Feminist Sociologist Says We Should Joke More About Abortion

Grace Carr | Reporter

A prominent feminist sociology professor argues that society should joke about abortions more to help change how culture views the procedure.

Sociologist Gretchen Sisson, a PhD professor at the University of California San Francisco, investigates how portrayals of abortion affect society’s broader understanding and acceptance (or lack thereof) in her project, “Abortion Onscreen.” Her research with Advancing New Standards In Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) focuses on how to best represent abortion and reproductive decision-making in popular culture, largely through movies and television.

In her article, “From Humor to Horror: Genre and Narrative Purpose In Abortion Stories On American Television,” Sisson investigates the appropriate treatment of the topic and examines whether abortions can be funny. She posits that, while abortions have historically been treated as dramatic and emotional experiences, presenting the procedures humorously may be more effective. She also says that abortion stories provide creative opportunities, according to the article’s abstract.

“The purpose of including an abortion plotline is simply to make jokes about abortion, recognizing that such satire is valuable for some people as both a means and an end,” Sisson said, according to Campus Reform. “This should not be surprising: comedy has often been used as a subversive way of challenging predominant social structures.”

Presenting abortion stories in a humorous fashion on screen will likely encourage women to come forward with their own similar stories and will spark society to become more accepting of what many consider to be a normal procedure, Sisson claims. She also studies the social constructions of parenthood, teen pregnancy, reproductive technologies, adoption and other related topics, according to her bio.

Her research and statements come after an Australian feminist professor argued that abortions can and should be regarded as no big deal, and even a happy experience. Abortion is “an everyday rather than extraordinary event, experienced by approximately one in three women,” University of Adelaide professor Erica Millar wrote in her book “Happy Abortions: Our Bodies In The Era Of Choice.” (RELATED: Abortions Should Be Celebrated, Professors Says In ‘Happy Abortions’ Book).

A device called SofTouch has also hit the market, allowing doctors to perform abortions in mere minutes, virtually removing all the burdens of conventional abortion methods.

Sisson did not reply to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for publication.


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