Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where is the pop culture?

Last week at the fabulous Words of Choice performance, an audience member was speaking about his time as a TV writer, and how difficult it was to even mention the word abortion in a script.

And that got me thinking -- why is it so rare to see stories about abortion (unless they're cautionary tales that is) in mainstream pop culture?

Penny Lane, the creator of the great documentary The Abortion Diaries has a wonderful resource up on her site: a timeline of when abortion has been mentioned in pop culture. And it's pretty rare! Or at least pretty rare when the character considering an abortion doesn't a) change her mind or b) have something horrible and life-threatening happen to her.

For me, it's a no-brainer that there's so much stigma attached to the issue when we can't even talk about it in the mainstream media. But what do you think? Why are networks so afraid of presenting the procedure when it doesn't have dire consequences?


Jo said...

I think it has a lot to do simply with the need for conflict and drama.

A character who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant but peacefully has an abortion and moves on with her life doesn't make good t.v.

In a similar vein, when was the last time you saw a safe, happy, or natural birth portrayed on t.v.? Women are always sweaty, manic, and screaming in agony (even when doped up with an epidural), taking swings at their partners, laying horizontal in a hospital bed with their feet and stirrups and 600 people staring into their crotch, hooked up to monitors, i.v.'s, and other contraptions, and -- more often than not -- whisked away for last-minute emergency c-section or other life saving procedure. Oh, the drama!

A healthy, happy birth is just as boring as a a woman having a safe, guilt-free abortion, sadly.

Erica said...

That's definitely a good point. I still wonder though, how much it has to do with avoiding conflict...