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January 16, 2008

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Emily

Many, many feminists have a problem with this movie, and disagree with the notion that sexual license MUST go hand-in-hand with treating girls as equally important and allowing them maximum opportunity and life choices. They bang on about it all the time :o). Having actually READ a lot of feminist works I am not suprised in the least to hear Brumberg's thoughts... there's a fair bit of feminist-bashing on this site that seems to stem from ignorance of the breadth of the field of enquiry, and just how much of it dovetails with the sentiments expressed on this very blog (heaps). I wonder if it's a tendency to dimiss out-of-hand anything that smells a little leftist? I think it's a pity, because people expressing a concern for girls and querying this oversexualisation, and indeed actively developing strategies to combat it, should really be allies. I'm not religious, but many of the posts here from religious people serve to strengthen my belief that modesty is a darned good idea for everybody. Am I going to go out and get baptised tomorrow? No. But I don't go around thinking 'Wow, religious people- who would have thought they'd be so into ensuring GIRLS are given every chance to develop fulfilled, happy lives?"

But anyway, yeah, the movie... The idea that the problem of teenage sex isn't really a problem because the consequences can be dealt with on a funky adventure is a really pernicious one. There does not seem to be any suggestion that there will be any long-term regrets or repercussions in the young girl's life and that it was just and unfortunate accident which was a little messy but got squared away in the end, no harm no foul. The young woman who wrote the screenplay spent a year as a stripper and wrote a book/blog about it and has been interviewed in a lot of newspapers about the film and the fact her agent discovered her blog while surfing for porn, and the whole view on sex is dispiriting in the extreme. She's nobody I'd want my teenage girl- or anyone- taking advice on with regard to human relations.

Mandi

Slightly off topic, but I thought that during this scene

"....when Juno tells her father about her condition, and he shakes his head in disappointment and says, 'I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when.'

the more poignant line was directly after this, when Juno replies "I don't really know what kind of girl I am."

mary o'hayes

Emily, thanks for your comments. You're right, there's a tendency to bash feminists here (I've done so myself many a time). You wrote: "...people expressing a concern for girls and querying this oversexualisation, and indeed actively developing strategies to combat it, should really be allies." You are so right! I don't know how to overcome the divide, but it's a great idea.

Thanks also for the background on the screenwriter. That's sort of creepy. I had no idea.

A different Mandi

I have so many things I could say about this. First I'd like to say that I find the term "placing for adoption" a much more positive term versus "giving up" -- birthmoms aren't giving their children up...they are giving them more. As someone who works with women who have chosen abortion and those who have chose adoption I can tell you with 100% confidence that adoption is ALWAYS the better choice. Tell my 16 yo client who's parents forced her to have an abortion and now she still has a postive pregnancy test 2 weeks later and has been bleeding heavily the whole time and SCARED TO DEATH -- that the abortion has made her better off. I'm just hoping they didn't puncture her uterus.

Michelle Therese

How come the feminists always push for us to be so much like men and to achive alongside the men in the mens' circles? Why can't we just be *women* and achive as women in womens' circles?? What's wrong with that? Why isn't it good enough for me to be a sucessful Housewife and Shepherdess? Why do I only gain esteem if I'm climbing the corporate ladder alongside the men? We are not men - we are women!!

Emily

Michelle Therese, read broadly among the work of 'the feminists' and you will see that many of them make no such push. I'm one of 'the feminists' and I personally see nothing wrong with your goals or why you ought to lose anyone's esteem because of them. I don't share your goals but... so what, really? We can both do what we want :o) Choosing how to live is a lovely thing.
As far as circles go... well, I'd think that women's talents really should be put to use in areas that up to now have been only done by males- the more brains/perspectives applied to any given problem the better solutions we can come up with I would think. Maybe the circles need to be widened. Running a household as you do, you know a darn sight more than many people about those particular issues. That's a womans perpective and you ought to be heard.

R.B.

Mary writes,

You're right, there's a tendency to bash feminists here (I've done so myself many a time) [...] I don't know how to overcome the divide, but it's a great idea.

I'm not sure whether you mean this seriously. If you do, here are a few concrete suggestions:

1) Don't go around bashing feminists.
2) Object to sexism, even if the sexism is practiced by someone who is not a "leftist".
3) Learn something about feminism! This will help you to engage with actual feminists, rather than the stereotype of feminists that you have in your head. A good intro women's studies class would probably be really helpful. But at the very least, you could check out the feminism 101 blog. Maybe one of your other readers could suggest a good introductory book?
4) When you encounter a feminist (even a feminist who is criticizing you), try to understand the point they're making instead of trying to shoot them down. Wendy's recent dealings with Heather Corinna would have been much smoother if she had remembered this. (I don't mean to be personal, but it is the obvious example that springs to mind.)

I think if you make a good-faith effort to follow steps 1-4, you'll find feminists a lot more willing to engage with you.

L.B.

Michelle Therese,

I'm not sure exactly what your comment has to do with this post, or with "Juno." I find your comment troubling because it implies that being a woman means ONLY being a housewife and a shepherdess? What if I am a woman and I want to be the best librarian I can be, or the best mother or dog breeder or diner owner? What feminists do you know who only want women to hvae corporate careers?

Heather  Carson

Wow. Rarely do I see the trauma of abortion acknowledged as it is here in this article:
It is an invasive and frightening procedure, and for some adolescent girls it constitutes part of their first gynecological exam. I know grown women who’ve wept bitterly after abortions, no matter how sound their decisions were.

I wrote about post-abortion trauma a few years ago:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/h-carson2.html

mary o'hayes

RB, been there, done that.

I went to Smith College in Northampton MA the late 70's, was active in feminist groups (got sick of the radical lesbos in charge of the feminist groups there), read the early feminists, started a girls' track team in my high school (there were only boys' track team in the early 70's), was a member of NOW for years. But I've seen the light, and I'm not going back. Feminism has devolved into an "ism" characterized by a sense that women are always victims, disrespect for men and masculinity, and a rather strict conformity in thinking. So Emily's List will provide seed money to Democratic women candidates who support unrestricted abortion, but not to any Republican or pro-life women candidates.

As Lou Dobbs said recently in discussing the Clinton/Obama race/sex spectacle, "group and identity politics have outlived their effectiveness and that pandering to socio-ethnocentric interest groups and special interests ....has no rightful place in 21st century American politics." It's time to get past feminism, in my mind.

R.B.

Well, if that's the way you feel, then your comments about wanting to find common ground with feminists seem pretty disingenuous. If you believe that sexism isn't real, and anyone who says otherwise is a radical man-hating lesbo, then I don't really see how any kind of respectful conversation is possible here.

I will leave aside the comment about how feminists should be funding pro-lifers, because jeesh, where to even start.

Patty

I realize no one wants a movie review here, but I'm wondering if all the bashers of "Juno" actually saw it.....I did not feel the ending portrayed a "carefree return to adolescence" but a bittersweet acceptance of the nobler (and morally superior) choice of giving their child up for adoption...there is a scene following the birth where the young mother, embraced by the father of the child, weeps....it is obviously a hard choice and not something they feel is "squared away" and left behind. I felt, as the mother of three teenagers, that the film, though entertaining and humorous much of the time, was also a realistic, cautionary tale of the consequences of sexual activity.

Luthor Rex

"How come the feminists always push for us to be so much like men and to achive alongside the men in the mens' circles? Why can't we just be *women* and achive as women in womens' circles?? What's wrong with that? Why isn't it good enough for me to be a sucessful Housewife and Shepherdess? Why do I only gain esteem if I'm climbing the corporate ladder alongside the men? We are not men - we are women!!"

It's always amazed me how feminists never say "do what makes you happy, we'll support your choice!" Instead they tout a narrowly defined set of things women can do. Kind of like the people they say they are against.

Feminists are the relic of the utopian planners of the 20th Century. 2nd wave feminism was influence by Marx and got most of their crazy ideas from him. Yes, feminists stole their wort ideas from a MAN. But not just any man! They decided to use the failed economist of the 20th Century as their patron saint.

As for the main article where the woman seems almost shocked that our biologies have at least a strong influence over our lives... well... I'm always amazed at the brutal stupidity of average people. Really, it's like anyone with an IQ below 130 should just be locked up for their own good.

Emily

It's always amazed me how feminists never say "do what makes you happy, we'll support your choice!"

HEY! I thought.... I pretty much DID just say that *shrug*

Therese

As a feminist, I loved the movie (except for the fairy tale ending). I do think that people should do what makes them happy. Personally, I'd never have an abortion for an unwanted pregnancy (aside from the spiritual repercussions, the moral guilt alone would haunt me), and would give the child up for adoption (as I have encouraged others) if not keep it to raise as my own (as I am old enough and financially stable enough to do so). However, I'd never say that a woman shouldn't have the right and ability to get an abortion should she feel that such is necessary and should she find no moral and emotional reason hindrance in doing so. She's her. I'm me. I can't force her to think the way that I do, and, thankfully, we live in a post-feminist society, so I don't have to.

I really do think that certain posters should try to be more understanding of feminists -- we aren't all cookie cutter, you know.

mary o'hayes

Where to start with the notion of pro-life feminists? Try this organization:

http://www.feministsforlife.org/

Here's some other sites to check out: http://www.gargaro.com/fem.html

Or read Wiki about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro-life_feminism

Emily

I was actually thinking of Feminists for Life in the context of this discussion- that you know about them Mary makes the habitual summary dismissal on this blog of all things associated with all the more puzzling.

Elin

Seems this conversation has drifted a little from the original discussion of the film - which, btw, I thought was great. Like Patty, I did not feel the ending portrayed a "return to a carefree adolescence" - I found the scene where Juno resists the temptation to hold her son and instead, joined by Paulie, weeps in her post-delivery bed, incredibly heartrending.

Yes, the ending shows her cycling down to Paulie's house to play guitar on a warm summer day - what could be more carefree - except for all that has gone before. Instead of just playing around at (unprotected!) sex when she was "bored", Juno has allowed herself to feel and express her feelings for Paulie (and accept his for her) and has wrestled not only with the consequences of casual sex but with what makes a relationship real and worth working at. Ironically, it is BECAUSE she has matured through the process that she is able to enjoy and embrace the adolescent joy of just hanging out.

Tom Babcock

"on supporting their ability to compete with boys, to be free — perhaps for the first time in history — from the restraints that kept women from achieving on the same level"

Can we ever separate the sexual competition men sometimes (often?) engage in (no comment on this juvenile behavior) from the competition to succeed in the business world? Animals compete not only for mates but also for food and shelter. In "liberating" women to compete on an equal footing with men, it seems so much more attention is paid to the first, whereas the second and third are where women were really impeded in the past. That is, unless you claim that performing a role as wife/mother is somehow an "impediment".

grimwomyn

I actually had huge problems with this film after I watched it--

It is entertaining-- it is tightly written and directed with a vengance-- awesome film-- that being said--

The politics are abominable.

1- juno changes her mind about the abortion after being harassed outside of the clinic. You might as well give a green flag to screaming at people during the most serious personal decision you have to make.

2- the character of the clinic worker was complete misrepresentation of the caring compassionate women who choose to work in clinics across the country.

And I have a feeling that the writer, ex-stripper Diablo Cody did this on purpose to get the most airplay-- which pisses me off even more-- she sold us out for her career...

suck it JUNO MOVIE

suck it screenwriters who write propaganda for the right wing.

TalkinKamel

Juno, alas, doesn't have much to do with the actual state of unwed pregnancy today---where, more often than not, an underage girl is impregnated, not in a sweet, teen romance by a boy her age, but by an older, predatory male, who has often fathered other children out of wedlock. She will play house with him for a while, hoping he marries her (he probably won't). Of course, her education, her independence, her growth as an actual human being, not somebody's live-in concubine, go completely by the wayside. And now she's got a child to raise.

Sometimes the family is supportive, sometimes not. Sometimes the family itself is dysfunctional, and can't really offer the girl much, not even a good example. And, sometimes, Stepmom, or Dad's live-in girlfriend see this as the perfect opportunity to kick the girl out of the house altogether. And none of the other family members will help her, they're too involved in romantic soap operas of their own.

I don't say "suck it", but I do wonder if, deep down, all you grimwomyn out there are really happy with the sexual revolution you've brought about---which has probably set young women back more than any right wing propaganda has.

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