Nine Months of Fear and a Lifetime of Paranoia: The Hidden Effects of Pregnancy Manuals, Child Rearing Products, and More

  • Melissa Ames
  • Sarah Burcon


Imagine you’re standing in a checkout line surrounded by racks of celebrity magazines and sensational tabloids. You would be hard-pressed not to encounter at least one headline devoted to pregnancy: a feature story on the latest expected Royal Baby a voyeuristic beachside photo prompting speculation about whether some celebrity or another is trying to hide her ‘baby bump’, or an intrusive article narrating some woman’s failure to reach the all-coveted state of pregnancy. For example, Jennifer Aniston, who has been the focus of countless articles speculating on the angst she must feel after every single one of Brad Pitt’s biological or adopted children is announced, recently drew media attention when a red carpet photo gave off the mistaken impression that she might be trying to conceal a pregnancy. The actress finally addressed the never-ending pregnancy rumors targeted at her, stating: T don’t have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done and … if they’re not checked, then I’ve failed some part of my feminism or my being a woman or [… decreased] my value as a woman because I haven’t birthed a child.’1 All of this attention (or scrutiny) directed at women could mistakenly be read as revealing the honored space that pregnant women have in our societies. In truth, as Aniston’s response reveals, when you search beneath the surface of such media moments, what you really find are pretty terrifying messages like these being sent to women: your ultimate goal should be to become mothers and, once you do, remember we’re watching you, so you’d best be carrying that child to term (and raising it in the way we deem fit).


Pregnant Woman Postpartum Depression Head Louse Customer Review Customer Rate 
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Copyright information

© Melissa Ames and Sarah Burcon 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Ames
    • 1
  • Sarah Burcon
    • 2
  1. 1.Eastern Illinois UniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganUSA

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