Saturday, February 27, 2010

Media Circus

Um, is it me or did the world just kinda flip its lid? Every other email calls me a whore* or a hero. An ABC News team was here a couple days ago, and the piece should air on tomorrow night's news (2/28/2010). I've done interviews, plural. A guy from the St. Pete Times talked to me for over an hour yesterday, and I'll be the lead in a larger piece on the TMI question regarding social media. (If you don't wanna read it, don't read it. Just like the rest of the internet. Why is this so hard to grasp?)

I don't think it's right to call me a hero. I think there was a lot more naivety than heroism in my initial decision to tweet this. It wasn't even that conscious of a choice - I tweet everything. I write about everything. The rewards of honesty, in terms of a personal sense of "wholeness", can't be adequately described. No one can hurt me because, everything they know is something I chose to reveal about myself. No matter what they do with that (including writing a so-far 7 post long series decrying me as an evil mentally disturbed skank, ala Jill Staneck, she in desperate need of a good lay) it's not... real.

Once I realized that taking the advice of a bunch of middle-aged unhappy divorced women (ahem, "family") on whether or not I should get married at 23 was a really stupid thing to do, I started to consider the source of feedback more seriously. There are some people in this world who's good opinion I desire - they are my son, my boyfriend, my friends (Christian, atheist, Muslim, Wiccan or Satanist). Even there, my two closest girlfriends are both somewhat troubled by my decision to abort - one because she is pregnant herself right now, and has decided to give her life a complete makeover to prepare for a child she never planned on having; the other because she is an orphan, and has always craved family. I can't fault either of them for their discomfort with my decision, and both have remained supportive to me personally, if perhaps a little distant right now.

This entire reaction has been so out-of-proportion and insane. I've written about illegal drug use, sex, spousal abuse, child abuse, crazy cult stories, personal foibles and failings, and most of all, I've talked smack about Baby Jesus. Yet the reaction was minimal. People might tell me I was misunderstanding the Bible, or else that I was going to hell, but no one suggested I should be physically hurt for my views.

Maybe coming out as an atheist, and longer ago as bisexual, set me up for false expectations. I didn't see this as being more controversial. I know several pro-choice Christians, and I assumed more people were pro-choice than atheist, for example. Abortions are really common, right? And a first trimester abortion, to save the life of the mother, that's supposed to be the kind that every reasonable person supports, right?

Wrong. Apparently I'm a murderer, a killer, a Nazi, Hitler (also, from another "prolife" advocate, I'm apparently a "dirty jew"[stet].) I've been told I made my choice when I "opened my legs", "dint giv him the brown hole[stet]" or "have dude cum on youre ugly face". People threatened my son, insulted him, called me a child abuser and told me I don't love my kid. (One threatened to call child services, under the mistaken impression, one supposes, that abortion is illegal, or child abuse.)

When people say I'm a hero for talking about this, I think they assume I knew what I was getting into. I didn't. Maybe it's because I only really started watching the news during the presidential campaign, and since the election ended, I've only watched sporadically, but I didn't expect this. I knew some people would call me a baby killer, sure. But for the first two days, before I put up my Abortion YouTube video**, I didn't think I was talking to anybody I didn't always talk to.

The media attention has been somewhat overwhelming. I'm just doing something women do everyday. Abortions aren't rare, and when they're legal, they're safe. Maybe it's because I'd spent the days leading up to my clinic visit reading, but I honestly didn't realize that *no one* talks about their abortions. It's been pretty baffling to me, considering how many illegal things people can and do talk about every day.

I've been compared to an antebellum slave owner, a Nazi soldier, a pedophile, and a god. All because I said, "Hey, I don't wanna be pregnant anymore. I'm gonna have a (legal) abortion."

Maybe I'm naive or maybe I just can't tap into black-and-white thinking anymore like I used to. I still can't completely get my head around why people flipped their lids like this. The media are acting like what makes this story interesting is the setting, Twitter. They're missing the point. If women talked about their abortions - on TV and in books and in women's magazines and with each other, and with our significant others and friends and children - then tweeting one wouldn't be a big deal. When people say, "You shouldn't tweet about an abortion" I can't help but feel what they really mean is, "You shouldn't talk about abortion."

* Well, actually they usually write it WHORE!!
** Since I posted this video 5 days ago, it's had over 49,000 views. What is going on with the world? 1/3 American women have abortions.

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