Event Title

"Reality" TV: Portrayals of Labor and Birth in a Mainstream Reality Series One Born Every Minute

Location

CSU 253

Start Date

18-4-2016 11:05 AM

End Date

18-4-2016 12:05 PM

Student's Major

Gender and Women's Studies

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Shannon Miller

Mentor's Department

Gender and Women's Studies

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

Labor and birth have become predominantly medicalized in the United States. The media has a strong influence on people’s perceptions, attitudes, and behavior, and can serve to reinforce cultural norms—specifically, mainstream media disproportionately promotes medicalized birth. The media has a tendency to portray labor and birth as a dangerous affair, and as a result, may contribute to the culture of fear around labor and birth. In this feminist, qualitative media analysis, we examine several mothers’ experiences giving birth on a popular reality television series called, “One Born Every Minute”. We analyze how these mothers’ births are portrayed in four episodes, paying close attention to the frequency of perceived danger and who identifies as the decision maker. We asked two questions to guide our study: 1) How often is birth portrayed as dangerous in the reality television show One Born Every Minute?, and 2) Who are presented as decision makers during labor and birth? Our initial findings show that labor and birth are more frequently portrayed as dangerous than not, and that women are most often the least empowered to make decisions during labor and birth, after their family members and doctors. This analysis will reflect popular beliefs about labor and delivery and may shed light on the disempowerment of mothers in labor and birth. Additionally, we may observe how intersectionality relates to the empowerment of women’s experiences during labor and delivery.

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Apr 18th, 11:05 AM Apr 18th, 12:05 PM

"Reality" TV: Portrayals of Labor and Birth in a Mainstream Reality Series One Born Every Minute

CSU 253

Labor and birth have become predominantly medicalized in the United States. The media has a strong influence on people’s perceptions, attitudes, and behavior, and can serve to reinforce cultural norms—specifically, mainstream media disproportionately promotes medicalized birth. The media has a tendency to portray labor and birth as a dangerous affair, and as a result, may contribute to the culture of fear around labor and birth. In this feminist, qualitative media analysis, we examine several mothers’ experiences giving birth on a popular reality television series called, “One Born Every Minute”. We analyze how these mothers’ births are portrayed in four episodes, paying close attention to the frequency of perceived danger and who identifies as the decision maker. We asked two questions to guide our study: 1) How often is birth portrayed as dangerous in the reality television show One Born Every Minute?, and 2) Who are presented as decision makers during labor and birth? Our initial findings show that labor and birth are more frequently portrayed as dangerous than not, and that women are most often the least empowered to make decisions during labor and birth, after their family members and doctors. This analysis will reflect popular beliefs about labor and delivery and may shed light on the disempowerment of mothers in labor and birth. Additionally, we may observe how intersectionality relates to the empowerment of women’s experiences during labor and delivery.

Recommended Citation

Harper, Kyrsten; Rebecca Rand; Lauren Sobotta; and Nicole Soley. ""Reality" TV: Portrayals of Labor and Birth in a Mainstream Reality Series One Born Every Minute." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 18, 2016.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2016/oral-session-04/1