In this article, Foucault’s notions of disciplinary power and biopower are used in examining representations of pregnancy, fitness, and health in “Fit for Two,” a tips column for new and expectant mothers in Oxygen magazine. The neoliberal emphasis on personal responsibility for health has found a “fertile” home in the column. Medical discourse encouraging individual risk management (i.e., moderate exercise for a healthy pregnancy) and discourses promoting feminine bodily norms are combined with advertisements for pregnancy-related health products to suggest that a woman can transform herself into a “fit” mother through appropriate disciplinary and consumer practices. The article concludes with a discussion of the way in which the pregnant body remains a site of control in contemporary Western society.
Jette is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, 210 War Memorial Gym, Vancouver, British Columbia.