Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Train wrecks and other revolutions

I was going to post today about something Ron Silliman posted today on his blog--I was interested in aspects of his post that he was probably not interested in.  He wrote about film and poetry and Williams and more--but his post concerned exegesis of a Romanian film about abortion and its consequences.  Anyone interested can click through and read it.

What interested me was how the male gaze, both Silliman's and the film director's, make metaphor of abortion and abortion rights.  The film is set in the Ceau┼čescu regime in 1987.  I can't analyze this tonight because I haven't had time to think all of it through, but it seems as though abortion rights are justly made heroic, in part because it is a rebellion against a patriarchal state.  I.e., abortion is a small subversive act against the state that symbolizes a certain freedom.  

And I thought that that is the root of abortion rights in the U.S., but since we are a free country, how can that act continue to be a symbol of freedom?  Not when the alternative, having the child in a free society continues to be, ironically and unjustly, forced submission to patriarchy.  The problem in our country, as I see it (perhaps imperfectly this evening) is that abortion is sometimes championed as a freedom as a distraction because no one wants to address or rectify the underlying social issues that contribute to a sort of female oppression that doesn't really have to exist.  Why can't one have a child (as a female parent in a free society) and enjoy equal access to the pursuit of happiness and equal access to jobs and equal pay?

But I spent a chunk of my day being distracted by and watching the train wreck of this news story from  If you want to understand how visceral and deep hatred toward the disabled and the people who care for them (particularly mothers) goes in our society, just read the comment stream on this article.  If it had been a father caring for the disabled boy on the plane, my hunch is that the story would have had a somewhat different outcome.

1 comment:

Ron said...

Where in my piece did I suggest -- even remotely -- that obtaining an abortion was heroic? Taking risks to ensure that they're safe & legal can be, but it's a very different statement. I actually write "every abortion itself is a tragedy of bad choices & poor planning."

I do think that women should be in control of their bodies -- in matters of sex, pregnancy, their careers. If you leave it to the state, invariably you get these decisions being made by men for men. That seems pretty clear.