Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 7:4 (December 2010), pp. 360–380.

doi: 10.1080/14791420.2010.523432


Copyright © 2010 National Communication Association; published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This essay explores three films from 2007, Knocked Up, Juno, and Waitress, which foreground young women’s unplanned pregnancies. These movies depoliticize women’s reproduction and motherhood through narratives that rearticulate the meaning of choice. Bypassing the subject of abortion, the women’s decisions revolve around their choice of heterosexual partners and investment in romantic relationships. Although they question the viability of the nuclear family for single pregnant women, these films represent new iterations of post-feminism that ultimately restore conservative ideas that valorize pregnancy and motherhood as women’s imperatives. We conclude by addressing how these movies present a distorted and short-sighted depiction of the politics of reproductive agency and the challenges that single mothers face.