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Type: Journal article
Title: Mothers as smoking guns: fetal overnutrition and the reproduction of obesity
Author: Warin, M.
Zivkovic, T.
Moore, V.
Davies, M.
Citation: Feminism and Psychology, 2012; 22(3):360-375
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0959-3535
Statement of
Megan Warin, Tanya Zivkovic, Vivienne Moore and Michael Davies
Abstract: Mothers are expected to monitor their children’s dietary intakes and physical activities and are blamed for over feeding their children if they are obese. Women are also urged to manage their own weight in preparation for conception and during pregnancy in order to reduce complications associated with maternal obesity at childbirth. Through a theoretical lens of maternal blame, we argue that Australian media representations of scientific studies of the fetal overnutrition hypothesis extend behavioural maternal blame to the interiority of women’s bodies. Women’s intrauterine environments are positioned in the media as central to the intergenerational transmission of obesity, with women portrayed as responsible for passing obesity on to their children (and grandchildren) via biology and ill-informed ‘lifestyle choices’. Linking in with historical and contemporary discourses of maternal bodies and individual responsibility, the implications of the ‘double damage’ caused by women entails a concerning return to essentialism in which women’s bodies are being largely blamed for producing and reproducing obesity across generations.
Keywords: Fetal origins hypothesis
maternal obesity
mother blame
Rights: © The Author(s) 2012
DOI: 10.1177/0959353512445359
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Gender Studies and Social Analysis publications

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