Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down

Images of Pregnancy in Hollywood Films

Kelly Oliver

Columbia University Press

Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down

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Pub Date: October 2012

ISBN: 9780231161091

248 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£22.00

Pub Date: October 2012

ISBN: 9780231161084

248 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£67.00

Pub Date: October 2012

ISBN: 9780231530705

248 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£22.00

Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down

Images of Pregnancy in Hollywood Films

Kelly Oliver

Columbia University Press

No longer is pregnancy a repulsive or shameful condition in Hollywood films, but an attractive attribute, often enhancing the romantic or comedic storyline of a female character. Kelly Oliver investigates this curious shift and its reflection of changing attitudes toward women's roles in reproduction and the family. Not all representations signify progress. Oliver finds that in many pregnancy films, our anxieties over modern reproductive practices and technologies are made manifest, and in some cases perpetuate conventions curtailing women's freedom. Reading such films as Where the Heart Is (2000), Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), Palindromes (2004), Saved! (2004), Quinceañera (2006), Children of Men (2006), Knocked Up (2007), Juno (2007), Baby Mama (2008), Away We Go (2009), Precious (2009), The Back-up Plan (2010), Due Date (2010), and Twilight: Breaking Dawn (2011), Oliver investigates pregnancy as a vehicle for romance, a political issue of "choice," a representation of the hosting of "others," a prism for fears of miscegenation, and a screen for modern technological anxieties.

A wonderful, insightful, riveting, and entertaining romp.

Kalpana Rahita Seshadri, Boston College

A scholarly, engaging, and challenging account. Drawing on concepts from science, philosophy, feminism, and film, Oliver's book invites us to evaluate our own beliefs, values, and expectations of the future and challenges the reader with the depth of its erudition. It examines new possibilities, not all positive, in an age of techno-pregnancy and the erotic glorification of 'baby bumps,' 'momshells,' and pregnant celebrities. A highly serious yet entertaining account of the relationship between film and the popular imagination and a timely reminder of the importance of popular culture in everyday life.

Barbara Creed, University of Melbourne

In her characteristically lucid prose and with her incisive wit, Oliver easily engages the reader in this very timely and much needed analysis of representations of the pregnant body and birth in Hollywood film, ranging from the romantic comedy to horror and science fiction. Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down is as enjoyable and accessible as it is insightful.

Pleshette DeArmitt, The University of Memphis

Clearly written...this book could serve...as a core text in a course on women in film.

Choice

Oliver's convincing conclusion is that in Hollywood films pregnant women may have become objects of desire, but they are not allowed to become desiring subjects...

Fran Bigman, Times Literary Supplement
Acknowledgments
Introduction: From Shameful to Sexy—Pregnant Bellies Exploding Onto the Screen
1. Academic Feminism Versus Hollywood Feminism: How Modest Maternity Becomes Pregnant Glam
2. MomCom as RomCom: Pregnancy as a Vehicle for Romance
3. Accident and Excess: The "Choice" to Have a Baby
4. Pregnant Horror: Gestating the Other(s) Within
5. "What's the Worst That Can Happen?" Techno-Pregnancies Versus Real Pregnancies
Conclusion: Twilight Family Values
Notes
Filmography
Texts Cited
Index

Read the introduction, "From Shameful to Sexy" (to view in full screen, click on icon in bottom right-hand corner)

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About the Author

Kelly Oliver is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and the author of Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us To Be Human; Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex and the Media; The Colonization of Psychic Space: Toward a Psychoanalytic Social Theory; Noir Anxiety: Race, Sex, and Maternity in Film Noir; Witnessing: Beyond Recognition; Subjectivity Without Subjects: From Abject Fathers to Desiring Mothers; Family Values: Subjects Between Nature and Culture; Womanizing Nietzsche: Philosophy's Relation to "the Feminine;" and Reading Kristeva: Unraveling the Double-Bind.