Forty-two years ago this month, we celebrated a victory for equality and personal autonomy. The prohibition on legal abortion technically ended with the Roe v. Wade decision in the 1973 that Americans have the right to terminate a pregnancy before the point of viability no matter where they live or what their life circumstances.
Nicki Minaj recently told Rolling Stone that she is pro-choice. Photo by Christopher Macsurak.
There is danger in a single story, as award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would say. When a multitude of voices are flattened into a monolithic entity, the risk of presenting only a narrow perspective grows.
In this episode, we look at the way movies and music discuss reproductive rights, including an analysis of Nicki Minaj lyrics, a history of American sex-ed films, and an exploration of the how movies make abortion seem more dangerous than it really is.
More ways to listen to this show are below the cut.
New film "Obvious Child" stars Jenny Slate as a 20-something in Brooklyn who gets an abortion.
One in three women in the US have an abortion in their lifetimes, while nearly 40 percent of Americans claim they do not know anyone who has had an abortion.
I left the latter group, not coincidentally, around the same time I joined the former. When I got pregnant as a 20-something in Brooklyn five years ago and started telling people I was getting an abortion, I quickly discovered I actually knew three women who’d had one.
One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, yet in pop culture accurate portrayals of real people’s stories are rare. In this special interview, two reproductive justice advocates listen and discuss two songs: Nick Cannon’s "Can I Live?" and Nicki Minaj’s "Autobiography," and ask: what messages are pop songs sending about reproductive health issues?
If you've already seen the new, Sundance-anointed comedy Obvious Child, you'll likely agree that it's the romantic comedy many feminists have long waited for—talky, sweet, and fearless; entirely relatable; offering humanity and fart jokes with equal aplomb. There's no reason to think of it—as many of us do with rom-coms—as a "guilty pleasure." It's just a pleasure, full stop, and one that has the potential to finally clue Hollywood in to what female moviegoers want to see onscreen.
A Texas protester rallies against the state's recent abortion rights restrictions. Photo by Mirsasha.
Is it possible to advocate for fetuses and babies without advocating for pregnant women?
Such a question might not even have been possible a generation ago. But over the past few decades a trend to treat fetuses as if they exist separately from pregnant women has reverberated throughout our culture and legal system, resulting in all sorts of illogical, surprising, and decidedly unfeminist positions.