Saturday, June 07, 2008

"This is not a food baby, alright?"

Just to say that we finally watched Juno. After all the hype and the Oscars and the buzz and the Fox Searchlight release. And it was good. And giggly.

I won’t give anything away. Can‘t. There are no surprises--nothing happens at the end that hasn’t already been established right at the beginning. Nothing happens that you don’t think is the absolute best thing that could happen given the circumstances. But by the end of the movie you’ve let yourself debate so many options and viabilities that you’re damp from tears and the effort of choice. Choice is tough. Not just reproductive choice--any choice at all…

The female actors--best choices. Ellen Page is preternaturally gamine and self-assured despite the prosthetic pregnancy. And I enjoyed watching yuppie dunderheads jockeying for her approval--not just in the way dunderheads always seem to be courting the approval of those younger (= hipper) than themselves, but because it allowed Jennifer Garner‘s interpretation of “sterility” to scale additional semantic and existential planes.

After the non surprising end, Big A and I surprisingly discussed a topic we rarely discuss: Abortions. We partially disagree about nuance, although i have the feeling Big A is increasingly drifting towards me. From as far back as he can remember, Big A has been pro-choice. Or at least that’s what his google-able student profile on Medical Students for Choice indicates. From as far as I can remember, while I’ve assumed a woman’s right to an abortion, I’ve also always disagreed with the PSAs and billboards in India, where I grew up, promoting it as a method of family planning.

This is where I get to sound reactionary and backward--there is something miraculous about conception, about pregnancy, something utterly, incredibly, phenomenal about new life. I know that as a feminist and a liberal, ideology prompts me to say, “clump of cells” or “the fetus,” or "the embryo" instead of the more emotionally loaded word “the baby.” But you do know that whatever you call it, and however inconvenient, it is the enigmatic start of life and will soon recognizably become a baby, right? A baby. And then a person and then a whole new world of limitless possibility. And while I would never, ever wish for a de-legalization of abortion or third-party sanction or biblical-style punishment pregnancies, I do wish for aggressively promoted, infallible, inexpensive birth control systems. I’m going to do exactly as my mother did and assure my (putative) daughters that should they get pregnant by accident, I will arrange and accompany them to an abortion. But I would want them to be conscious that it is a solemn decision, not a rite of passage.



Anonymous said...

You don't sound reactionary and backwards. I tend to share your opinion, especially in regards to abortion as a frequent or routine method of family planning. But still. Legal.

Juno was better than I thought it would be. Funny, and sweet. Jennifer Garner was great.

maya said...

Legal. Amen, T.

sbr said...

I know that as a feminist and a liberal, ideology prompts me to say, “clump of cells” or “the fetus,” or "the embryo" instead of the more emotionally loaded word “the baby.”

Actually, no.... i don't think that being a feminist means you have to use such a nondescriptive term. and i agree with you 100% that there IS something breathtaking and miraculous about conception, new life-- the fact the from nothing comes a whole human being. just thinking about how my daughter got here makes me weepy.

it is possible to hold 2 seemingly contradictory views in balance. while we would all hope that every pregnancy was wanted, its not the world we live in. and i would rather live in a world where every CHILD was wanted because people could choose to terminate a pregnancy that wasn't.

of course, the way to get to a world where every pregnancy is wanted is to promote and fund comprehensive rproductive health education for boys and girls and make contraceptives available and affordable.

still, the most important thing i think we can do as a country is to trust women. (i know it sounds like a slogan, but i believe it) women should able to make whatever choice makes sense for their lives: birth, adoption, abortion, without pressure or politics.

maya said...

Couldn't agree with you more, KnK! I loved that post you did a couple of years ago!


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