrealistic pregnancy in fiction? Are there any works that seem to do a more realistic job of portraying pregnancy and birth?

  • Very intriguing, however, try providing specific television shows or examples from different media. Also, the thesis is off a bit, maybe pin down your thesis more; is it offensive how childbirth is portrayed? Or are women being depreciated because of the depiction of pregnancy in media? Overall this is really thought provoking! – Yasmine Allen 1 year ago
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  • I personally would love to see this topic turned into an article! This an issue that is so ingrained in our society it's hard to notice; childbearing is always glamorized and encouraged. It makes sense, from an evolutionary perspective, to encourage reproduction... but does it still make sense now? – Slaidey 1 year ago
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  • Interesting topic and definitely important to explore, but I also think there are a lot of great examples of realistic pregnancy/childbirth/parenting starting to emerge in backlash of these earlier unrealistic depictions (e.g. Jane the Virgin, Parenthood, later seasons of The Mindy Project). I think a lot has to do with perhaps a masculine gaze or male writers, not knowing or wanting to share the reality because it's usually not as dramatic or TV-worthy (water breaking usually just feels like peeing, for example, or labour being hours but only having a contraction every hour or so... not a quick process!). – sarahduignan 1 year ago
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