(Originally published on Future of Birth.com)
The media is single-handedly the biggest change-agent for American culture views birth and Vicki Elson frames it all up for us in her comprehensive documentary Laboring Under an Illusion (DVD, 50 minutes).
"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." - Laboring Under an Illusion website
Vicki presents the reality of birth in the media via hilarious clips and self-narrative. Laboring Under an Illusion's biggest impact is when it shows us a sensationalized birth clip up against a natural birth clip. Not only does it make us wish the sensationalized birth could get dunked in a waterbirth bath but it also makes it very obvious why natural or normal birth has not been embraced by the media - it is not fast action, exciting material. It is something quite different indeed. Is there a place for normal birth in our media and pop culture? What will bridge this divide and what is the future of birth media and will normal birth ever find its voice in the media?
In 2012, if you are an expectant parent or birth professional you might take the initiative to find normal birth in the media outside of the mainstream. Lately many have people have taken that initiative and arrived at the Business of Being Born or even Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret. And it will be interesting to see if Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives is embraced by the mainstream media - we hope so. If you are really eager or a childbirth educator (or in a class) you might see some other films from InJoy or Passion for Birth but they are more difficult to access. Viewers are finding
threads, playlist, or subscriptions on YouTube, Vimeo, and others (check back soon for more details). Hopefully this demonstration of consumer demand will help shift the 75% of the viewing being online and 75% of the advertising being on television. To find more birth media that represents normal birth check back with the Future of Birth / Birth in the Media or watch our Media Shorts or visit Vicki's Resource page for listings.
Other things you can do to view and advocate for better product:
* Seek out and view programs that support sustainable birth via online resources or purchase (purchase costs can be divided amongst viewers).
* Organize a screening at your home or at a community location. It is important to include the children so try previewing programs to see if they are age appropriate for the younger ones.
* Host a screening thru Baby International Film Festival and they will provide you the films: http://www.babyff.com/web/films.
* Send the network's Viewer Relations an email and let them know you are not satisfied with the programs you are seeing and provide suggestions for what you hope to see in the future.
* Visit us here at Future of Birth for information about the latest productions and to view trailers and online videos.