Has Jon Stewart become a flaming feminist? After a week of watching his killer segments skewering the GOP’s “War on Women,” I’m wondering if his seeming conversion is indicative of a larger turning point, if the Republicans, after a full year of assaults on reproductive rights, have finally crossed the line that gets people on the sidelines to speak up.
When I was just starting to write feminist blog posts, I wrote one complaining about the lack of genuine, women-focused discussion of reproductive rights in “dude” political culture, particularly on “The Daily Show.” While Stewart’s and similar shows tackled war and torture, gay rights and religion, I felt there was a squeamishness which curtailed discussion of abortion and women’s sexuality — and too much fawning respect for male authority figures who oppose women’s rights. Stewart’s weak interview with Mike Huckabee, in which he failed to effectively refute Huckabee’s points on abortion, exemplified this.
Then 2010 Irin Carmon, in an epic moment of reporting, blew the lid off the guy-centric culture at the beloved late night comedy news show. Her piece in Jezebel contained interviews with former employees who revealed that the onscreen “bro” culture was reflective of the shows inner workers: “behind the scenes, numerous former female staffers tell us that working there was often a frustrating and alienating experience.”
I’ve thought about ultrasounds a lot throughout my pregnancy. I had my first one at five weeks. The doctor showed me a tiny black circle inside a larger white circle and said it was my baby. At eight weeks, the black and white image morphed into a head and body. I cried when I heard the heartbeat. By 10 weeks, I could see a head, two hands, and two feet. At 12 weeks, I was sent for a special 4D screening. There, I could see a video of the fetus’ whole body squirming around. I could even see it sucking its thumb. And, at the end, I was given the option of taking home a DVD to share with friends and family.
The point of that screening was to determine if there were any major medical problems with the baby, the unsaid point being that it would still be early enough to terminate the pregnancy.
I’ve always been fervently pro-choice. I was dragged to rallies Washington, D.C. before I even understood how babies were made. But here I was confronted with images of my own fetus — my baby! — and I started to wonder if I would ever have been able to go through with an abortion, after all.