Feminism / Films

No Sweet Child O’ Mine: Film ‘Obvious Child’ Features Pro-Choice Message

So there’s been a lot of dialogue here at Opinioness of the World about abortion lately.  And I plan to keep it going!  But this time, in a more lighthearted way.

My fellow blogger (and dear friend!) Sarah at My Ideas Is Just Better introduced me to the quirky, funny and delightful film Obvious Child. (Thanks, Sarah, my feminist partner in crime!)  In short, the 20-minute film is “a romantic comedy about an unplanned pregnancy, an abortion, and a great first date in an unlikely location.”  But Obvious Child is much more as it reveals a spunky woman (Jenny Slate, SNL) dealing with a very real situation in a sweet and tender way.

Gillian Robespierre, the film’s director and co-writer, told feminist website The FBomb,

“After seeing so many films featuring unplanned pregnancies that end in childbirth (Juno, Knocked Up, Waitress, Bella, to name a few), we had become disenchanted with the representation of young women’s experience with becoming pregnant in the media today. While we have enjoyed these films, we have also been greatly unnerved by the ways in which filmmakers (and our culture more generally) have represented the issue of abortion, making it a silent enemy, a choice not to be made. We’d been waiting to see a film in which a woman makes the other choice – and there’s still a happy ending.

Young women need to know that abortion is a responsible choice to make when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. In writing this film, we also wanted to make feminism more mainstream and accessible. We believe more people are feminists than they realize…”

From one feminist to another, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

5 thoughts on “No Sweet Child O’ Mine: Film ‘Obvious Child’ Features Pro-Choice Message

  1. I thought this was a cute short, and I agree that abortion, especially as a positive choice, is underrepresented in movies & TV. But I don’t think this film is the one, or the kind, to break the ground for us. I am definitely pro-choice–let’s get that out of the way. But there were a couple of things I didn’t like about this movie.
    The only thing I found sweet about this movie was the mother-daughter exchange, and that was actually a little too perfect–it certainly wouldn’t go that way with my mother! But the film is only 20 minutes, and I’m sure there are some mothers out there like the one in the movie, so that’s fine.
    But in general, I thought the main character was to flip about everything. I don’t feel like abortion still needs to be associated with a young single woman dealing with the aftermath of a drunken one-night stand with subpar birth control. That just plays into the hands of anti-choicers and their morality arguments. And even pro-choice women may not want that association. Abortion CAN be a responsible choice, so why not show more responsible people making it?

  2. I am pro-choice because I feel like we should all have a options but this movie left me thinking about how someone suffered b/c of a drunken, stupid, mistake. Both people should have been more responsible and while that might be a moral judgment, it’s my opinion. People shouldn’t willingly engage in actions when they can’t accept the consequences.

    Also, I thought this girl was taking this WAY too lightly. I have supported more than 1 friend with an abortion and I have never seen it go down like this. It actually made me sick to watch.

  3. I remember this short under it’s original title: Hipsters make hard choices.

    The romantic in me, enjoyed the “boy meets girl” aspect, though i found the female lead’s hat, distracting.
    It was sweet how it all came together, at the end, though.

    For a very well done abortion sequence in film, check out “Fastimes at Ridgemont High.”
    When Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character comes from the clinic, and her brother, Judge Reinhold, is waiting by the car, saying, “Since when have you liked to bowl?”, there’s a realness & tenderness to that scene.

    He knows something is up with his sister, but he’s also there for her, and he’s not judgemental.

  4. @Sarah & Bartender, thank you both for your comments! I see both of your points about Jenny Slate’s character taking the abortion decision lightly. True, she made a careless choice by having a drunken one-night stand. But so have many people. I’m not justifying her actions, but I did enjoy that this was an honest representation of a real situation. Not all women who have abortions do so as a result of rape or sexual assault, nor do all women necessarily agonize over the decision. Having said that, I agree with Sarah and wish there were more diverse stories being told on the subject.

    While this may not be the best representation of a woman choosing an abortion, there isn’t a universal representation as all women feel differently about it, even those who’ve chosen to have one. I truly adored this film for its romance, feminism, humor and candor but what I love even more is that it opens the abortion discourse, getting us to share our thoughts on the subject.

    @Julian, your comments are always humorous and insightful!

    • Very good points, Opinioness.

      In the end, we are all different & have varying reactions to the difficulties that affect our lives.
      While one woman might feel pangs of guilt or extreme sadness over a situation like this, others are probablly okay with their decision & able to move on more readily.
      I think Slate’s character falls into the latter category, and this short gives us her perspective.

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