Continuing the tradition of vile internet trolls hiding their misogyny behind “jokes” and “sarcasm,” douchebags are “joking” about crushing #ShoutYourAbortion founder Amelia Bonow’s head in a super-sensitive allusion to abortion. The Los Angeles Times, splashed the headline “Why the founder of #ShoutYourAbortion had to go into hiding,” announced she is getting death threats, and waxed poetic about how she is now the martyred face of the pro-choice movement. The article argues that Bonow is to abortion what Betty Ford was to both breast cancer and alcoholism, and what Katie Couric was to colon cancer. However, ignoring the dangerous and offensive equation of abortion and alcoholism, this analogy fails to recognize that neither woman became the face of a socially ostracizing medical procedure like abortion, and Bonow has made it clear she has no intention of being that face. In a response post on The Stranger blog, Bonow rejected the LA Times’ depiction of her situation, her story, and her centrality in the pro-choice movement at large:
This movement is a sea change. It is hundreds of thousands of voices. The power of this thing lies in #ShoutYourAbortion being entirely decentralized. Nobody is speaking for anyone but themselves, although some people are choosing to speak for the first time because they have been emboldened by others. And yes, I'm tough, but I'm not that brave—I did not even choose to put myself in this position. Sure, I'm going to run with it. But I am not an abortion doctor who walks through a crowd of protesters in order to get to work every day, I am not even someone like Lindy who has consciously chosen her career and accepted the risks. The only reason this thing sort of started with me is that I do not really give a fuck, which is not an implicitly righteous ethos. That initial post was just my usual not giving a fuck, and then we all decided to link arms and walk into a culture war together.ADVERTISEMENT
Bonow doesn’t deny that she left the city or that the violent comments left her feeling “deeply spooked,” but her larger point is that what the pro-choice movement needs is not a celebrity icon to rally behind, but rather a massive shift in the way we as a society talk about abortion. That shift, Bonow told BUST in a previous interview, must be away from the “internalized stigma” of abortion that she feels was the root of her “defaulting into silence” about what was, for her, an “incredibly positive experience.” Like one would happily talk about a successful surgery, a woman should be able to talk positively about her abortion without fear of social stigma.
The point of #ShoutYourAbortion is for women to reclaim their public space to speak about their lives, and by its nature it must be a democratic movement. The thrilling image of a high-speed chase by misogynist villains after a morally superior political activist is a distraction from the larger “sea change” that Bonow is a part of.
Images via Amelia Bonow, Facebook
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Taia is a fabulous human who is working and writing in New York City. She writes about politics, reproductive rights, and pop culture. When not writing she likes to sleep, read Carl Sagan, and do as many squats as her legs can handle. Follow her on Twitter @taiahandlin and Facebook as Taia Handlin.