Thank you, Chelsea Handler, for showing the world in a blip of a moment that I’m sure went relatively unnoticed, that abortion does not equate an evil person, nor a cursed life, nor does it need be swept under the rug as some shameful thing of which you should never forgive yourself; But rather, in this “blip of a moment that I’m sure went relatively unnoticed” (yes, I just quoted myself, I’m allowed to) she showed that it can actually be (and often is) something that just happened to occur in a woman’s life, it was no doubt a difficult choice and an emotionally charged tribulation, but a tribulation surmounted nonetheless, and guess what- a woman’s life can actually continue successfully after having had an abortion.
I saw this interview on Conan the other night (& the exact moment to which I am referring is at about 2:37) and in this brief moment all I could think was, “Whoa…holy crap. Bravo, Chelsea Handler.”
Not for having had an abortion, of course. Who ever says “hooray” or “bravo” with regard to abortion? In spite of what many Republican/ Conservative/ Pro-lifers may think, NO ONE, that’s who. I immediately thought this because she was brave enough to admit that she had gone through it, yet she also demonstrated that this one act need not (and does not) define her as a person, nor did it curse her life, and moreover, she knows, like many women out there, that it was the right decision for her. No apologies. No regrets.
Another reason this thought immediately popped into my head is because, well… Have you ever thought about, or noticed, how abortion is portrayed by Hollywood (i.e. the dominant media- one of the most influential shapers of society & therefore us, as individuals)? Or conversely, have you ever noticed how it is not?
A few examples… and maybe you’ll see what I see:
Dirty Dancing: botched abortion, she almost dies
If These Walls Could Talk: abortion = death
Citizen Ruth: abortion avoided! (she miscarries)
Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her: abortion = depression & eternal loneliness
High Fidelity*** (this one merits more discussion below)
Sex and the City (the series): abortion avoided! Miranda changes her mind
Knocked Up: “the A word” is never actually spoken
Juno: abortion avoided! Juno changes her mind
Revolutionary Road: abortion = death
Are you seeing a pattern here?
Not that abortion should be glorified, nor should it be trivialized, but there aren’t really any movies out there that deal with it in a realistic and honest way. For example, perhaps in a way that demonstrates that a woman can come to this difficult decision, make that choice, but ultimately get through it and go on living a “normal” and successful life. (something that I believe actually occurs more often than the dominant media would have us believe)
***High Fidelity, however, is an exception. Which just brings me back to this blip of honesty and candor brought to us by Chelsea Handler…
High Fidelity is the only movie (that I can think of presently) that actually addresses abortion in a real and honest way. Audrey Fisch sums it up best in her salon.com article:
“High Fidelity,” in a context free of dogma and high drama, represents Laura’s abortion as a brief moment of crisis that does not doom her to eternal unhappiness. In fact, the film gives Laura and Rob a happy ending. That is radical. When has a movie ever suggested that a woman can have an abortion and move on with her life?… “High Fidelity,” with its brief depiction of Laura’s abortion as distressing but surmountable, actually delivers the more radical message that abortion doesn’t have to be the stuff of tragic melodrama. It can be, and often is, simply one compelling anecdote in the overall narrative of life.
So I repeat: Chelsea Handler, thank you for demonstrating in this millisecond moment that abortion need not be “the stuff of tragic melodrama,” but rather, can be a choice made by a woman that can be “simply one compelling anecdote in the overall narrative of life.”