On Unexpected Pregnancy, In Film

First came Knocked Up, then came Juno, and now, Obvious Child which I wrote about this week on Mom.me. 

When I first started this blog, it was assumed that because I kept my unplanned pregnancy, I was not pro-choice. There is an assumption that women who support choice are not mothers themselves—certainly not young, unexpected ones.

And I know that many of you disagree with me. You disagree for religious reasons or personal reasons and while I respect that, I also feel it is more important to stand behind what I BELIEVE than it is to sit quietly and say nothing, --which is what I almost did after seeing this movie and wanting to write about it and then being, like, "Wait. Is this going to bum people out? Is this going to hit a nerve? Is this going to create too much conflict?" Never mind. 

And then I read this, in Cassavetes on Cassavetes, which I am currently reading, and after underlining the passage, highlighting it, circling it and tattooing it to the side of my body, I was like, WHOA, HOLD ON, WAIT A MINUTE, WHUT? It applies to filmmaking for sure, but also to life and being a human person who has relationships with others, specifically competitive ones:

"Television isn't crap, it isn't. It is only if it's handled badly. The theater is not dead. It is only if it's handled by people who don't love it... Theater throughout the country is not dead. It's really there -- even in California! There are little theaters all over the place! Movies are not dead. The artists in our business have to be encouraged! And if somebody says to you, "Ah, I don't know. This picture's not going to make money" or "That play's never going to make it," you've got to attack them!... Because they will only get away with that social custom if you don't protect your art. And if you don't, next year you will come into a dead business and you're gonna suffer. Find the people that you want to emulate and support them. No matter where they are and what form of art -- whether it's music or anything. Support them because they are later on going to be your support -- by keeping the thing alive..." - John Cassavetes 

The unfortunate truth is that there are very few people out there REALLY going for it - risking all to portray women honestly and articulately, and they need our support -- otherwise feminism becomes a word banned by Time magazine and female-made female-centric stories become as obsolete as they... well... already are. 

"Obvious Child" is a love story. It’s a romantic comedy about humans doing human things to each other and getting into human predicaments—a film about a twenty-something woman/comic (played by Jenny Slate who is incredible) who gets pregnant via a one-night stand and knows immediately that she wants to terminate her pregnancy. She isn’t ready to be a mother and that’s okay. She knows it’s okay. And her friends support her and her mother supports her and even though the situation is shit, she steps confidently onto the stage, in front of an audience of strangers, and tells her story with sarcasm and grace, wavering between confidence and vulnerability on behalf of the millions of women who have been shamed into silence and must tip-toe in and out of their appointments out of fear—alone, isolated, and confined.

So, yes! Let's hear it for the girls! Let's hear it for the mamas and the not-ready-to-be-mamas and the voices and bodies of those who have lived in shame for FAR TOO LONG.

ED: As I write this, I am realizing that this post is becoming a sort of continuation of Thursday's post, and while I promise to take it down a notch, tomorrow and the next day, I wanted to go here (again), because I feel that so much is being overlooked these days because of projected agenda... Because EVERY STORY is important, even the ones that express a different idea of opinion than the one we possess via our own experiences.

Everything is offensive. That is clear. But the most offensive thing of all is the personal projection of me on you and you on me and them on us and us on them, etc. To seek out and support the people and projects that allow women to be women -- flawed, real, NUANCED humans with voices and experiences that may or may not differ from our own--and to come together with these stories to better understand each other and ourselves -- would be the goal in a perfect world. (In mine, anyway.)

Because while "privacy" and "secrecy" and "silence" have a place and should be respected, acknowledged and adhered to, they have never motivated anyone outside of themselves. And trying to shut women up by shutting them down is an antiquated concept that must be flipped the bird. WE ARE HERE TO SHARE OUR STORIES. To tell them, to hear them, to pass them on. To listen and learn from each other's choices, ideas, experiences... and to grow our own ideas from there.
You can read more of my column, here, and go rent Obvious Child on VOD. It's great.