We’ve all seen it. A movie or TV show where some thin, pretty woman gets knocked up (Knocked Up is actually a prime example), and she gains a belly, but doesn’t change in any other ways. Maybe she complains about gas or something. But she basically looks exactly the same, save for the fake bump she’s sporting. Then she gives birth, and goes on to look exactly the same as before. It can be pretty maddening, especially when you know that’s usually not how it goes. But guess what? A new study proves Hollywood pregnancies are totally unrealistic, so maybe we can stop comparing ourselves, yes?
According to FitPregnancy, a study was recently conducted by the University of Illinois to figure out what effect these wholly unrealistic portrayals have on pregnant persons and new moms. Published in Human Communications, the study took 50 pregnant and postpartum women and interviewed them to find out their opinions on media representations of pregnancy, including film, TV, reality entertainment, and even social media. Of course, all of these forms of media made the interviewees feel less accepting and “more critical of their own bodies.”
The researchers knew that social media likely had an impact on pregnant women and mothers as well, and believed it could make matters worse for their body image since social media can often masquerade as reality. Chances are, you’ve seen or followed Instagram accounts of mommy influencers who also happen to be incredibly fit and beautiful and well-off. These women appear to always have pristine homes and about 60 hours a week dedicated to working out. Or maybe that’s just part of their genes. Some people are just naturally slender. Others were already incredibly fit prior to pregnancy. But that doesn’t make them any better or worse than those of us who still haven’t “lost the baby weight” 3 or 5 or 10 years later.
All that said, some moms did enjoy how candid some folks are on social media about motherhood. There are a lot of spaces these days for moms to get real about everything from postpartum bodies to mental health issues moms deal with and the general inability to ever have a truly clean home.
More importantly, the researchers recognized that these women all want the same thing: more accuracy in media portrayals of motherhood. So if you’re a screen writer or director, please listen up. Us moms, who have a lot of buying power in the world, will totally tune in if you can just start making shows for us and about us. Here’s hoping.
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(Image: YouTube / MovieClips)