Laboring Under The Illusion

On Tuesday night I went to a screening of Laboring Under the Illusion (and subsequent panel discussion afterwards) with my IRL friend and fellow doula Jenn (thanks Jessica for putting on this event).
Anthropologist Vicki Elson explores media-generated myths about childbirth. As a childbirth educator for 25 years, she observes daily how our culture affects our birth experiences. In this film, she contrasts fiction with reality. The result is hilarious, engaging, and enlightening.
Throughout the film, she compares Hollywood to reality and the impact that Hollywood has on our cultural perception and thus, expectations of childbearing.

Elson states that an average of 2/3 of pregnant women watch ER, movies, and other birth-specific shows, such as A Baby Story. Out of those women, only 1/4 will attend a childbirth class. Thus, for most women, the only childbirth education that they will receive is from Hollywood.

All in all, I would rate that this film is worth the watch and recommend it. It is funny, informative, and educational. A provocative piece that generates good discussion. But, the panel didn't answer my biggest question: "What is our plan to change this?" Any ideas?


Jill said...

Okay, is it bad that I recognized EVERY ONE of those "media birth" clips (and a good many of the actual birth ones too)? *looks around sheepishly*

Oh how I want to see this! I wonder if it's on Netflix?

Vicki Elson said...

Hi! It's not on Netflix yet, but it may be soon. Meanwhile, the price has dropped to $19.95 to make it more accessible. See www.birth-media.com.

And by the way, we ALL are looking around sheepishly -- the guilty pleasures of TV are ubiquitous. The happy coincidence is that the film clips make my film very relatable and thus more useful -- a foot in the door, to help viewers start thinking about childbirth in a fresh new way.

Thanks for your interest!

Enjoy! Vicki


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