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Feminism aborted in Bachelorette

Gru from Despicable Me (2010)

My day started out happily with some accidental comedy.

On the tram I saw a man who I thought was perhaps the most gorgeous I’d seen. I kept staring - curious, because I’m never attracted to strangers - and realised that he looked exactly like Gru. God I love Gru.

My day ended horribly, with some supposed-comedy that was anything but. And which cost $16, to add insult to injury.

Bachelorette - now showing. Unfortunately.

I’ve not yet met those plebs who ever doubted it, but apparently 2011’s Bridesmaids proved that women can be funny too.

Sadly however, the sole women-can-be-funny accolade apparently available has been handed out, so Bachelorette greedily decided to vie for the most vacuous/vapid/bitchy/cruel prizes instead.

When asked about the worst film I’ve ever seen, I often think about the The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009). I was only woken in the cinema when the snores of the man behind me got too loud.

Imaginarium‘s sin however, just lay in it being coma-inducingly boring. Bachelorette is boring but it’s not only boring. It’s grating and pretty bloody offensive.

I’ll start with 5 reasons to hate it.

  1. Women calling each other cunts.

  2. Isla Fisher. Notably, Isla Fisher reprising her roles from… well, everything except Home and Away. (I think she shook it up a little in that and got all sapphic).

  3. The suicide-atttempt storyline.

  4. The fat jokes. The fat jokes notably only ever made by “friends”.

  5. The abortion storyline.

I’m focusing on #5.

We first meet early-30s bridesmaid Gena (Lizzy Caplan) when she wakes to find herself in bed with a man she doesn’t know (and worse, who apparently likes Jack Johnson).

Gena has lost a day, lost a job, appears bitter, twisted, and has a problem with substances of addiction.

So what’s happened to make her life go to rack and ruin like this? Surprise, surprise, she had an abortion as a teenager.

Light bulb! It all makes sense now.

I’ve nearly finished writing a book which has a chapter on abortion in cinema. Pre-Roe v. Wade, women on screen were punished for their abortions by bleeding to death at the hand of a crook with a knitting needle.

Flash forward a few decades and the punishment is more likely psychological. The dire warning dispelled is that wayward ladies abort at great peril to their happiness and sobriety.

Abortion is not something spoken about with ease in our culture and nor is it something frequently portrayed on screen.

So when it is included - notably, in a “comedy” - and presented as something responsible for ruining fifteen or so years of a woman’s life, to me, it’s serving as a cautionary tale.

The message is that while abortion might be legal and might be incredibly safe, that it’s not really safe.

Cue finger-waggling and ghost-babies and scariest of all, promiscuity.

In a 2012 film you might not bleed to death and you might avoid getting hit by a car leaving the clinic, but you’re going to have to pay up one way or another.

And the oh so “chic” abortion debt offered in Bachelorette is a life of depression and nose-candy.

Worth noting, this anti-choice monstrosity was written and directed by a woman. Of course, it’s stupid to expect better: women - albeit reprehensible ones - hold up bloodied dioramas outside abortion clinics too.

Bachelorette - trailer.

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