‘Pregsploitation’: The New Controversy in Media

Posted on 9 July 2020
By Dana Andersen
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New awareness towards the importance of diversity and political correctness being important, and something to strive for, is spreading through the TV and movie industry, but has a new issue arrived in its wake?

Being branded as ‘pregsploitation’, we’re increasingly being shown pregnant women as wildly impulsive, unable to control themselves, and as the villain of many stories.

Although its fair to say a womans hormones may affect her more so during pregnancy, the cliche of pregnant women being vindictive, selfish, and mentally unsound, has little truth in reality, so why are we seeing so much of it on television?

Most recently in The Secrets She Keeps, a new BBC drama, we see Aggie, working while in her third trimester of pregnancy, who finds herself drawn to mummy influencer, who is pregnant with her third child, Meghan.

Does she try to befriend her? Perhaps suggest they go baby clothes shopping together, or just chat over a cup of tea?

Lurking in her bushes and low-level stalking obviously makes more sense to any pregnant woman.

We’ve seen it time and time again, in Neflix’s The Stranger, Doctor Foster, The Replacement, and even way back in Glee, when Will Schuester’s wife faked her pregnancy, leading to their explosive breakup when he found out the truth.

While male characters have stories driven by their histories, motivations, and victories, women’s have begun to boil down to ‘pregnancy makes you crazy’, utilising the one thing that makes most women different from men, against us.

Not to mention, should this become a stereotype, it has a high chance of negatively affecting pregnant women who suffer any mental health issues, while pregnant or postpartum.

It could be argued pregsploitation is better than the stereotypes that have been used to represent people of colour, or the LGBT+ community, or we could just accept that lots of things need to change to help society become more accepting as a whole.

We can at least be hopeful this is not a trend that will continue for too long.