Reproductive Rights Issues in Popular Media

International Perspectives

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About the Book

“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body.” Almost a century after Margaret Sanger wrote these words, women’s reproductive rights are still hotly debated in the press and among policymakers, while film, television and other media address issues of birth control and abortion to global audiences.
This collection of new essays brings fresh perspectives to the study of family planning, contraception and abortion with a focus on their representation in popular media. Topics include dramas of adoption and abortion, telling the story of the pill, Sanger’s depiction in entertainment media, and a controversy about demographic developments stirred by Carl Djerassi, also known as “the father of the pill.”

About the Author(s)

Waltraud Maierhofer is a professor of German and an affiliated faculty member of the Honors Program and International Programs at the University of Iowa. She is the author and editor of several monographs, edited collections and critical editions in German literary and cultural history.

Beth Widmaier Capo is a professor of English and gender and women’s studies at Illinois College, in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Waltraud Maierhofer and Beth Widmaier Capo
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6940-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3006-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: Representing Reproductive Rights (Beth Widmaier Capo) 1

Part 1. Contraceptives in the Media: Spreading the Story
Propagating Progress and Circumventing Harm: Reconciling References to Contraceptives in British Television and Cinema of the 1960s (Jessica Borge) 11
Pill and Remote Control: Politics of Contraception in Contemporary U.S. Quality Television (Markus Schleich and Jonas Nesselhauf) 29
A Romantic Steroid or a Great Performance? Visual Culture and the Pill (Jamie Wagman) 48
Sex Education and Social Media: Contraception in the Digital Age (Manon S. Parry) 65

Part 2. Stories of Forced Adoption
In Search of the New Woman and the Best Mother: Unwanted Pregnancy in Gina Kaus’ Literary and Filmic Work (Regina Range) 82
Pregnant Girls in the Attic—No Choices: An Analysis of Patrice Toye’s Little Black Spiders (Kirsten E. Kumpf Baele and Sofie Decock) 100

Part 3. From Unplanned to Planned Pregnancies
From Unwanted to Wanted Pregnancy: Pregnancy, Abortion and the End of the GDR in the Film Jana and Jan (1992) (Belinda ­Carstens-Wickham) 117
Finding Humor in Birth Control: Fiction and Film from Hugh Mills to Matthias Schweighöfer (Waltraud Maierhofer) 136

Part 4. Abortion Across Cultures: Reproductive Choice, Duty or Crime
When Abortion Was Illegal: Remembrance and Advocacy in Recent Films from Romania and Mexico—and “I Had an Abortion” Storytelling on the Web (Waltraud Maierhofer) 156
The Forbidden Pregnancy and the Abandoned Children: On Mo Yan’s Fiction about the ­One-Child Policy and Abortion in China (Shelley W. Chan) 174

Part 5. Legacies
Woman Rebel: Margaret Sanger and American Popular Culture (Beth Widmaier Capo) 190
From the Pill to the Pen to the Pill, Again: Carl Djerassi’s Discursive Constructions of Birth Control (Walter Grünzweig) 206

About the Contributors 223
Index 225

Book Reviews & Awards

“Scholars of language and culture offer a comparative and international perspective on reproductive rights discourse in popular media”—ProtoView