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Within previous decades, opinions about pregnancy and post-partum behaviour featured in various news articles and within popular literature emphasized issues related to pregnancy and liquor; campaigns against teen pregnancy; pregnancy and weight gain; and pregnancy and dieting behaviour. Attention has shifted from these issues to appearance-related topics including rapid weight loss, exercise regiments and food restriction. For example, photographs of celebrities have provided visual evidence that women can gain weight during pregnancy, give birth and within weeks revert to a thin, pre-pregnant body size. A qualitative method was used to explore to what extent, if any, images of post-partum celebrity bodies influenced self-thoughts of non-celebrity post-partum mothers and their appearance management. A total of 35 women completed in-depth interviews. Viewing post-partum celebrity images stirred up emotions of jealousy, anxiety and frustration, often followed by statements of envy or justification. Most participants reported engaging in upward social comparison with images. However, most participants did not behave differently relative to their appearance management (i.e., dieting, exercise or dressing).


Copyright 2019 Intellect Ltd. Originally published in Fashion, Style & Popular Culture, vol. 6, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 69–84. doi:10.1386/fspc.6.1.69_1.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 17, 2019