Pop Culture Doesn’t Put Abortion In a Corner: Abortion in Iconic Films and TV Shows
As the Roe 40th anniversary approaches, I’ve been reflecting on pop culture and what it tells us about how people feel about the issue of abortion. And, I’ve concluded, I think it reflects reality pretty well.
There seems to be a wide-spread assumption that Hollywood believes that abortion is too “dangerous” an issue to talk about. There have been myriads of articles about this that question why movies and television don’t show more women deciding to have a procedure that we know approximately one-third of women will have in their lifetimes.
Here’s the thing - the assumptions underlying this whole debate miss a really important point. There are many examples of films and TV shows that have proved that addressing abortion does not instantly turn a film into “box office poison.” There are both recent and older examples of films and shows that have succeeded – some amazingly – that included abortion storylines.
Although most of you readers may be able to name some recent examples pretty easily (like Ides of March, Grey’s Anatomy and Girls) what you might not realize is that there are several iconic films and TV shows that most people don’t even connect with the issue of abortion – even though they contained an abortion storyline. Here are my top 4:
So, you may be wondering why I think pop culture’s treatment of this issue is an accurate reflection of how society feels about abortion. Just as there’s a perception that Hollywood doesn’t make movies about abortion because it is “dangerous,” there is also an assumption that abortion is “controversial” – it certainly is on our list of most debated political issues.
And, just as this list shows that people are more than happy to watch movies and TV shows that include abortion, the reality is that most Americans are happy to live in a society that includes it. In fact, they prefer it -- most Americans believe that abortion should be legal. At the end of the day, the perception of how people supposedly feel about abortion and how they actually feel about it are quite different.
So, to the other pop-culture geeks out there – here is my suggestion for celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Roe. Pick two to five of the TV shows or movies from this blog, invite some friends over, make some popcorn and have a Roe Anniversary film festival. I’d love to hear which ones you picked.
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