Cultures of Abortion and the Female Fetish: Popular Culture, Abortion, and Political Imagery in post 9-11 America

Babic, A. (no date). Cultures of Abortion and the Female Fetish: Popular Culture, Abortion, and Political Imagery in post 9-11 America: Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution.
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TitleCultures of Abortion and the Female Fetish: Popular Culture, Abortion, and Political Imagery in post 9-11 America
AuthorsA. Babic
AbstractThe 2013 Democratic Texas senator Wendy Davis made national headlines with her eleven hour filibuster to delay the passage of a Texas bill dismantling abortion clinics, and as such, access throughout the state. Among the many points of the law, part of it stated that the Morning After Pill must be administered by a doctor and all abortions must be performed within an ambulatory care facility (i.e. a full-fledged hospital). Davis’s stand is certainly not the longest filibuster in history, but its purpose captures the essence of the moment aptly. The Roe v Wade decision theoretically protected a woman’s right to an abortion, but it did not mandate access. Thus, in a de facto grassroots manner local and state legislatures are aggressively finding creative ways to dismantle not only Roe v Wade but women’s choices in general. As abortion rights are being legally chipped away in the United States, Hollywood has emerged as a platform for the vocalization of concern. Contemporary films such as Revolutionary Road (2008), The Cider House Rules (1999),Vera Drake (2004), among others, are increasingly challenging the erosion of abortion rights in the United States by conveying the horrors and social, racial, and sexual injustices of the criminal period. These films, primarily set in thepost-World War II period (but before Roe),serve as forms of protest reminding audiences of life during the illegal period. In Revolutionary Road the abortion subject takes on the form of suicide, the loss of a dreamer, and the imagery of abortion is juxtaposed against the backdrop the traditional and ideal family. While the movies here show a counter to illegal access, clips of fetuses with an overlapped laughing baby infiltrating television shows (one example, The Drew Carey Show) permeate with a clear message of pro-life. Thus, this discursive debate demands a critical examination as the access and defining of women’s bodies remains a topic at large with legislative mandates serving as portals of fetish desire and regulation.
Noteabortion, feminism, access, women’s rights, popular culture