Thu, Mar 30, 2017 | updated 06:21 AM IST

Pop-culture news helped to open up about out-of-wedlock childbirth

Updated: Oct 30, 2016 11:17 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Oct. 30 (ANI): A new study says that celebrity news reports over the past four decades appear to have contributed to the changing makeup of the traditional American family by helping to destigmatize out-of-wedlock childbirths in the United States.

In the study by University at Buffalo sociologist, researcher Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk said, "Celebrities typically did not apologize for getting pregnant outside of marriage."

"But the family model also changed over time. The early model dictated that you should marry by the time the baby is born. By the mid-2000s that had changed, and it became widely acceptable in the celebrity world to have a child without marrying first," Grol-Prokopczyk added.

With People magazine as her proxy for popular culture news coverage, Grol-Prokopczyk analyzed nearly 400 cover stories dating from People's 1974 premier issue to the present to learn when the interest in celebrity pregnancies started and how the magazine's presentation of family norms changed over time.

A more detailed study, including calculations of celebrity non-marital birth rates, is currently under peer-review.

"I used People magazine because it's reputable in the sense that it doesn't publish fictional stories; it has been in continuous circulation for over 40 years; and it remains one of the most widely circulating magazines in the country," said Grol-Prokopczyk. "It also has a strong online presence, with as many as 72 million unique views in a given month."

Her curiosity about the media's fascination with celebrity baby news began when she was pregnant with her first child. She signed up for news alerts, expecting to get medical and nutrition stories relevant to expectant mothers, but instead received mostly news reports about celebrity pregnancies.

"Academics often scoff at celebrity news, but in fact there's evidence that celebrity culture is enormously influential in changing norms and has a very wide reach," she said. "For example, after Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed after having her preventative mastectomy, a survey conducted weeks later found that 74 percent of Americans knew about her surgery and the decision."

This became known as the Angelina Effect, and research on its impact was published in the journal Genetics in Medicine. "That attests to the fact that decisions celebrities make reach us and affect our thinking," said Grol-Prokopczyk.

Her research further illustrates that point.

The first People magazine cover that showed a celebrity pregnancy was in May 1976. Goldie Hawn was pictured and the text makes it clear that she's pregnant and unmarried, but the caption reads, "She's laughing with a baby and a new hubby on the way."

"There aren't many non-marital fertility stories in the 1970s, but when they do appear there's almost always a promise that the parent will marry by the time the baby is born," said Grol-Prokopczyk. "It's like saying, 'Don't worry, readers. They'll be married by the time the baby arrives.'"

The model was still the same when People magazine announced Melanie Griffith's pregnancy in 1989, with a caption that said she and Don Johnson were "thinking about an April wedding."

Beginning in the 1990s, the normative model began to change, and by the mid-2000s, People magazine regularly showed celebrity couples who didn't marry by the time the baby was born, according to Grol-Prokopczyk. These non-marital births were almost without exception presented as happy, morally unproblematic events.

"This includes women who were partnered but didn't plan to marry the partner, but it also includes so-called 'single mothers' who we now know were in committed same-sex relationships, in particular Jodie Foster and Rosie O'Donnell," she said.

Seven covers about Foster and O'Donnell appeared between 1996 and 2002. None of them acknowledge that the women were in same-sex relationships, and two of them directly referred to the women as "single mothers."

"Based on biographies of them now, we know they were in long-term, committed relationships at the time," said Grol-Prokopczyk.

"People magazine was slow to show acceptance of same-sex parents, preferring to present them as single parents. This example shows that while celebrity media coverage can serve as an agent for social change -- by de-stigmatizing non-marital childbearing or transgenderism, for instance -- it does not always do so," she said.

The paper has been presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.(ANI)

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 29 (ANI): A study finds that preserving and promoting natural amenities - clean air, hiking trails, beaches - and quality of life may give a double shot boost to economic growth important for human capital.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): DLF Emporio's Design Awards, in their fifth year, honored promising young names in fashion with a glittering awards ceremony.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 29 (ANI): For a longer life, eat higher proportion of carbohydrates - grains, pulses, vegetables, sweet potato - and about 100 grams of protein in middle-age daily to cut the chances of heart disease, cancer and other diseases in old age, suggests a study.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 29 (ANI): Ladies, do not hesitate to put on your sexy, body hugging clothes to office any more.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 29 (ANI): A team of Canadian researchers has found that teenagers, who begin smoking pot as early as 15 or younger, may suffer long-term cognitive impairment, memory loss, physical illnesses and respiratory diseases.

Full Story >>

Drinking tea may prevent you from diabetes

Updated: Mar 29, 2017 12:11 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 29 (ANI): After understanding the health benefits of a cup of tea, a study finds that drinking tea can prevent diabetes.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 29 (ANI): A new research suggests that parents who play Pokemon Go with their kids report a number of side benefits such as including increased exercise, more time spent outdoors and opportunities for family bonding.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): PyotrIlyich Tchaikovsky's classical ballet 'Swan Lake', one of classical ballet's most beloved pieces, is set to come alive on the Indian stage as NavrasaDuende, a leading production house, announces to collaborate with Moscow-based Royal Russian Ballet and enthral the Indian audience.

Full Story >>

Philadelphia [US], Mar. 28 (ANI): Mural Arts Philadelphia has created thousands of murals over its more than 30-year history, and each one has a unique story, connecting communities through public art. In 2017, Mural Arts has added new opportunities to hear some of those stories first-hand on several tours that visit a wide swath of neighborhoods across the City of Philadelphia.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 28 (ANI): While finding a perfect partner seems like a tough job to many, the fact is, the effort that needs to be put in retaining that partner can be a painstaking process.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): The 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival lineup is now official, and this year's two-weekend extravaganza at the Empire Polo Club in Indio is sure to be one for the ages, with Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar headlining the performances between April 14 and April 23.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): In an emphatic show of courage and hope, survivors of acid attack victims recently took to the ramp at a unique fashion show at the India Showcase Week, demolishing stigma and redefining the concept of beauty.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): From getting your child ready for school to sorting the daily chores- mornings are super hectic for women, especially the working ones.

Full Story >>

This summer, enjoy sweat-free workout

Updated: Mar 28, 2017 12:41 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): As summer draws close, Reebok has yet again come up with an exciting range of its ActivChill apparel for a more sweat-free workout!

Full Story >>

New Delhi, Mar.28 (ANI): Cuemath, the premier program for 'math excellence' for students in KG to grade 8 organized a prestigious one day event to honour its wide network of Cuemath Teachers in Delhi recently.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 28 (ANI): With progress in technology, people's view towards things change, of course on a positive note.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 28 (ANI): From our very young age, we're told cheating is wrong and we should all be faithful to our partners.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 28 (ANI): If you have a particular tree nut allergy, then generally you are being asked to avoid every kind of nuts.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 28 (ANI): Does your boss nag and expect a lot from you? Here's a solution to keep up to their expectations- take a power nap in the afternoon!

Full Story >>