Regular readers of the blog probably know that the dearth of pop culture depictions of abortion is big cause of mine. Though in recent years there have been some realistic and complex abortion storylines on Friday Night Lights and Grey’s Anatomy, it’s still pretty rare to see a character get an abortion in Hollywood–and often those who do will ”pay for [the] choice in some negative way.”
That’s why the short film Obvious Child released in 2009 was such a breath of fresh air. Starring the hilarious Jenny Slate, the rom com set in Brooklyn told the story of a lady who has a one-night stand, discovers she’s pregnant, and gets an abortion. And–shocker of shockers!–she is A-ok in the end. Director Gillian Robespierre, who wrote the film with two friends, explained their motivation:
We were frustrated by the limited representations of young women’s experience with pregnancy, let alone growing up. We were waiting to see a more honest film, or at least, a story that was closer to many of the stories we knew. We weren’t sure how long that wait was going to be, so we decided to tell the story ourselves.
Now the short has been expanded into a feature-length film that’s premiering at Sundance next month. If you want to support it, you can donate to their Kickstarter to ensure their final post-production costs are covered. (If you give $10, you can check out the original short, which is really very funny.) Even if you can’t give much, becoming a backer–and spreading the word about the film–is a good way to show that there is a demand out there for a movie like this.
Especially since the political environment makes telling real abortion stories difficult, movies and television have real power to challenge “the single story” of abortion and offer more diverse representations of this incredibly common experience. How great would it be to see a film that’s been dubbed the “anti-Juno“ in a theater near you?
Maya Dusenbery‘s own abortion story was also set in Brooklyn in 2009.