Framing Celebrity Miscarriage: A Textual Analysis

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A in Communication


Department of Communication


Chad Painter


Textual analysis of four articles in which celebrities discuss their miscarriages, published in popular women’s magazines between 1987 and 2017, finds the coverage serves the media’s core function of generating empathy and creating a public conversation, both of which are important for advancing social norms surrounding taboo topics such as pregnancy loss. However, the analysis reveals that the news coverage can be inadequate in fully communicating the emotional and medical realities of miscarriage. The framing makes salient the sadness women feel and recognizes their grief through exclusive use of familial language instead of clinical terms for the baby, but it leaves silent medical details important to understanding pregnancy loss. The coverage also exclusively uses episodic framing, focused on the individual women without broader context from sources like doctors, which encourages readers to view miscarriage as an individual issue rather than one that could be affected at the societal level through research, health care practices or public policy.


miscarriage, framing, celebrity, news, pregnancy loss

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