Thursday, January 31, 2008

Knocked up, Juno, and "No-Choice"

Recently, I have found myself in conversations with friends about Juno, and the recent line of movies with a similar theme. (For example Knocked Up, Waitress). Among friends, there has been some anecdotal discussion on the "conspiracy theory" that perhaps religious organizations are funding some of these movies. Or perhaps they are merely reflecting social values and the persistent unwillingness of media and community to create realistic pictures regarding abortion. As opposed to realiwood.

A New York times article cited that 2/3 of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion. The same N.Y. times’ article suggests that media, namely television and film, have sidestepped the issue in far of loss of advertising profits. The article also suggests, of course, those plot lines that end in termination of a pregnancy are generally the result of a miscarriage.

As far as storylines go, the prevailing message seems to be that "storylines end at abortion," that there is no story after abortion. So, I wonder what are the ramifications of this message to people? Perhaps it reinforces the rhetoric that women are not whole, meaningful, fulfilling their prescribed role, absent motherhood.

Also worth noting is another film entitled Children of Men. This film dealt with a futuristic society where women could NOT conceive. (note that it was women whose reproductive systems failed them and not men). This film also hazed on a critique of immigration. What is most notable about the story line is the downfall of the human race rests on reproduction, reinforcing many biblical themes. Of course, there is truth to that statement, but it is also the ensuing chaos, terrorist alerts, and immigration "camps" that appear to arise out of women's loss of reproductive capability.

1 comment:

Pali said...

Another example of teen pregnancy/vilifying abortion in pop culture, similar to the movie "Juno", is the ABC show "The Secret Life of the American Teenager". Of the three pregnancies of the primary cast members to date, one teen mother had her baby, the baby's father eventually fell in love with her, proposed, and both graduate high school and go to college. One teen mother had her baby and gave it to loving adoptive parents, all while a boyfriend who was not the father stayed with her and was supportive. The third had a miscarriage, which resulted in an emotional breakdown leading to weight gain and divorce. Propaganda much? How many teen pregnancies actually end like these fairy tales? While the miscarriage is likened to an abortion, and leads to great pain for the mother. This sells a very false story to high schoolers. Though sandwiched between PSAs about talking to their parents about sex and using protection, the actual plot of the show rarely depicts these issues or the dark realities which are more likely to result from teen pregnancies.

I cannot think of a single mainstream television show or movie where a protagonist has an abortion and lives a hunky dory life without suffering terrible life consequences. I wonder if this is because it does not make for good TV, or if media is overrun with conservatives, or if this is how most Americans feel.