Revolutionary-RoadCan we use pop culture to normalize abortion? (I don’t mean we should get pop-culture to feature abortion. Many movies and TV series already do. But very often they reflect the stigma in the society, and make abortion seem like a dramatic life-changing experience in the life of the woman)

But what if we step back and look at why abortions might be considered life-altering in the first place? Does it not have something to do with the fact that a woman is supposed to feel guilty that she could not prevent the unwanted pregnancy in the first place, and that she must have made some mistake if she is pregnant, and facing a choice between motherhood and abortion.

abortion and pregnancyWhat if we instead created prototypes that help women walk into clinics and confidently ask to terminate an unwanted pregnancy? Can we alter the attitude of the society so that such a demand would provoke little reaction from the staff of a hospital, or the people in the life of the woman? Can a woman speak out loud when she asks for an abortion as she might if her hand were broken and she needed someone to set the bones for her? In other words, can we make abortion seem like just another experience in a woman’s life?

This idea came to me this morning, when I was reading a post on the Good Man Project, about DC Comics’ (famous for its superheroes) new creations Batgirl, who is lesbian and a still-to-be-named transsuperhero. If we can get our children to read these books even when they are young will they grow up believing that the entire spectrum of sexuality is normal? Will they stop looking startled if a woman walked in with her female lover, or a man decided he was a she after all? Will bullying stop, and peer pressure to fall into heteronormative boxes come to an end?

Maybe. After all, when we were kids, didn’t Superman reinforce the idea that you need to be super-brawny and super-brainy (and super-masculine) to save the world? Didn’t Wonder Woman make young women feel empowered?

Now what would a superhero for abortion do? Planned Parenthood is one step ahead really, and has created an animated short-film featuring, Dianisis, a superwoman who protects choices. She challenges conservative politicians and teaches teenagers that “safe is sexy.” (This was released to mixed reactions!)

imageBut what if the superwoman for abortion did not just protect choice or tackle anti-choice groups to facilitate abortions for an ordinary woman? What if she had an abortion herself? In fact we don’t even need a new superhero for this. Wonder Woman or Catwoman could need an abortion, take the abortion pills and then continue to save the world.

Would such inclusion of abortion into popular culture make women feel less guilty about abortion? Would it make them believe that life could go on as before? Would it also reinforce the idea that any woman can need an abortion, even a superhero who might be super-careful about contraceptives?

In other words, would such inclusion normalize abortion?