“Don’t let them tell you you’re nothing.”


I’m a little late to this, but did you catch the Timesprofile of amazing artist/singer/songwriter Neko Case? In it, she gets political:

IN HER RATTLY BROWN CHEVY VAN, Case returned to the issue of abortion. She deplored some recent movies that raise the matter as one of its crucial plot points — “Knocked Up” and “Juno,” for example — and then “solve” it with a sweetly positive ending or a miscarriage or some other sidestep. “Just have the abortion,” she said of “Juno.” “Just have it and get on with your life.” She continued: “Years ago, I went to Planned Parenthood in New York — for another reason — and I saw these girls waiting there, and it was just awful. It was cold, they were in gowns that didn’t really close, and their boyfriends and parents weren’t with them, and they were sitting under these bright lights, and the people were mean.”
Surely this experience lies behind one of her most readable songs, “Pretty Girls,” on “Blacklisted”:

The TV is blaring and angry,
as if you don’t know why you’re here.
Those who walk without sin are so hungry –
Don’t let the wolves in, pretty girls. . . . .
Don’t let them tell you you’re nothing.

Love her.

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73 Comments

  1. Smart_Giraffe
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I felt the same way about the movie Juno!
    Yeah, way to go Neko Case. Way to say what you think, and not sugar coat it so you’ll have a better media image, or some BS like that.
    I heart Neko Case too!

  2. Posted February 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Um, I’m finding this:
    “Years ago, I went to Planned Parenthood in New York — for another reason — and I saw these girls waiting there, and it was just awful. It was cold, they were in gowns that didn’t really close, and their boyfriends and parents weren’t with them, and they were sitting under these bright lights, and the people were mean.”
    a wee bit troublesome.

  3. ohmyheavens
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t people realize these movies were about PREGNANCIES not abortions. If the characters got abortions the story would be over or be about something completely different.
    The one thing I didn’t like is how the movies didn’t really explain why the women decided to go through with the pregnancies. But I guess the filmmakers thought if they went into the details it would be too Hallmarky and these were supposed to be comedies.
    Not all women who get pregnant in non-ideal situations want to or should get abortions.

  4. cherrypievintage
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    “”Years ago, I went to Planned Parenthood in New York — for another reason — and I saw these girls waiting there, and it was just awful. It was cold, they were in gowns that didn’t really close, and their boyfriends and parents weren’t with them, and they were sitting under these bright lights, and the people were mean.” ”
    I hope that this wasn’t meant to put Planned Parenthood in a bad light. I work for a Planned Parenthood affiliate and I love the job that I do. Hopefully it was just that one location…up here in northern New York state we are nice, comforting and caring.

  5. Lisa
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    As much as I like Neko Case (and that quote maybe taken out of context) I agree with you. If Juno had gotten an abortion, you’d have a movie that was about 20 minutes long or like you said, a movie about something else entirely. Comments like that also seem to ignore the other side of the choice coin.

  6. alixana
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this.
    I sort of held my breath through Juno the first time I saw it, because I was expecting something that would offend me. In the end, I felt like it was the story of a girl who decided that abortion wasn’t for her and that she would rather go through with adoption, with the focus HEAVILY on the latter half of that sentence.
    I think it’s sort of odd to demonize people who decide NOT to have an abortion.
    And, um, why do people need their parents or boyfriends with them when they get one? The people I know who have had one always asked a close female friend to go with them.

  7. baddesignhurts
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    word.
    choice means all the choices, aye?
    not to mention, i don’t like her brusque tone…”just have it and get on with your life”? that’s the same domineering tone used by people who say, “just don’t have sex until you’re married” and other such crap that is of no use to complex, intelligent people. i hope she would never be so dismissive to a person who actually did come to her for advice or support.

  8. llevinso
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, maybe I’m taking all of this out of context as well, but what she’s saying doesn’t sit right with me either. She’s basically looking down on young girls that get pregnant and choose NOT to abort it. That’s messed up. Just because I’m pro-choice doesn’t mean that I’d actually have an abortion but I respect everyone’s ability to CHOOSE what is best for them, abortion, adoption, keeping the baby, what have you. And it does seem like she’s putting down PP. Not liking this very much at all…

  9. Annabelle
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    something that bothers me and always bothers me about people who comment on abortion is that one line:
    “I was in planned parenthood- FOR ANOTHER REASON.”
    Whenever I see that it bothers me, as its always followed with a really strong opinion about how women should handle unplanned pregnancy by a person who doesnt and has never had to.

  10. alixana
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I thought that, too, it was like, BUT DON’T THINK THAT I WAS THERE FOR AN ABORTION, HEAVEN FORBID ANYONE THINK I HAD ONE, I DIDN’T HAVE ONE, UNDERSTAND?

  11. KatieinNewYork
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    What almost everyone just said. This…doesn’t really seem like an awesome statement on behalf of the pro-choice movement. Have an abortion and just get on with your life (sort of sounds like shut up and stop whining)? Planned Parenthood is a scary, unsupportive place?
    It may be out of context, as people have said, but either way – this doesn’t feel like a yay moment to me.

  12. GraceMP
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I support Neko Case in her comments about the movies. If “choice means all the choices” then where are the pop. movies about women who choose to have abortions? I don’t think anyone would try and make the argument that women who have abortions are less or equally stigmatized than women who choose to carry the baby. So, her song lyric, “don’t let them tell you you’re nothing” is what I’m taking away from her thoughts. It’s a crucial message for women, whom, if they choose to abort, will almost inevitably face the wrath of someone in their lives.

  13. raspberrying
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    “And, um, why do people need their parents or boyfriends with them when they get one? The people I know who have had one always asked a close female friend to go with them.”
    I don’t think she’s saying people NEED their parents or boyfriends with them, but I think she means to point out that there is an enormous amount of shame surrounding abortion, and there shouldn’t be. It’s actually funny that you should say that, because I think it is very telling that girls rarely bring their parents/boyfriend to the procedure, because of this shame.
    It’s not just with abortion, but with regular gynecological care. These are things that society tells us, “can only be discussed with a ‘close female friend,’” and its unfortunate that women can’t be more open about these things with family/significant others as well.

  14. M0xieHart
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I have to start off my comment by saying that I’ve never seen Juno because I’m really sick of mainstream movies trying to harvest that awesome indie feeling of superior movies like Ghost World.
    But I just feel like Juno missed an opportunity to make a funny, “poppy” movie that deals with abortion without it turning into Judgement at Nuremburg.
    Also, I found her “Just do it” tone to be refreshing. I’m so sick of feminists apologistics over abortion a la the safe, legal, and rare line.

  15. alixana
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    The thing I took from her use of “boyfriend and parents” is a paternalistic, girl-can’t-do-it-on-her-own thing. It sent of red flags of coddling. *shrugs* You may be onto something there, but that was just my reaction to that. I also thought it was odd, since the women I know who had abortions were on college campuses far away from their parents or older and living far from them, and not all of them had gotten pregnant with a boyfriend.

  16. alixana
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Juno didn’t really miss an opportunity…the movie just wasn’t about that. It was about a pregnant teen’s relationship with the adoptive parents and the adoptive parents’ relationship with each other. If it had been about an abortion, it would have been…Not-Juno.

  17. Posted February 18, 2009 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I think it is important to note that a person’s tone is not always decipherable in an interview. Most interview quotes are so easily taken out of context and are completely one-dimensional. Let’s not get into attacking another woman. Neko is a feminist. Period. She graciously invited us on several of her tours to do our feminist coloring book projection show during intermission.
    (www.girlsnotchicks.com)
    She is continually speaking up for women’s rights. She’s rad.

  18. theotherf-word
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    yes you are. we northern new york gals (and guys) thank you.

  19. alixana
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen anyone attacking her. We’re disagreeing with what she said. Things that women say don’t get a free pass just because they came from a woman’s mouth.
    And I think many of us here are “feminists, period” but all of us have probably said something that wasn’t cool at one time or another.

  20. llevinso
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Exactly alixana. I didn’t see anyone here saying Neko wasn’t a feminist. Or attacking her in any way.
    I love this site, and I think all the women that blog here are feminists (duh)…but does that mean I always agree with every single thing they say? No.

  21. Kathleen6674
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find the Brooklyn Planned Parenthood cold and harsh at all, either. All the women who worked there were awesome, from the receptionists to the nurse practitioner to the public health grad students interning there.
    I had gone to a general low-income health clinic prior to that and I was treated like cattle by a doctor who literally did not talk to me once before, during, or after the exam. Just chatted in a language I didn’t recognize with some other dude, who I wasn’t sure was even a doctor, and then had some med students stare up my crotch without asking my permission. Never answered my questions at all. One and only one of the med students in the entourage even asked my name and how I was doing, and that was after everyone else had left the room.
    And then, because my questions went unanswered and the fee had not included any STD screening, I had to go to Planned Parenthood. They charged only marginally more money once I explained my economic situation and how badly I’d been treated at the first place, and I got the full exam with a kind NP plus STD screening.
    And for what it’s worth, I did see plenty of girls and women with boyfriends, kids, girlfriends, etc.

  22. John H.
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    “Just have it and get on with your life.”
    Wow, isn’t the keyword of the whole pro-choice thing choice?? In Juno, she CHOSE not to get an abortion. She considered her options, and in the end, made the decision she felt was best for her. Why should she be judged for that? Isn’t that counter-intuitive to the whole argument?

  23. Ars Moriendi
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    i think a lot of people are misinterpreting her statement… i don’t think she’s judging anyone for choosing not to get an abortion. i think she’s commenting on how many movies and tv shows avoid the abortion subject because it’s so controversial and that there needs to be more real dialogue about it to remove some of the shame and stigma surrounding the subject of abortion.

  24. John H.
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Yes, but Juno didn’t avoid the subject of abortion. It’s true that many movies do, and that Hollywood isn’t nearly as liberal as people make it out to be, but within the context of Juno–a movie in which the main character not only considers abortion but at one point chooses it–her statements appear counter-intuitive.

  25. Lumix
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s fair to call “Juno” a missed opportunity. The writer wanted to tell a certain story. It wasn’t some big studio production attempting to normalize the anti-choice sentiment. I was glad that the movie at least addressed the possibility of the main character getting an abortion. And it was not addressed with shame or melodrama. Juno goes by herself to the clinic and doesn’t make a big deal out of it; she just ultimately decides that abortion isn’t the right choice for her.
    However I absolutely understand and appreciate the sentiment that there should be more movies that address abortion with characters that actually go through with it. There should be more representation of abortion in the media, especially in movies intended to be comedic. This would certainly help break down some existing paradigms and stereotypes surrounding abortion and those individuals who make that choice.

  26. raspberrying
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I definitely understand what you’re saying, but at the same time, when people are faced with health and medical issues, sometimes they don’t mind being “coddled” (dare I even say that, but I can’t help but feel that its somewhat true). I only say this in the sense that it’s immensely helpful to have someone who can be there for you when you need help and support most.
    The sad fact is that many women don’t feel comfortable enough to seek out support when they are faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Not all girls/women even have the advantage of a close friend to turn to, depending on their social situation.

  27. yodelittlelady
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    She was talking about her experience at Planned Parenthood. If that is how she felt, she is entitled to it. I don’t think that she is trying to be anyone’s spokesperson. And she kicks musical ass, which is empowering whether or not one agrees with what she took from her visit to Planned Parenthood or watching a couple of movies.
    At the Planned Parenthood that I work at, I like to think that we create a welcoming environment. We see a lot of couples come in, and that is a good thing to see, even though I am aware that that is not always a possibility for many reasons.

  28. sly
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    You can be pro-choice, and not pro-abortion…I mean think about it, taken to the extreme, if everyone was pro-abortion there’d be no more human race…
    so taking a human life, or fetus, is a profound choice, and it deserves profound thought…not the attention you’d give to today’s newspaper. For the women who make the decision, one way or the other, its not trivial or insignificant, and we shouldn’t be so callous about their decisions.

  29. Auriane
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Both of the times a close friend of mine had an abortion her partners were with her.
    She has been on the pill for 15 years on-and-off, but had a couple of slip-ups as a young woman. Due to rather extreme poverty at the time, she decided not to carry the babies to term. She now has two beautiful children, but they were born at the right time and under good circumstances.
    She said that at the time of both abortions, her partners asked if they could go, and truth be told, she wanted them there and would have asked them to go if they had not volunteered. She felt it was as much about their emotions and changes in their lives as it was about hers, despite the fact that she’d have the responsibility of carrying or not carrying a child. She wanted their support, and they gave it graciously, recognizing their part.
    She also wanted them to have full awareness of what she was going through as a woman, and stated that if she ever have to go through it again, she’d expect her partner to be present.
    I must say that I feel the exact same way, and think that if more men were brought closer to the realities of growing up female, many of them would pay more attention to and support what we go through and our rights to keep reproduction a genuine choice open to all.

  30. Maia
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    NEKO CASE IS MY GODDESS. My aunt introduced her to me a few years ago. She is absolutely amazing. Favorite singer in the world. Her new album comes out on April 3rd!!

  31. katie80andstuff
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    this.

  32. Attagrrrl
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I love that Neko Case describes herself as pro-abortion instead of pro-choice. Although I certainly don’t advocate government interference in women’s reproductive decisions in any way, I hate the rhetoric of “choice,” because it makes it sound like all choices are equal. Of course you have (or should have) the right to do whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean everything you do is right. All choices are not equal. Sometimes it’s extremely irresponsible to have a child. In the interview Case says her parents should have aborted her. That’s a very bold statement, and I admire her for making it. She had a miserable childhood because she was born to parents who didn’t have the capacity to raise a child. If abortion wasn’t such a stigma, a lot more people would have abortions, and there would probably be a lot less misery in the world.
    I also love the song “Pretty Girls” because it exactly reflects my experience of Planned Parenthood.

  33. persimmon
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    You know, she could have meant the lines of anti-choice protesters that I’ve often seen outside various Planned Parenthoods. It’s not necessarily a slight against the organization. And even if she is referring to the personnel at that clinic — well, if they were mean, or brusque, then they should be getting called out, but Neko doesn’t imply that they’re representative of the organization at large. And I concur with other commenters that the point is not that Neko is slamming (or not) Planned Parenthood, but that she’s making an observation that women, especially very young women, are extremely unlikely to get the sort of support/validation they should for the choice to have an abortion. As it stands right now, for a women of limited resources (of whom most teenagers necessarily are) in particular, it can be a very lonely experience, from the moment you make the decision through to the procedure itself, and she’s right that that sucks.

  34. persimmon
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    If “choice means all the choices” then where are the pop. movies about women who choose to have abortions?
    Thank you! My frustration with movies like Juno or (especially) Knocked Up is twofold: first, they don’t represent realistic circumstances for most women or teenage girls. And second, those two movies (through no fault of their own, and I’m not blaming them for it per se) are presented in a cultural milieu that lacks alternatives — um, Hera, for instance, whatever-the-hell, a movie in my head about a young woman who finds herself inconveniently pregnant, gets an abortion after weighing her options, and lives happily the fuck ever after. God, the last movie I can remember that featured a character who’d had an abortion was freaking Listen to Me.
    I can’t speak for Neko Case, but what I took from her comments was less that she hated the movie on its own merits and more that she’s really frustrated with the way it fits in with and perpetuates this default view of pregnancy as something to “choose” to continue, even if it’s tremendously disruptive to a woman’s or girl’s life.

  35. persimmon
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    You know, for some women it’s not a “profound” choice. And they don’t believe it’s “taking a life.” And their rights to feel that way, and have an easy time choosing to get an abortion, are just as sacred as yours to feel otherwise. They shouldn’t be made out to be callous or thoughtless just because they don’t agonize over the decision.

  36. danielle
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Pro abortion = no more humans?
    Just because someone’s pro abortion doesn’t mean they believe that for EVERYONE’S pregnancy. It means they support that procedure, in and of itself. But I don’t see how that equals to “well, I want this pregnancy, but because I support abortion rights and think there’s nothing wrong with the procedure, guess I got to call up the clinic!”
    At least that’s my understanding of the term pro-abortion. Pro-choice can mean you’re against the procedure personally, but know it sure as hell isn’t your place to decide what (other) women will do with the contents of their uterus.

  37. Lisa
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    I don’t know, when my boyfriend had his appendix out I slept in a hospital chair by his bed for three days. I don’t think it’s coddling to want support when you are getting medical procedures. It’s a time of vulnerability and a lot of people can use the comfort of someone familiar. Also, if you listen to Neko Case’s music at all, it’s very clear she’s not the paternalistic type.

  38. Lisa
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    In her defense, they only include that quote and don’t mention the discussion around it or even the question that was asked. I suspect it’s taken out of context and over simplified.

  39. Lumix
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    True, not all women view their choice to get an abortion as something “profound” or something requiring deep introspection. But I do think that Neko Case’s comment about just having an abortion and “getting on with your life” does disregard and trivialize the experiences of those women for whom it is a difficult and emotional decision to get an abortion. Perhaps, as others have suggested, this quote was taken out of context.
    But it does sound like a very callous judgment against any woman who chooses not to have an abortion. I think she could have chosen her words with more sensitivity and conscientiousness.

  40. Lumix
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    True, not all women view their choice to get an abortion as something “profound” or something requiring deep introspection. But I do think that Neko Case’s comment about just having an abortion and “getting on with your life” does disregard and trivialize the experiences of those women for whom it is a difficult and emotional decision to get an abortion. Perhaps, as others have suggested, this quote was taken out of context.
    But it does sound like a very callous judgment against any woman who chooses not to have an abortion. I think she could have chosen her words with more sensitivity and conscientiousness.

  41. Lumix
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    “There would probably be a lot less misery in the world.” That’s a pretty heavy theory to propose with absolutely no way to test it. Pro-abortion or Pro-choice, it’s all rhetoric. Certainly there are cases for which abortion would probably have fostered a better outcome for those involved. But whether the choice that was made was good or bad in any given situation is completely subjective and really no one’s business except the woman who has a fetus in her uterus and the man who helped put it there.
    The way our society is structured the best we can do is give people the freedom to make the choice they feel is best free from stigma and other social repercussions.
    “Of course you have (or should have) the right to do whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean everything you do is right.”
    What are you trying to say here? People’s choices should be legally regulated based on a subjective interpretation of right and wrong? Isn’t that already what we do?
    Are you suggesting that women who can’t take care of their children should be punished by law for not making the “right” choice and aborting one or all of them?
    How do we decide whether parents have the “capacity to raise a child”? How do we quantify that?
    I’m really confused about what you’re trying to say with that comment.

  42. rhowan
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I think she’s saying that some people wind up making decisions to continue a pregnancy that aren’t actually right for them (or arguably right for the unwanted baby they’ve chosen to have) because of the stigma against abortion. Surely there are people who would be truly happier and better off if they had the complete freedom to choose abortion without enduring social pressure and consequences. (Also, saying you think something isn’t right isn’t the same as saying that it should be regulated against)

  43. Roni
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I think it’s important to note, while I support the mission of Planned Parenthood wholeheartedly, like any other medical setting the quality of the care can vary widely.
    The one I went to in high school was great, but the one I went to for a couple of years in college had a Dr. with the most brusque, unpleasant bedside manner I’ve encountered outside of the army.

  44. sangetencre
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I think she’s saying that some people wind up making decisions to continue a pregnancy that aren’t actually right for them (or arguably right for the unwanted baby they’ve chosen to have) because of the stigma against abortion.
    That’s what I got out of it.
    People make decisions and sometimes those decisions aren’t the best or wisest ones, objectively. And hindsight is 20-20.
    It doesn’t, however, mean they shouldn’t legally be allowed to make them. (To have choice.) And it doesn’t mean they should be punished by some paternal government figure for it.
    They have to live with whatever choice they make.
    We all do. Such is life.
    (Also, saying you think something isn’t right isn’t the same as saying that it should be regulated against)
    So much this.
    I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?
    That applies.
    I may not agree with the choices someone makes–though I probably won’t say anything to them unless asked or I feel there’s a dire need; there is such a thing as common courtesy, after all–but I will support their right to make that choice.

  45. Roni
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I think abortion doesn’t appear in many films not about abortion because from a writing stand point, it’s a whole lot of controversy for relatively little dramatic payoff, considering the end result is a lack of change. Plus, you’re going to be heavily criticized no matter what. The conflicting views in this thread, coming from a relatively homogeneous community compared to society at large, kind of illustrate that.
    If it’s portrayed as a BIG IMPORTANT DECISION it takes a big chunk out of the movie, propelling it into not terribly commercial serious drama territory. Many liberals will criticize it as anti-choice because abortion is portrayed as this traumatic, terrible ordeal. Conservatives will be upset it portrays abortion at all
    If it’s portrayed as no big deal, it’s kind of a pointless endeavor dramatically. Liberals will criticize it for trivializing the experiences of some women, and conservatives will freak right out.
    It’s not that I wouldn’t like to see abortion covered in more films, but I think for mainstream films, it can be a no-win situation.

  46. RevolutionarilySpeaking
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Okay, seriously where were ALL these comments about not bashing Juno, Knocked Up, etc. when we were discussing the movies at length? I thought I was out of my mind for thinking the screenwriters had the right to write whatever story they so desired; be it parenting, adoption, or abortion. I didn’t dare say it then, for fear of the backlash I might have received. But now, we have commenters coming out in droves saying they would have been different movies if they were about abortion.
    EXACTLY!
    And movies generally AREN’T realistic . . . who would want to watch a movie about a girl who gets pregnant, decides to abort . . . and NOTHING happens? she goes back to high school tomorrow? Wouldn’t that be utterly boring?

  47. alixana
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I hadn’t yet found Feministing yet when these movies came out! I was thinking while writing my defense of Juno that I wondered what the site had said about it back then. Sounds like it wasn’t very positive.
    And I think Roni is correct when she says that there would be a no-win situation if a movie treated abortion as a big, traumatic decision or as no big deal. I’d certainly like to see someone try to create such a movie, but I’m not going to demand that writers change the stories they originally intended to tell just to fill that hole.

  48. Posted February 19, 2009 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    As a former clinic worker, I should also note that a lot of the times the reasons patients are in there alone is because women’s health clinics have very strict security precautions and often don’t allow anybody but the patients to wait in the office. At the one I worked at, boyfriends, mothers etc. weren’t even allowed to chill in the building – the parking lot was filled with cars with people waiting in them.
    Rules like this are put in place so oh, you know, doctors don’t get shot and shit. It is sad and it makes for a less pleasant patient experience for sure, but you can blame the antis for that one – it’s security, hands down.
    And along with other commenters, I also didn’t like the whole “I was at Planned Parenthood – for another reason” comment.
    I can appreciate her support for pro-choice ideals, but I’m chalking this one up to “er, thanks for playing. Try again.”

  49. Kurumi & Cheese
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    That’s what I assumed too. And I share that view.
    Choice doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Someone has an unplanned pregnancy, very rationally weighs whether they are able to have a kid or want a kid right now, and does the thing they think is best, relating to the situation.
    But “choice” isn’t always a “choice.” Would so many women say, “I could never have an abortion, but it’s okay for other people” if they had never had the message shoved at them that abortion is awful, immoral, evil, and murderous? Obviously there is SOME reason why a woman would feel she could NEVER have an abortion. Some kind of guilt or shame that she would feel. I don’t know. My mom is one of those types. I tried to reason with her, saying she never could really know (that she would never have an abortion) unless she had ever been in that situation. But she insisted–although she never had unplanned pregnancies in her life–that she knew she would never have an abortion.
    I wonder why. I think for her, part of it is moral superiority–she thinks she’s by default better than anyone who’s had an abortion because she never had a bc failure. Therefore, anyone who has had one is stupid. Therefore, those who have abortions are stupid and inferior to her. Not kidding. So no one could ever convince me that choice means real CHOICE. For her it’s not a choice at all. And she told me when I was 11 that I would never be allowed an abortion. But she considers herself “pro-choice.” While she tried to degrade me by saying that if I ever needed an abortion I was just stupid anyway–only stupid people have abortions, etc. etc. I could see where someone in my situation might, if faced with an unplanned pregnancy, think, “Oh right, only stupid people have abortions and if I do, my mom will forever think I’m stupid, so I better not!!”
    Choice is tricky because even when it’s legally free, it’s not mentally free.

  50. Lisa
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    “Thank you! My frustration with movies like Juno or (especially) Knocked Up is twofold: first, they don’t represent realistic circumstances for most women or teenage girls.”
    So movies (particularly light-hearted comedies not hard-hitting dramatic pieces) don’t show the world in a realistic light? Really?! So, you’re trying to tell me that every high school student doesn’t fit narrowly into the categories of jock, popular girl, and geek? Or that people don’t wake up looking perfectly made up and with apparently no bad breath at all? What does that mean for TV? Next thing you know you’ll be telling me you couldn’t buy a studio apartment in NYC overlooking central park on a waitress salary.
    Of course they aren’t presented in a realistic way under the circumstances most women go through. It’s a movie. It would be one thing if it were a dramatic examination of teen pregnancy in the U.S., but it was a comedy. Writers have a right to shape their story the way they want to so long as it’s not sending an irresponsible message like, “Yay getting knocked up at 16 is all kittens and rainbows! Start popping out babies today, teenagers!”

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