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Perfect pregnancy? Pregnant bodies, digital leisure and the presentation of self.

Mayoh, J., 2019. Perfect pregnancy? Pregnant bodies, digital leisure and the presentation of self. Leisure Studies, 38 (2), 204-217.

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Perfect pregnancyFINALv2.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2018.1562492


Pregnant women are increasingly engaging with social media as a form of digital leisure. In doing so, they subject themselves to normalised images of pregnant bodies communicating unrealistic ideals. Instagram is a culturally communicative and visual platform and a pervasive context in which to explore body discipline and regulation. The current research utilised discourse analysis to explore dominant discourse surrounding pregnant women’s bodies through their self-presentation on Instagram, uncovering potential areas of challenge and resistance. Content was selected from 60 user-generated posts from 16 pregnant women’s personal accounts on Instagram. Results explore themes of ‘The “Perfect Pregnancy and Middle-class, Consumptive Ethic”’, ‘Doing Exclusive Heteronormative Pregnant Femininity’ and ‘Self-surveillance & Hyper-visibility of the Digital Fleshy Pregnant Body’. These themes identified how pregnant women embody dominant discourse regarding neo-liberalism, consumption, traditional medicine, heteronormativity, and hegemonic masculinity, and use this to engage in self-surveillance, policing, and monitoring of their pregnant bodies. A final theme Rejecting the ‘Perfect Pregnancy’, Reworking (and Reproducing) Dominant Ideals’ is uncovered, outlining alternative posts by the women that offer resistance to the dominant discourse, however examples are infrequent and lack evidence of conscious and overt politicisation. Future research should focus on pregnant women’s self-interpretation of social media engagement and the pregnant bodies excluded from this discourse.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pregnancy ; instagram ; bodies ; digital leisure
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:31728
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:04 Feb 2019 15:52
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:14


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