Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Consuming Ideal Images? Celebrating the Pregnant and Postpartum Body

Margaret K. Hogg, Lancaster University, UK
Emma Banister, Lancaster University, UK
Mandy Dixon, Lancaster University, UK
In this presentation we focus on the body as the basis for the evaluation of self in the public arena and explore women’s experiences of cultural ideals surrounding bodies, both during pregnancy and post partum. Pregnancy is often regarded as a state which frees women, at least temporarily from their concerns with their slender ideal self, allowing them to gain weight and change shape without the risk of attracting adverse evaluation from others; or feeling inadequate in social comparisons with idealized images of women and beauty. We find support for the assumption that pregnancy can represent a time and space for ‘free play’ of the embodied self. However, our findings also suggest that pregnant women can find themselves confronted with a different range of discourses, which are just as normative as those they experienced before pregnancy.
[ to cite ]:
Margaret K. Hogg, Emma Banister, and Mandy Dixon (2009) ,"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Consuming Ideal Images? Celebrating the Pregnant and Postpartum Body", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 154-156.