From the Duchess of Sussex to the Kardashians, the pregnancies of women in the public eye come under increasing scrutiny, with ramifications for the rest of us, as George Winter explains
In 1977, Illich et al identified the rise of so-called professionals, such as lifestyle counsellors and food fad experts, who fed on consumers' ‘splintered needs and fractured self-confidence’ (Illich et al, 2000: 24). This fractured self-confidence, in my view, has contributed to a coarsening of popular culture, exemplified by the rise of the celebrity and inflated by social media.
The extent to which this phenomenon can have unexpected effects was illustrated by Grol-Prokopczyk (2018), who drew attention to the growing body of research linking popular culture to fertility-related trends, citing, for example, that Brazilian women who watched television soap operas featuring small families had lower fertility compared to women without access to these programmes.
Clive James (2005: 354), exploring the relationship between hip-hop lyrics and gun crime, wrote that ‘anyone who is unworried about the effect of popular culture when it turns sour is living in a dream’. Furthermore, there are aspects of celebrity whose curdling effects can also promote a souring process.
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