The Impact of Post-Natal Bodies in the Media – Discourse Analysis.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study looks at the impact that the media has in the portrayal of the post-baby body and the wider implications that it has for women using discourse analysis. Through analysis of the media four genres of written media were identified that portray post-natal bodies within the media: Middle market tabloid, Women’s magazine, Celebrity magazine and Mother and Baby magazine with one article portraying post-natal bodies chosen for each. A Critical Discourse analysis was carried out for each article and results concluded four main themes; Time, Body Image and Shape, Empowerment vs. Sexualisation of the female body and exercise. The theme of time was predominantly negative, with emphasis being placed the fact that celebrity mums do not take long to regain their pre-baby bodies post birth thus pressurising mothers to conform to similar ideals post birth. Body image concerns were observed within the articles analysed and attention was also drawn to the shape of a woman’s body post-birth. This was also perceived as negative to consumers of the media, who struggle to look like celebrities do post-birth. Empowerment vs. Sexualisation of the female body was concurrent through the middle market tabloid and the celebrity magazine. The celebrity magazine could be perceived as empowering to women post birth in the first instance however through critical discourse analysis it was inferred that it could have an adverse effect on mothers, who feel less empowered in their post-baby bodies after looking at the media portrayal of the subject. The female body is also sexualised within the articles and this is further expanded on by theory into the subject thus proving this theme to be relevant in society today. The observation of exercise as a theme is positive in some elements however it is predominantly negative for consumers. The media portrayal of exercise post birth aims to empower women to exercise however it is not completely in conjunction with the governments recommended guidelines so the implications for the readers of the magazine would be negative. The results therefore indicate a largely negative media impact on women post-birth, and the literature surrounding the subject has further supported this theory.
BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care
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